What's the difference between leather and lambskin? Technically they're both considered real leathers, but there are a few qualities that make each material unique.
Leather can be the tanned hide of many animals, including cows, sheep, antelope, bucks and lambs (young sheep). Leather is extremely popular for use in a variety of products ranging from furniture to shoes and accessories such as belts, purses, hats and clothing. However, due to its popularity, many products may be marked as leather but contain only a very small amount of genuine leather. Genuine leather products will cost more than faux “leather” products (Faux leather is made from a plastic base and then is treated with wax, dye or polyurethane to create the colour and texture). In short, they are artificial or synthetic material – for instance, Vegan leather - so be careful about what you buy!
Lambskin is a type of leather made only from the hide of young sheep. Unlike most of the other animal hides that are used for leather, lambskin is more delicate and ultra-soft. Thus, tanning must be done gently, so as not to tear or damage it. For that reason, lambskin is considered a luxurious premium leather and thus, making them more expensive.
So, which is best?
As you can see, lambskin is a subset of leather as they are both genuine leathers. And it depends on what type of product or features you are looking at to determine the most suitable type of leather.
Let’s use Toufie as an example.
For our previous collection, Snake and Leather, we chose goat leather mainly because of its structure and suppleness. So, it suits well considering the more formal look of the designs of the shoes – as seen for the Aruba and Krait range. Although they are durable and easier to care for, if you have bunions or a rather wide feet, it is best to go for shoes made from a much softer material, like lambskin.
For subsequent collections, we wanted to cater to women who have difficulty finding comfy shoes, those with wide feet and even bunions. So, lambskin was the obvious choice. Although we knew that lambskin is expensive, and it requires more care as they are really delicate unlike goat or cow leather, its positive attributes far outweigh its price and delicateness.
We went forth and chose high-grade lambskin for our shoes. Lambskin is best, given its high comfort level and ultra-softness. Compared to its counterparts, lambskin is the lightest, thinnest and most stretchable type of leather. So, if you are considering shoes for work, for casual wear or just for everyday use, choose shoes that are ultra-soft and stretchable - the Bow collection is a great example. However, do be careful as some shoes in the market are stated as to be made from lambskin, but they are generally made with just a minuscule amount of standard lambskin. The rather low price point is a good indicator that it is not made fully by premium lambskin.
Just like any leather types, wear and tear are inevitable. Lambskin is no exception. However, as leather is skin, proper care is required to prolong its lifespan. Simply follow the proper ways to care for your lambskin shoes to ensure they last and supports your sustainable lifestyle.
At Toufie, it is not just about creating beautiful or comfy shoes, it is also about ensuring that the shoes are made to last. So, choose your footwear wisely and pick those that are sustainable in this fast-fashion world.