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Is Faux Leather Durable? – How Well and Long it Lasts

Nothing compares to genuine leather regarding furniture, clothing, and more but many cringe at the price tag. Is faux leather a cheaper alternative that’s durable enough for the job? I will discuss the durability and lifespan of faux leather to help you make a more educated decision.

Faux leather is a durable, artificial alternative that looks, feels, and smells like real leather. It originated in the early 1900s and is made in several different varieties. Faux leather lasts up to 20 years and works well for furniture, clothing, footwear, and purses. It can even withstand dogs.

Are you looking for a new bag or jacket and unsure if faux leather is durable enough? Do you want to save some money but are not sure if faux leather is the best way to go? Let’s explore the durability of faux leather and how long it lasts.

What Is Faux Leather?

Faux leather is an artificially made material manufactured from several different polymers to create a leather-like fabric. It is made to look, feel, and smell like real leather without using any animal products. Faux leather is made from various plastics, silicone, or all-natural materials and can be used for many of the same purposes as real leather.

What We’ll Explore

  • Clearing up Myths & Misconceptions
  • History of Faux Leather 
  • Is Faux Leather Durable Overview Table
  • Is Faux Leather Durable?
  • Types of Faux Leather
  • How Is Faux Leather Made Durable?
  • Is Faux Leather Durable for Furniture?
  • Is Faux Leather Durable for Clothing?
  • Is Faux Leather Durable for Footwear?
  • Is Faux Leather Durable for Purses?
  • Is Faux Leather Durable For Dogs?
  • My Personal Research Into is Faux Leather Durable
  • Helpful Insights into Into the Durability of Faux Leather
  • Key Takeaways
Various Pairs of Faux Leather Pants - Is Faux Leather Durable - Liberty Leather Goods
Various Pairs of Faux Leather Pants

Clearing Up Myths & Misconceptions

A misconception regarding faux leather is that it is entirely waterproof. This is only partially true. While it is more waterproof than genuine leather because it is made with plastic, repeated exposure to moisture does lead to damage.

Another myth about faux leather is that they’re all the same in composition, look, and feel. This is also untrue because various types of faux leather, all with different makeups, have their characteristic look and feel slightly different from real leather.

History of Faux Leather 

Faux leather first came about due to wartime rations during World War II in Germany. It was made from paper pulp and used for many things except shoes because it couldn’t withstand moisture.

Researchers in the United Kingdom covered cloth with a mixture of chemicals and pigments and embossed it in the early 1900s. This material was often used for upholstery and vehicle interiors. In 1963 the first polyurethane material was introduced, leading to the development of leatherette, or PVC leather.

Is Faux Leather Durable Overview Table

Moisture resistanceFaux leather has high moisture resistance due to the plastics used in its making.
StretchFaux leather doesn’t have a great deal of stretch which prevents tearing.
Temperature toleranceFaux leather can withstand low temperatures but can feel sticky at high temperatures.
Pilling or bubblingFaux leather is resistant to pilling and bubbling, so it maintains its shape.
Is Faux Leather Durable Characteristics

Is Faux Leather Durable?

Faux leather is made durable for furniture by adding strong synthetic fibers to the base material. Nylon, cotton, and wool fibers can be woven into faux leather to increase faux leather’s flexibility, strength, and durability. Additionally, faux leather can maintain its durability with proper maintenance. This makes faux leather excellent for high-use items like:

  1. Furniture
  2. Vehicle interiors
  3. Shoes
  4. Clothing

How Long Does Faux Leather Last?

Faux leather may not be as durable as genuine leather, but they are still tough and cared for properly. Taking steps like keeping faux leather out of direct sunlight, cleaning and conditioning regularly, and protecting it from potential dangers can help it last up to 20 years.

Types of Faux Leather

Poly Vinyl Chloride (PVC) Leather

Polyvinyl chloride or PVC leather is a highly durable plastic that lasts very long and requires little maintenance. Also known as vinyl, this material has several layers contributing to its durability.  It is non-porous and is the most waterproof of all faux leather materials.

Polyurethane Leather

Polyurethane or PU leather is made from the fibrous part of genuine leather hide and coated in polyurethane, a form of plastic. It is more affordable than real leather but more susceptible to damage from moisture and loses its elasticity over time, much like other types of faux leather. Faus leather is often used for:

  1. Shoes
  2. Clothing 
  3. Bags
  4. Upholstery


Silicone leather or sileather is a fabric coated in silicone to simulate real leather. It has fewer chemicals and is similar to PVC and PU leather but much stronger and more moisture-resistant. Silicone leather is more environmentally friendly and odorless while better keeping its shape than other faux leathers over time.

