With the different leather types available, it might be hard to choose. But if you’re looking for economical leather with great features, goat leather is an excellent option. Its soft, lightweight, yet solid and durable nature gives it distinctive qualities.
Goat leather, also called Morocco leather, is a type of leather made from the hide of a goat. It is usually soft and flexible and, at the same time, strong and hard-wearing. This gives it a quality that is coveted by many manufacturers of leather bags and some other leather products.
Now that you have some insight on what goat leather is, let’s go over everything you need to know about goat leather, including its qualities and what leather goods it can be used for.
What is Goat Leather?
Goat leather is a type of leather made from the hide of goats. It is strong, durable, flexible, and can last for years with proper maintenance and care. Goat leather is often used in personal accessories and smaller leather goods, primarily due to the smaller size of the goat animal, compared to larger bovine leathers.
Where do Goats Live?
Generally, goats live in temperate or tropical forests and grasslands. By nature, they live in areas that have vegetation. This is because they are grazing animals. However, they have a vast ecological range and take well to adaptation. Unlike other grazing animals, goats can live in areas with sparse vegetation. Domestic goats, for instance, can live in desert areas, while feral goats live in rugged mountain areas and alpine meadows.
Goats can mainly be found in Asia. Nearly 60% of the livestock species are found there, with the highest number going to India, China, Pakistan and Bangladesh. Goats are domesticated animals. They were among the first set of livestock species to be domesticated about 10,000 years ago.
The Qualities of Goat Leather
1 Soft and Flexible
Goatskin leather is loved for its soft texture and flexibility. Unlike goods manufactured out of other animal skin, such as cow skin, those made of goatskin are not stiff. Due to the presence of lanolin produced by the goat’s skin, the leather is so soft and flexible that when you carry a goatskin leather bag, it becomes a part of you as if you’re wearing it. It will move as your body moves.
2 Strong and Hard-wearing
Despite being soft, goat leather is known for its strength. This gives it excellent quality to be used to make bags, shoes, belts and other small leather goods. Its hard-wearing nature also makes it great for making light high-heeled shoes as it resists high tension on the stitching and holds its shape.
Due to the vegetable tanning process used in making goat leather, it is resistant to water. This contributes significantly to the leather’s resilience and durability.
Goat leather is known for its longevity. Compared to other leathers, it has a very resilient finish that helps it stay durable for an extended period.
Manufacturers believe that goatskin is much thinner than the hide of other animals. Hence the leather made from it is very lightweight. This makes for comfortable use after conversion into usable products.
6 Better With Age
Aside from being very durable, products made with goat leather not only feel better with age – but also look better. Even when scratches appear on them, they end up looking more beautiful.
How is Goat Leather Made?
To start with, the raw hides are cleaned up. This is done by removing excess flesh and hair from the skin. After this step, excess oil, fat and tissue are washed out from the hide to clear the way for tanning. Tanning is the actual process that converts the hide into leather. It stabilizes the protein of the rawhide, stops it from decaying, and changes the hide into leather. Only when tanning is complete can the leather be ready for use.
There are two ways in which goat leather is commonly tanned:
Chrome tanning is a chemical-based tanning process that involves soaking the leather in a solution containing metal chromium. Many pieces of goat leather are produced using this tanning technique as it produces more water-resistant leather. It also makes for very soft and supple leather. Chrome tanned leathers don’t cost as much as vegetable-tanned ones as the process only takes 24 hours to 2 days.
Vegetable tanning is a more traditional leather tanning process that uses natural materials and products. With this method, the skins are soaked in vegetable tannins and fat liquors instead of a chemical solution. This requires a series of soaks, making this technique a very time-consuming one. Veg tanned leather can take up to 30 days to process. Hence, it tends to be on the higher side.
What is Goat Leather Used For?
Goat leather can be used to produce goods that require soft yet hard-wearing leather. Below are the most common uses.
Goat Leather Jackets
Jackets made from goat leather are incredibly durable and can last a lifetime. They are also super comfortable due to the leather’s soft and lightweight properties.
