Does Faux Suede Shrink or Peel? (And Lots More!)

If you listen to all those ‘fashion influencers’ on YouTube, you would think that wearing a faux suede garment is the biggest crime that a human can commit (apart from wearing socks with sandals of course).

I have been working in the leather industry for a number of years. It’s been my bread and butter for a long time. But I will still tell you that it is perfectly okay, and sometimes even preferable, to wear a faux suede garment over real suede.

But before you start rocking faux suede with confidence, you would need to know the answers to a few of these questions.

Can faux suede shrink?

Unlike suede, faux suede does not shrink a lot when exposed to high heat. This is because faux suede is made from polyester, which is a fabric that is pretty resistant to shrinkage.

The only circumstance in which your faux suede garment can shrink is if you leave it in the dryer on the ‘high’ heat setting for extended periods of time.

Does faux suede peel?

One of the biggest disadvantages of using a faux suede product is that it peels pretty easily. While regular suede may go for years before showing signs of peeling, faux suede will not.

peeled suede shoes
My faux suede shoes that didn’t really make it

The nap of the item gets flattened and turned into a greyish color during the process of peeling. The same thing happened with these faux suede boots that I own.

What is faux suede?

In simple terms, faux suede is fake suede. Unlike real suede, faux suede is not made from animal hide. It is made entirely from synthetic polyester. It is an animal-friendly fabric.

Faux suede is mainly used in the fashion industry as it is a cheaper alternative to real suede. Most fast-fashion stores (think H&M, Zara) only stock faux suede items.

Can you wear faux suede in the rain?

Yes, you can wear faux suede in the rain. It is much less delicate than real suede. All you need to do is to spray the faux suede shoe with a good-quality waterproof spray.

faux sued in the rain
Me standing in the rain wearing my faux suede shoes

Even if you don’t have a waterproofing spray (I highly recommend that you get one), faux suede can still take a bit more rough treatment than real suede. Just don’t jump in any puddles though.

Can you wash faux suede?

Most faux suede garments can be machine-washed. But you can check the label on your individual piece to know the same. A care label with a washing basin full of water on it means you can machine the item.

You can also hand wash faux suede garments. Don’t use a lot of soap or harsh chemicals when hand washing the item. Always wash faux suede in warm water.

Can faux suede get wet?

Faux suede can easily get wet. Now, it won’t suffer the same amount of damage that a real suede garment would, but you should still try to keep it dry. Use a waterproofing spray to accomplish this.

Speaking from personal experience, most of my suede shoes have suffered from water damage sooner or later. This has never been the case with my faux suede shoes if I properly waterproofed them.

Can you iron faux suede?

Yes, faux suede can be ironed. But you would need to be very careful, because direct application of heat will flatten the nap of the faux suede garment.

To combat this, always use a pressing cloth when ironing faux suede. Cover your garment with a cotton pressing cloth and make slow strokes on ‘medium’ to ‘low’ heat until all wrinkles are gone.

Can faux suede be dry cleaned?

Faux suede can definitely be dry cleaned. Almost all dry cleaners who are worth a dime would have no problem in dry cleaning a faux suede garment.

However, some low quality dry cleaners may use harsh chemicals that would harm your faux suede garments.

You should dry clean faux suede once or twice a season.

Can faux suede shoes be stretched?

Yes, faux suede shoes can be stretched to increase their size marginally. The more you wear them, the more they will mould to your feet.

To fasten this process, you should start wearing thick socks to push the fabric even further outwards. A stretcher spray can also make this process, which usually takes a couple of weeks of wear, relatively quick.

Does faux suede look cheap?

Well-crafted faux suede looks exactly like real suede. Thus, it cannot be claimed by anyone that faux suede looks ‘cheap’ or ‘inexpensive’.

faux suede shoes
My beautiful faux suede shoes

An untrained eye may not even be able to tell the difference between real suede and faux suede. If someone’s telling you that your faux suede garment looks cheap, it is probably because they don’t like the look of suede in general.

Is faux suede breathable?

Another disadvantage of faux suede is that it is not that breathable of a fabric. Since faux suede is usually made entirely from polyester, it does not have a lot of breathability as a fabric.

Real suede is much more breathable than faux suede. So if that is a make-or-break factor for you, I would say that you should go for a real suede item.

Is faux suede vegan?

Faux suede is completely vegan. It is made from microsuede; a soft material made of millions of fine polyester fibers. Even PETA says that faux suede is completely vegan.

If you are against the killing of animals to make pieces of clothing, you should definitely go for faux suede over real suede.

What is the difference between real suede and faux suede?

Real SuedeFaux Suede
It is made from animal hide.It is made entirely from polyester.
It is more breathable.It is not that breathable.
Not a vegan or animal-friendly fabric.It is a completely cruelty-free fabric.
More costlyLess costly
Table of Differences

Now that you are aware about how faux suede unfairly gets a bad rep from the so-called fashion influencers, why don’t you check out my three favorite suede jackets that you can get from Amazon.