June 08, 2021 5 min read

There are so many different types of leather on the market, each with its own distinct characteristics and qualities. So what is distressed leather, and how is it different? Is it even real leather, or is it artificial? What goes into making distressed leather, and how does this differ from tanning other leathers? Andar wants you to know everything there is about distressed leather, so we’ve answered all this and more down below.

The Story of Distressed Leather

We’ve all seen it, the leather that looks like it came out of the Old West. Wallets, holsters, saddles, and boots. The hero who sits down to gamble is adorned in it. And after taking each of the locals’ money in a poker game, he orders a whiskey for his hard work with the clean sound of a gold coin. 

Distressed leather is this leather. It exudes historic significance. It rings of dust, hard work, and resilience. Leather makes the man. Of all the various types of leather – from glossy to Aniline – distressed leather reflects the most distinct and unique character of them all, displaying a leather that’s wandered and persevered. But what is distressed leather? Is it natural? If not, how is it made? How do we take care of it?

What Is Distressed Leather and How Is It Different?

When you see some types of leather products, it looks fit for a gallery. Glossy and pristine, it is conducive to display. In stark contrast, the advantage of distressed leather is that it has been intentionally marred and worn to make it look weathered, aged, anddistressed

Distressed leather is fit for a museum. In this way, each distressed leather product is unique; it possesses its own character, its own story, its own legacy, particular only to it. With distressed leather, boldness and perseverance are its strengths, making each product its own testament to uniqueness. 

Distressed leather is meant to travel, meant to adventure, meant to carry the consequences of risk. After all, Andar means “to carry”, and we curate each of our products to be carried through the unknown of life, to demonstrate the scars and wear that being carried by life requires, and to carry these hazards shamelessly. 

But get this: distressed leather doesn’t just look weathered and worn (or vintage, if you prefer) but enhances its durability, preventing it from cracking or scratching after the distressing process occurs.

So, How Do You Make Distressed Leather?

The question then is, “How do we make distressed leather?” To distress our leather products, we, as always, start with our full-grain leather, the highest quality of leather on the market that is constructed not from multiple different types of leather grafted together into a hodgepodge like so many lesser quality leathers, but by cutting each of our products from one large piece of full-grain leather. 

Full-grain leather has the advantage of increased durability and is significantly less processed, making it a better option for you and a more sustainable option for our environment. 

To distress our full-grain leather, we purposefully damage it, scraping it and wearing it to give it that aged look we so long for (that Old West heroic look we hinted at previously). 

Sometimes the distressing process, depending on the product, can be more complicated. It involves soaking the leather in water, cutting, burning, or scraping the leather in different places to bring a new and lighter color out. After this intricate process is finished, what emerges is a more robust, more durable, and broken-in wallet that looks like it’s belonged to you for a great length of time and will for years to come. 

So, you’ve purchased your distressed leather product. What then? How do you take quality care of it for the coming years?

How Do You Prolong the Life of Your Distressed Leather Wallet?

You want your wallet to stand the test of time. And with a properly cared for full-grain distressed leather wallet, it will. 

Step 1

Consistently wipe down your distressed leather product. Because of the intentional imperfections embedded into distressed leather, its character marks, wears and creases, it is easier for distressed leather products to collect the dust and grime of everyday carrying. You can use a damp paper towel, cloth, or other clean cloth to wipe your wallet down and maintain its distressed look without compromising its integrity.

Step 2

Make sure to intermittently clean your distressed leather product thoroughly with a prepared cleaning solution. Some cleaning solutions can be harmful to leather, so make sure that you purchase a cleaning solution that will be kind to your leather. There are plenty on the market that will do the job beautifully. 

But if you want something quicker and easier, use a mild detergent mixed with a bowl of warm water and gently apply the solution with a dishcloth to each surface of your leather product.

Step 3

Always rinse your leather product after cleaning it. The last thing you want is the remnants of soap deteriorating your lovely wallet if you’ve forgotten to rinse it after you’ve finished cleaning. Prolonged exposure to soap or detergent can cause the distressed leather to wear despite its excessive durability. And we want your wallet to last a long time! So be certain to remove any leftover cleaning solutions with a damp rag and a brief rinse. 

Finally, dry your leather with a soft towel. Apply enough pressure to remove any excess moisture and leave your wallet to dry in the safety of the towel. When you have finished the cleaning process, you will have a leather product that looks brand new––or, in the case of a distressed leather product, it will look brand “old,” or…Ah, never mind, you know what we mean.

Step 4

The other primary way to ensure that your distressed leather wallet will persist through the rage of time and nature is to apply wax consistently. This is a must. Waxing your wallet will provide the necessary amount of moisture that will care for the leather’s natural integrity and support its true flourishing. Moreover, the inherent quality of the leather will be emphasized and will maintain your leather in peak condition without compromising its distressed nature.

Specially Designed Andar Leather Wax

At Andar, our specially designed leather cream constituted from all-natural ingredients including triple-filtered beeswax, blended seed oils, and naturally occurring lipids, is imperative for maintaining your Andar distressed leather products in pristine condition. We worked hard to design a leather cream that restores, waterproofs and protects your leather. 

As each of our wallets leaves our warehouse, we apply our leather cream first to make sure each leaves in the best condition it can and won’t change despite what may come. Continuing to apply our wax to your Andar products carries on this heritage of durability, resilience, and hard work.

Distressed Leather In Short

So, you wanted to know about distressed leather. In short, distressed leather is an intentionally damaged or scarred leather that turns the typical glossy leather into an aged and weathered masterpiece. 

And if you were caught in an old parlor gambling with the wrong sorts of people, your wallet, and not what’s inside, is what they would want to take the most.


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