Goat Leather Shoes
Goat leather is commonly used in shoe uppers. It is maneuverable into many shoe styles, from high-quality men’s shoes to dress shoes. It is also widely used for ladies’ high-heeled shoes.
Goatskin Leather Gloves
Goat leather is flexible and stretchy and thus, makes a perfect material for gloves. And because it is cheap, it is used for economy-grade gloves. The material allows for the dexterity that is needed for tasks.
Goat Leather Boots
There are various offerings of goat leather boots on the market. These boots are people’s favorite as they are soft and flexible. And because of the porous texture, a wearer’s feet can easily breathe. Makers of boots also love to use goat leather as it is easy to work with, and the skin can be dyed into different colors.
Goat Leather Bags
Goat leather makes very good bags. Bag manufacturers love to use it because it is easily maneuverable into different designs, and it is soft. For an end-user, the primary advantage of goat leather bags is their durability. For leather that generally doesn’t cost much, bags made of it get to last very long.
Goat Leather Wallets
Wallets made from goat leather are stellar. The hard-wearing nature makes the flap resistant to wearing out, so it can last a lifetime.
Midori Goat Leather Notebook Covers
This attractive notebook cover is made from vegetable-tanned goat leather. The cover is soft and supple and slips into books easily. Its most attractive features include its lightweight and unique texture.
Leather Working with Goat Leather
Goat leather is the cornerstone of fine leathercraft. It is famous for its fiber structure, tight grain and uniform surface texture. Its stretch resistance makes it suitable for flexible and stretchy products. It is a generally soft leather, so even as a vegetable-tanned leather, it is still quite supple. While it is great for uppers, many leather artisans like to use it for the insides of crafts, such as the insides of boxes, cases, and bags. Many craftsmen use its variety of glace finish for wallet interiors. This finish is a favorite for its glossy smooth look and stiff texture.
As a vegetable tanned leather, goat leather is not very burnishable. It is possible to be burnished, but it is not as easy and doesn’t give as great results as other vegetable tanned leathers such as cowhide or calf. For this reason, goat leather is used by craftsmen making products with a turned edge. Goat leather makes very nice turned edge products as it skives more beautifully than many other leather options.
Another great use of goat leather in leatherworking is for stamped products. It is one of the best-textured leathers for obtaining a lovely clean hot foil stamp. When logos are put on it, the result is very beautiful and clear, even in smaller texts.
Where to Buy Goat Leather
Goat leather is not a rare leather. It can easily be found in leather supply houses and companies. Generally, these sellers have it in different colors and finishes. Even though you won’t get to have a feel of the texture, the product photos should give you a pretty good idea of what you’re getting.
Goat Leather Compared to Other Leather Types
Goat Leather Vs. Cow Leather
When it comes to stretch, flexibility and softness, goat leather is better than cow leather. But in matters of strength, cow leather packs a heavier punch than goatskin. Cow leather is great for insulation and handles heavyweight better. In conclusion, goat leather makes excellent small leather products, while cow leather is used for heavy-duty goods.
Goat Leather Vs. Lamb Leather
As soft as goatskin leather is, lambskin leather is even softer. So it might be a better option for goods that require extraordinarily soft and supple leather. But for products that require strength and insulation, goatskin works better. Goatskin packs more rugged and heavy qualities. It is hard to tell which of the two leather types takes the first in the area of flexibility. The two have similar flexibility factors.
Goat Leather Vs. Buffalo Leather
Buffalo leather is much stronger and stiffer than cow leather, so when it comes to strength, goat leather doesn’t stand a chance. It also has a more pronounced leather pattern – they look like deep grooves and cuts. Due to its rigid nature, it can be used for making rugged items like shoes and rugs. Goatskin leather, on the other hand, is soft and has a smooth fine grain.