Vegan Leather

Vegan leather is a sustainable product made from polyurethane, cork, apple peels, or recycled plastic. Vegan leather is incredibly durable, resists fading and scratches, and is perfect for high-use items like”

  1. Shoes
  2. Boots
  3. Bags
  4. Gloves

How Is Faux Leather Made Durable?

So what makes faux leather so durable? It begins with fibers in most cases. These are synthetic, like nylon, or natural, like cotton, and strengthen the base material, which is usually polyester or cotton.

Plastic is then added to the base fabric, and a layer of plastic covers the material. The plastics in the base fabric add strength and durability, while the plastic coating over the base fabric protects against moisture, scratches, and stains.

Check out this helpful video to learn more about how faux leather is made.

Is Faux Leather Durable for Furniture?

Faux leather is a popular furniture choice because it is durable while feeling soft and supple. It is resistant to tears and stains while being comfortable for sitting. Faux leather has many colors, finishes, and styles to match any aesthetic. Due to its durability, faux leather is often found on:

  1. Couches
  2. Ottomans
  3. Headboards
  4. Barstools
  5. Chairs

Is Faux Leather Durable for Clothing?

Faux leather is great for jackets, coats, pants, and more because of its durability and insulation. It is soft, flexible, warm, and fashionable. Faux leather is more stain and crack resistant while not requiring as much maintenance as real leather. It is a much more affordable alternative for an expensive look.

Is Faux Leather Durable for Footwear?

Faux leather is durable for footwear with less maintenance than real leather. Shoes made from faux leather are more resistant to moisture, scratches, and dirt for less cost. Faux leather footwear is a great-looking product that maintains its look with less wear and tear than genuine leather.

Is Faux Leather Durable for Purses?

Faux leather is a great choice for purses because not only is it soft and mostly waterproof, but it is also very durable. It looks just as great as real leather, takes daily use better, and withstands tears and scratches from carrying a purse everywhere. Faux leather is even used by high-end fashion bag and purse designers because it looks luxurious and stands up better to frequent use.

Is Faux Leather Durable For Dogs?

Faux leather is a great product for dogs because it is durable and resistant to odors, stains, and punctures. It does not stick to fur, is easy to clean, and is more economical than real leather. Faux leather is often used to make dog collars, harnesses, and leashes. According to research on the durability of faux leather by Parks, Uy, and Walsh, faux leather is durable against abrasions, pilling, and tearing.

My Personal Research Into Is Faux Leather Durable

Some people prefer faux leather over the real thing, but why exactly do people choose it? I polled friends and family to ask them why they would like faux leather. Here is a table representing the percentages of their responses and what I learned from the poll.

Reasons People Like Faux LeatherTimes Selected
Looks the same8%
Stands up to wear and tear better12%
Smells better12%
Easier to maintain20%
Better color variety8%
Why People Prefer Faux Leather for Durability

Helpful Insights Into The Durability of Faux Leather

Is faux leather durable?

Faux leather is very durable and more affordable than real leather. It is often used to make frequently used products like furniture, clothing, shoes, and vehicle interiors. Faux leather resists stains, tears, and moisture better than real leather and requires less maintenance.

Is faux leather more durable than PU leather?

PU leather is entirely plastic and prone to cracking, making it less durable than faux leather. Faux leather is a base of plastic and fabric covered in polyurethane, wax, or dye to make it look and feel like leather. 

Is faux leather more durable than real leather?

Faux leather is not more durable than real leather, although it does resist stains, tears, and moisture better than real leather. It may not last as long as real leather, but it gives a similar look and feel for a lower price tag.

Does faux leather break easily?

Faux leather does not break easily; it’s actually more flexible than real leather with more water resistance. The polyurethane coating protects from moisture, scratches, and stains better than real leather, and with proper care, it can last for many years.

Key Takeaways

  1. Faux leather is a highly durable material that can last up to 20 years.
  2. Faux leather is mostly waterproof, giving it an advantage over real leather.
  3. Faux leather is more affordable than real leather and a good alternative for furniture, clothing, footwear, and more.

In Closing

Real leather may be luxurious and soft, but at a price that faux leather can definitely beat. Faux leather provides a very similar look and feel to genuine leather and, in some cases, is actually more durable than the real thing. It’s a great choice and a money saver to choose faux leather for everything from shoes to furniture.

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