People interested in leather products generally have serious questions about scuffability.
First, realize that Federal Regulations limit what a manufacturer can say about their leather. Not only are they required to define the type of leather, ie, top grain leather, corrected grain leather, etc. but they can’t make any guarantees. For example, manufacturers can say that their leather is scuff resistant, but because there is no way any type of leather can be made completely scuff-free, they can’t say, “guaranteed never to scuff.”
Next, realize that leather comes from many parts of the same animal. Leather made from the top of the animal undergoes significantly less natural damage while the cow is alive as compared to the cow’s belly region, which may undergo scrapes and bruises out in the field.
Manufacturers do have sophisticated machines to scuff test a leather. Generally, a scuff testing involves using a machine that has two rollers that roll back and forth and test how much the motion will scuff the material. The manufacturer may use different types of leather models of a product. For example, to make a shoe for example that often goes through rough terrain, as compared to a leather sofa, that will undergo more gentle treatment.
Realize too, that the manufacturer may use different grades of leather depending upon the function of the shoe for example, as well as the price.
For example, in a hunting shoe, being able to buff the leather to a high sheen is less important than being able to keep a pair of custom cowboy boots or business dress shoes shiny, in which scuff resistance, and shine, are prioritized.
Again, looking at hunting boots, the emphasis is probably more on the boots that are waterproof and insulated from the cold with scuff testing a distant third. However, if you buy a $500 pair of custom cowboy boots, chances are you expect and will get, maximum scuff resistance.
The point here is that if the leather you are sitting on or wearing is expected to resist scuffs, the price is often built into the leather. The more scuff-resistant the
leather is, the more costly it will be.
Where does a company source its leather?
With extremely rare exceptions, companies that make leather couches, leather coats,
shoes and purses, do not make their own leather. They buy it from huge, dedicated leather manufacturers.
It is these companies that grade leather, and charge accordingly. When it comes to shoes for example, a company that makes a leather work boot which sells for $59 will not buy the same quality leather as a company such as Red Wing which sells boots in the $250 to $300 range. Similarly, if you shop for a leather sofa and one costs $500 and the other $2500 to $3,000, guess which one will be most durable?
Take care of your leather
Another element that is important is taking care of your leather. First of all, except for shoes perhaps, one of the main concerns with leather is not exposing it to oils.
Wash your hands, and your clothes before sitting on a leather sofa. If your leather gets dirty, condition it with a good leather cleaner.
If you spill anything on your leather, blot it dry (don’t rub it) as quickly as possible.
If you spill something nasty onto your leather such as mustard or ketchup, if it doesn’t immediately blot dry and stain-free, consider calling in a professional.
Why not pay $50 to keep a $5,000 purse in top condition.