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Studded Leather – What Makes It Unique and When To Use It

Leather has many practical purposes, from shoes to car interiors, but sometimes it’s nice to add a bold statement like studs. I will discuss studded leather, what makes it unique, and its best uses.

Studded leather is leather that includes metal studs. Studded leather can be purchased or made, comes in many colors, and can last 20 years. Studded leather ranges from $2–$149 per square foot and is great for shoes, purses, bracelets, and jackets.

Have you ever wondered where studded leather comes from and what it’s used for? Let’s explore the characteristics of stuffed leather and what makes it unique.

What Is Studded Leather?

Studded leather is leather that is trimmed or covered with small metal studs. These can be round or spiky and are found in fashion accessories like leather jackets, shoes, purses, and more. The shiny silver embellishments can be added to various types of leather for a truly unique and edgy look. 

What We’ll Explore

  • Clearing up Myths & Misconceptions
  • History of Studded Leather
  • Studded Leather Characteristics Quick Reference Table
  • In-depth Characteristics of Studded Leather
  • Pros of Studded Leather
  • Cons of Studded Leather
  • How Studded Leather is Made
  • Production Stats for Studded Leather
  • Cost of Studded Leather
  • When You Might Leathercraft with Studded Leather
  • Tips for Leathercrafting With Studded Leather
  • Examples of Goods Made from Studded Leather
  • My Personal Research on Studded Leather
  • Studded Leather Care & Maintenance
  • Helpful Insights on Studded Leather
  • Key Takeaways
A Studded Leather Chest - Studded Leather - Liberty Leather Goods
A Studded Leather Chest

Clearing Up Myths & Misconceptions

One misconception about studded leather is that it is waterproof. However, while the leather is water resistant, the prongs of the studs create small ports of entry for water molecules when they get wet. Another misconception about studded leather is that it’s only suitable for heavy metal or punk followers. This is untrue because studded leather isn’t always entirely covered with studs, and anyone can pull it off.

History of Studded Leather

Leather has been used since the Ice Age when people created animal hide pelts for clothing, shoes, and blankets to keep warm. During the 15th century, brigandine armor was mistakenly called studded leather armor when it was metal studs on the inside of the armor that would hold metal plates in place for protection.

Metal studs were later used to hold leather in place on furniture, which would later inspire the use of studs on leather to decorate items like bracelets, purses, and jackets. Studs add a bold, edgy look to any leather piece, and according to author James D. Letson is often seen in the punk scene.

Studded leather gives a cool, edgy look to everyday items.

Studded Leather Characteristics Quick Reference Table

Natural or SyntheticCan be made with both
Surface TextureSmooth or padded
Available Thickness (oz/mm)1 oz/0.4 mm
Largest Workable Size3 ft x 3 in–22 square feet
Flexibility (1-10)5
Softness (1-10)4
Sewability (1-10)6
Durability (1-10)8
Ease of Maintenance (1-10)4
How Long it Lasts (Daily Use)10–20 years
Available ColorsBlack, brown, gray, pink, yellow, red, multi
Waterproofness (1-10)3
Cost per Square Foot ($)$2 –$149
Ease of Crafting (1-10)6
Rarity (Common or Exotic)Common
Annual Production Volume~$50 billion
Biggest Exporting CountryChina
Biggest Importing CountryChina
Studded Leather Characteristics

In-depth Characteristics of Studded Leather

Natural or Synthetic

Studded leather can be made with natural and synthetic or faux leather. The studs must be applied using special tools or a machine.

Surface Texture

Studded leather surface texture varies from smooth with studded borders to soft and quilted with studs. Some studded leathers have densely placed studs or spikes, while others have only a few.

Available Thickness

Studded leather comes in 1 oz/0.4 mm. This refers to the weight of the leather, meaning that an ounce is 0.4 mm thick. Studded leather thickness is usually given in a range such as 4/5 oz because the hide will have slight variations in thickness.

Largest Workable Size 

Studded leather comes in sheets and strips. In real leather, the largest sheet size is about 22 square feet, and strips are 3 inches by 3 feet. Faux leather comes in rolls up to 3 feet wide and 7 feet long. 


The flexibility of studded leather is in the middle range. This is due to the number of studs and how close they are placed together. The fewer and farther between the studs, the more flexible the leather is, and vice versa.


Studded leather is also in the middle of the softness range. It does require a certain level of stability to support the studs, so it’s a bit less soft than non-studded leather. The fewer the studs, the softer the leather.


The sewability of studded leather is similar to non-studded leather; however, it gets more challenging with close-set studs. 


Studded leather is very durable. The studs make it more sturdy and less flexible, leading to less leather bond movement and less potential for cracking.

Ease of Maintenance

Maintenance of studded leather is the same as non-studded leather. Clean with mild soap and water, apply leather conditioner, and avoid submerging in water and temperature extremes.

Lifespan with Daily Use

With daily use, studded leather items can last for 10–20 years. Periodic cleaning and conditioning help extend the life of studded leather.

Available Colors

Studded leather comes in many colors, including Black, brown, gray, pink, yellow, red, and even multicolored.


Studded leather is water resistant; however, the studs create a potential problem with water. The studs are backed with prongs that penetrate the leather to hold them in place, which makes small holes for water to potentially enter. Avoiding water is best with studded leather.


The cost of studded leather varies considerably based on the amount of leather and studs. Faux leather can be purchased for about $2 per square foot, and studs for about $2 for 100 pieces. On the high-end, leather can be purchased with studs present for about $149 for a piece 3 feet long by 3 inches wide.