Goat Leather Vs. Sheep Leather
Sheep leather is one of the few kinds of leather that are softer than the goat leather. It is way more supple and also offers greater flexibility than goatskin. On the other hand, goat leather is stronger and more rugged than sheep leather. It is heavier in weight and is perceived as more durable.
Is goat leather any good?
Goat leather is a great leather type that is durable and long-lasting. For its price, it is a great option. So, if you’re looking for a soft and flexible yet strong leather, you should consider going for goat leather.
What is goat leather called?
Goat leather is also called goatskin, goatskin leather or Morocco leather.
Is goatskin better than calfskin?
The better of the two leather types depends on the product they are intended for. But on the basis of softness and flexibility, calfskin beats goatskin.
Does goat leather smell bad?
Goat leather has a gruesome smell, just like every other leather type. But the smell can be eliminated with time and a spray of water-vinegar solution. Another way is to apply baking soda to the bag and tie it in a plastic bag for 48 hours. Any of these methods should rid your goat leather of any foul smell.
How do you protect goat leather?
A good maintenance routine is a great way to protect goat leather and keep them safe and long-lasting. This includes keeping it away from wet and overly humid climate conditions.
Check out this helpful video for a five-minute breakdown of the characteristics of goat leather and the pros and cons of using this beautiful material in your projects.
Goat Leather Care and Maintenance
With proper care and maintenance, goat leather can last for years and keep up a good appearance throughout. Depending on the specific leather product you are trying to clean, you should have a routine. You should clean a leather goat bag every one to two months. And for goatskin shoes, always ensure you don’t abandon them on the rack looking all dirty. It is essential to remember that water and leather don’t see eye to eye. Endeavor to clean all water spills immediately.
Before you try out any leather care that requires a substance, always ensure you test out the product on a small part of the leather. This way, you can confirm the toxicity of the product on the material. If your leather doesn’t react badly to it, you can then carry on with your cleaning.
How to Clean
Goat leather can simply be cleaned with a moist, lint-free cloth. Gently rub it over the soiled area till the dirt and stain are gone. This cleaning method is only effective for light stains. For tougher stains or thorough cleaning, you might want to use a commercial leather cleaner.
Commercial leather cleaners are specially formulated to remove dirt, dust and grime from leather without being too harsh on the material. They also prepare the surface for conditioning and the application of finish.
How to Condition
From time to time, the fibers on goat leather and other leather types dry out. This makes the leather a bit stiffer than it should be. In this case, conditioning is required to restore the soft texture of the leather. Frequent conditioning of goat leather also gives it some sort of resistance to scratches.
Goat leather conditioners are often leather oils and cream. After a thorough cleaning, apply the conditioner. You can do this with an applicator or a soft piece of clothing that is lint-free. Apply the conditioner in small circles and let it sit for a few hours. Then, wipe off the excess with a clean and soft lint-free cloth.
At this point, your leather should be moisturized and extra softened. After conditioning, a finish or protective coat can then be added.
How to Store
Storage matter for all leather products. Goat leather should be stored in a cool and dry location. Avoid keeping them in wet and overly humid climate conditions. This includes sealed environments as the humidity in there might rise and make the leather deteriorate and mold. An environment with too-low humidity is equally not healthy for leathers as it could cause the leather to dry, leading to cracking and weakening of the fibers.
The best environment for leather generally is the low-average ones. As much as you want to avoid wetness, airflow is also vital. Dressing rooms or closets make a perfect example of a safe place to store leather. They usually have the right temperature, humidity level, and airflow.
By now, you should have mastered the properties of goat leather so that the next time you see one, you can recognize it. You should also know its offerings and qualities to know when it’s the right leather for making a product.
What is the average price of goat leather?
Goat leather is a very economical leather. A 20 sq. ft. high-quality vegetable tanned goat leather generally costs between $20 to $40.
Is goat leather good?
Yes, goat leather is good. It is a good option for small leather products like bags, wallets, notebook covers and gloves. And due to its soft and flexible nature, it makes for comfortable jackets. It is also the craftsman’s favorite for the interior of products like bags and wallets.
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