Suede vs Faux Suede – Which One Is Better?

Suede is a material that is made from animal hide, and it is used in manufacturing boots, jackets, belts, hats, and many more items of clothing.

Faux suede, on the other hand, is made from polyester. It is used as an alternative to suede and is great at doing some things that suede sucks at.

But there’s a lot more to the real suede vs faux suede debate. And that’s what I am going to be talking about in this article.

We’ll go over the advantages and the disadvantages of both these materials, and then you can decide if faux suede is better than real suede or vice-versa.

Difference Between Suede And Faux Suede

Real SuedeFaux Suede
Made from animal hide.Made from polyester.
Prone to water damage.Water-resistant.
More costly.Relatively inexpensive.
Very durable and lasts long.Less durable.
More difficult to maintain.Very easy maintenance.
Not vegan.Vegan material.
Real suede does not peel.Faux suede peels easily.

Both real suede and faux suede are great materials in the world of fashion. Both of them have some similarities but a huge range of differences.

People claim that you should always choose real suede over the fake alternative, but this is not the case. The material that you should get depends a lot on what you need out of the product.

Is durability the most important thing for you? Go for real suede. Is it very important to you that the material is ethical and vegan? Go for faux suede.

To make your decision a bit easier, I have covered the pros and cons of both these fabrics in great detail in the next sections.

Pros And Cons Of Suede

Advantages of real suede

1. Durability

When it comes to durability, real suede is the clear winner. In fact, I have had a couple of suede boots that have served me for over a decade!

Because suede is made from the skin of an animal, it does much better in dealing with outside elements. This lends durability to your boots and makes them last for a long time.

2. Texture

The texture that suede adds to an outfit is unparalleled. It adds a third dimension to any look and does great in arousing visual interest.

The added texture looks great on shoes, but it looks even better on jackets. When wearing my favorite suede jacket, I constantly have to deal with people wanting to run their hands over it. It’s probably the garment that gets me the most compliments.

3. Lightweight

Suede is an extremely lightweight material. It is lighter than all other winter boot options such as rubber, nubuck, and leather.

The reason for this lightness resides in the manufacturing process. Suede is made after sanding down the hide of an animal, which does a lot in shedding excess weight from the fabric and keeping it lightweight.

Disadvantages of real suede

1. Maintenance

Suede’s single biggest disadvantage is that it requires proper maintenance. With other materials, you can get away with cleaning the item once or twice a season, but this is not the case with suede.

You need to waterproof suede (requires a waterproofing spray), keep it clean (requires a suede brush), and get rid of stains (requires a cleaning solution).

Although you could get an inexpensive suede cleaning kit under $20 bucks on Amazon that is going to deal with this for you, still, the maintenance costs are something you need to keep in mind before buying real suede.

2. Costly

Good quality suede made from real animal hide is a bit costly. A good suede boot is probably going to cost you upwards of $100.

There are cheaper options of course, but they are not going to be that great in terms of quality. Which means they aren’t going to last long, and they are probably going to be slightly uncomfortable.

It would be much better if you save up some money and buy a good quality suede item, as that piece is probably going to last you a long time.

Pros And Cons Of Faux Suede

Advantages of faux suede

1. Vegan; no animal is harmed

The biggest advantage of faux suede is that it is completely vegan. No animals are harmed in the making of faux suede clothing and shoes.

While real suede is made from animal hide, faux suede is made from a special type of polyester. If you are a big proponent against animal cruelty, it makes sense to go for the faux suede options over real suede.

2. Easy to maintain

Faux suede is extremely easy to maintain. You really don’t need to buy any special products for cleaning faux suede.

The main reason for its easy maintenance is the fact that faux suede, unlike real suede, is completely fine even if it gets wet. So instead of buying a bunch of products, you can simply use a wet rag to clean your faux suede shoes and jackets.

3. Cheaper

And of course, faux suede is cheaper than real suede. A pair of faux suede shoes can usually be bought for under 100 bucks.

There are some more expensive options out there too, in this category, but in those cases, you are paying for the brand and not the actual shoe. You can get decent faux suede shoes for pretty cheap on Amazon.

Thus, if you are on a tight budget, it makes sense to go for faux suede over the real deal.

Disadvantages of faux suede

1. Lack of durability

The biggest disadvantage of faux suede is that it is not that durable.

Faux suede shoes rarely last for more than a year or two. The same goes for faux suede jackets.

Because of the synthetic nature of this material, it is not able to deal with outside elements such as dirt and mud in an efficient way. Usage and structural quality are also big factors in the durability and longevity debate.

2. Contains plastic

Faux suede is not very environmentally friendly. Although it is cruelty-free, faux suede is made from polyester, which contains plastic. Plastic takes a long time to decompose.

And because faux suede doesn’t last long either, it is not a very sustainable choice. It would be much better to go with real suede if you care about sustainability and ethical fashion.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is faux suede better than real suede?

Faux suede is better than real suede because it is completely vegan and cruelty-free. It is also much cheaper and easier to maintain than real suede.

How to tell the difference between faux suede and real suede?

Faux suede often has a very plastic feel compared to the velvety texture of real suede. Also, faux suede is prone to peeling while real suede is not.

Is faux suede cheaper than real suede?

Faux suede is a lot cheaper than real suede. Because it is made from polyester instead of animal hide, its costs are much smaller.