Ease of Crafting

Studded leather is easy to create with the right tools and fairly easy to craft with. Studded leather can be trimmed, sewn, or glued together for keychains, bags, belts, jackets, and more.

Rarity (Common or Exotic)

Studded leather is considered a common material. 

For more information on how to set studs on leather easily with a few tools, check out this helpful video from Leatherpunk.

Pros of Studded Leather

Studded leather is easy to find and very attractive. The metal studs offer unique patterns and designs that set the leather apart from other clothing items and accessories. Studded leather is versatile, bold, and casual and lasts 10–20 years. 

Cons of Studded Leather

Studded leather has less water resistance due to the slits required for stud prongs. The studs also add some weight to the leather item, which may cause discomfort for some. More studs and intricate designs are higher in price than simpler studded leather.

How Studded Leather is Made

Studded leather begins with the leather itself, which is processed and tanned to remove hair and preserve the material, making it more durable. The leather is dyed and rolled to be shipped to crafters and manufacturers.

Crafters and creators can then add the studs to sell as studded leather, or the leather is trimmed and sewn together by fashion makers and leather crafters and trimmed and decorated with the metal studs. The products are then marketed to consumers.

Production Statistics of Studded Leather

The leather industry is booming globally, especially in countries like the U.S. and China. Here are some production statistics of leather and studded leather in the U.S.:

  1. Volume per year: The U.S. exports approximately 20 million leather pieces annually.
  1. Key country or countries where it is produced: U.S., China, Brazil, Italy, Russia, India, South Korea, Argentina
  1. Biggest exporting country: China
  1. Biggest importing country: China

Cost of Studded Leather

Most leather is sold without studs, although in some cases, one can find pre-studded leather for crafting and more. 

  1. Square foot: $2–$149 studded is higher in price than non-studded leather
  1. ½ Hide: $85–$100 without studs
  1. Full Hide: $150–$185 without studs

When You Might Leathercraft With Studded Leather

  1.  When one wants a truly unique look with an edge
  2.  Too add interest to an otherwise standard leather piece
  3.  To make a fashion statement. 

Tips for Leathercrafting With Studded Leather

  1. Plan stud placement before applying. Holes created by the prongs won’t go away!
  2. Consider cutting and sewing before applying studs. This will make the leather easier to work with.
  3. Use a single type of stud for a uniform look or several different types of studs for a truly unique piece of leatherwork.

Some Examples of Items Made From Studded Leather

  1. Belts
  2. Purses
  3. Jackets
  4. Shoes
  5. Boots
  6. Keychains
  7. Bracelets
  8. Hats 
Studded Leather Straps - Studded Leather - Liberty Leather Goods
Studded Leather Straps

My Personal Research on Studded Leather

I researched studded leather on the internet to find the most popular items and their prices. Here is a table representing the cost range of various studded leather products. 

Studded Leather ItemPrice
Studded leather jackets$23–$12,035
Stud-trimmed leather purses$10–$725
Studded leather purses$20–$5,160
Studded leather cuff bracelet$8–$850
Studded leather belt$12–$1,850
Studded leather boots$15–$1,925
Studded Leather Prices

Studded Leather Care and Maintenance

How to Clean Studded Leather

Studded leather can be cleaned with soft brush or cloth or a leather cleaner. If using a leather cleaner, follow the manufacturer’s instructions and test first in an inconspicuous spot for colorfastness. Avoid getting the leather too wet and condition once completely dry.

How to Condition Studded Leather

Studded leather should be conditioned every few months and after cleaning to keep it looking supple and luxurious. Rub on the conditioner using a microfiber towel in a thin layer all over the studded leather, then wipe off any excess. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions.

How to Store Studded Leather

Studded leather needs to be stored in a cool and dry place. Stable temperatures prevent the leather from drying out and cracking in storage. Cover with a sheet to protect from dust and take out every few months to clean and condition the studded leather.

Helpful Insights on Studded Leather

What is studded leather?

Studded leather is leather with a trim, covering, or pattern of metal studs. It can be found on leather jackets, purses, shoes, bags, bracelets, and other leather accessories.

Is studded leather better than leather?

Studded leather may be better than leather for some. It depends on the look one is trying to achieve. Studded leather isn’t for everyone and doesn’t always work for every setting and occasion. Leather tends to be a bit more fitting for all occasions than studded leather.

What is studded leather made of?

Studded leather is made of leather and metal studs. The leather may be genuine, top grain, full grain, or even faux leather. The metal is usually round but sometimes spiky. 

How much does studded leather cost?

Studded leather cost depends upon the size and number of studs. Prices can range from $5–149 per square foot.

How much AC does studded leather add?

In the game Dungeons and Dragons, studded leather armor gives an armor class (AC) of 12. It also adds +1 dexterity modifier and +1 defensive capability.

Does heat metal affect studded leather?

In the game Dungeons and Dragons 5e, studded leather armor is not usually affected by heat metal if the studs are not visible within range. Also, the heat metal spell targets a single metal stud rather than the entire studded leather armor.

Does studded leather have metal?

Studded leather does have metal studs as decoration. The studs are often round, square, triangular, and spiked metal pieces that are fastened to the leather

Key Takeaways

  1. Studded leather gives a cool, edgy look to everyday items.
  2. Studded leather can either be purchased as a material or created by applying studs.
  3. Studded leather can be real or faux, and both are highly durable.

In Closing

Studded leather can be found in many stores and websites. Whether it’s created by hand or used to make leather clothing and accessories, studded leather adds a certain flair and edgy look to everyday items. What studded leather item would you use?

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