Are suede jackets durable?

Deep Dive: Durability and Care of Suede Jackets

While undeniably stylish, suede jackets come with a trade-off when it comes to durability. Understanding its strengths and weaknesses will help you decide if it's the right choice for you and, more importantly, how to extend its lifespan.

The Delicate Nature of Suede:

  • Softer, More Susceptible: Suede's signature softness comes from the underside of animal hides. This delicate structure makes it more prone to scratches and scuffs compared to the tougher outer layer used in leather jackets. Snags from sharp objects or abrasion against rough surfaces can easily damage the nap (the soft, fuzzy surface) of suede.

Extending the Life of Your Suede:

  • Brushing is Key: Regular brushing is crucial for maintaining a suede jacket's beauty and longevity. A suede brush, with its soft bristles, helps lift dirt and dust that can mat down the nap. Brushing also revives the fibers, keeping the suede looking fresh and feeling soft.
  • Professional Help for Stains: Suede is a magnet for stains. Unlike leather, you can't simply wipe it down. Spills and stubborn dirt require professional cleaning. Special suede cleaning products and techniques are needed to remove stains without damaging the delicate fibers.
  • Waterproofing Woes: Suede is not naturally water-resistant. Rain or even light moisture can cause water spots and staining. While some suede protectants offer temporary water repellency, they need to be reapplied regularly. It's best to avoid wearing your suede jacket in wet weather altogether.

Living with a Suede Jacket:

While suede requires more care, the effort pays off. With a dedicated cleaning routine, your suede jacket can become a cherished wardrobe staple for years to come. Here's what to keep in mind:

  • Frequency of Use: If you plan to wear your suede jacket frequently, be prepared to brush it regularly (think after every few wears) and budget for professional cleaning when needed.
  • Storage Matters: Store your suede jacket in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight. Dust and moisture can damage the suede, so a breathable garment bag is ideal.
  • Lifestyle Compatibility: If your lifestyle involves a lot of outdoor activities or situations where spills are likely, a suede jacket might not be the most practical choice. Opt for leather if you prioritize durability and low-maintenance care.

The Final Verdict:

Suede jackets offer undeniable style and comfort, but they demand a commitment to proper care. If you're willing to invest the time and effort, a suede jacket can be a valuable addition to your wardrobe. However, if you prioritize durability and low-maintenance, a leather jacket might be a better fit.


  • Leather: Leather is a tougher material, naturally resistant to scratches, scuffs, and abrasions. It can withstand daily wear and tear for years, developing a beautiful patina with age.
  • Suede: Suede is the underside of the animal hide, resulting in a softer, more delicate texture. It's more prone to scratches and nicks, especially from sharp objects or rough surfaces.


  • Leather: Leather can feel stiff and break in over time, especially full-grain varieties. While comfortable eventually, it might feel restrictive initially.
  • Suede: Suede is incredibly soft and supple from the get-go. It drapes beautifully and conforms to your body for a luxurious, comfortable feel.


  • Leather: Leather jackets can be quite heavy, depending on the thickness of the hide used. This can be a drawback in warmer weather or for people who prefer lighter garments.
  • Suede: Suede is significantly lighter than leather due to its thinner nature. This makes it ideal for layering or wearing in warmer climates.


  • Leather: Leather jackets offer a classic, timeless look. They can be dressed up or down depending on the style and can exude a sense of coolness or rebellion.
  • Suede: Suede provides a more sophisticated and luxurious aesthetic. It adds a touch of texture and can elevate a casual outfit. The soft drape creates a more relaxed and stylish look.


  • Leather: Leather is relatively easy to care for. It can be wiped clean with a damp cloth and occasionally treated with a leather conditioner.
  • Suede: Suede requires more upkeep. It needs regular brushing to maintain the nap (the soft, fuzzy surface) and remove dirt. Spills and stains require special cleaning products and techniques. Suede is not water-resistant, so it's not ideal for wet weather.



The choice between a suede and leather jacket ultimately comes down to your priorities. If you value durability and a classic look with minimal maintenance, leather might be the better option. However, if you prioritize comfort, a luxurious feel, and a more contemporary style, then suede could be your pick.


With proper care, both suede and leather jackets can last for many years. Suede requires a more dedicated cleaning routine, but with consistent brushing and occasional professional cleaning, it can become a cherished wardrobe staple.

The Final Word:

Consider your lifestyle and fashion preferences. Do you prioritize practicality and resilience, or are you drawn to a more luxurious, high-maintenance style? Both leather and suede offer unique advantages, so the best choice depends on what you value most in a jacket.

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