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What is Saffiano Leather? All You Need to Know (Detailed Guide 2024)

What is Saffiano leather? - This question is commonly asked amongst people who purchase leather goods as often as possible.

Saffiano leather is a type / style of pressed and textured leather with a unique grain gotten from a stamping method.

It is usually coated with a protective finish, (wax coating) which makes it durable and gives it a characteristic style.

What is Saffiano Leather Made of?

black saffiano leather

We now know about Saffiano leather being genuine leather used to make handbags and other leather goods, let us look at what it is made of. The Classic Saffiano leather is made from animal calfskin (leather from young cow animals).

Saffiano leather is also made from different variations of materials like waxes, calfskin leather and plastic. Some Saffiano leather are only made of plastic. One common way of making Saffiano leather is by stamping into the calfskin the Saffiano pattern.

These days, Saffiano leather is usually made with PVC plastic (Polyvinylchloride) and PU (Polyurethane). This is done by adhering the plastic to the layer’s surface then stamping it. The Saffiano pattern is pressed into the plastic and creates the shape.

One can add a finish if they desire while following this process. In cases like this, the leather is covered in plastic and is not exposed. It is never seen, so it is not a bad idea to use leather with imperfections or discolorations.

One can also make Saffiano Leather from PU and PVC plastic (Saffiano PVC). In this case, you do not make use of leather because the plastic materials will be thick enough to make the sides of the bag. The pattern will be pressed into the plastic and finishing will be added.

If you are a fan of vegan or faux leather, the Saffiano plastic leather will be the right choice for you.

How is Saffiano Leather Made?


For those interested in how Saffiano leather is made, you might want to keep reading how the crosshatch textured leather is made.

It involves four major steps namely preparation, heating, stamping the leather pattern and adding a finish. Though this precise process varies based on things like materials and technology available.


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Preparation – Tanning Process

TANNING PROCESS - Saffiano leather

This step involves a thorough tanning process to make the leather suitable for commercial use. Depending on the brand doing this, the leather may be dyed using the signature colors to make it somewhat unique.

Other brands could add a translucent finish to the leather which creates a special visual contrast with the color used to dye the leather.

Heating of the Leather

The next step is to heat the leather fibers to make them loose so they can take in crosshatch pattern being pressed into them. The material should be heated to a temperature of approximately 70 degrees. Then, the leather will be ready for pressing.


Pressing of the Leather

The heated leather is put through a special machine with big metal plates used to create the crosshatched leather pattern. This is done for about 15 seconds as it is not a long process and then the pattern looks as desired.

Every surface is etched in reverse using the metal plates to get the desired results.


Finishing of Saffiano Leather


Once the leather goes through the three steps above and has cooled down, a finish will be applied. The most common is the wax finish which protects the leather surface from damage and gives it a shine.

Some brands may decide to add other the layers underneath the wax for visual effects and aesthetics.

What is Saffiano Leather Used for?




From all that is written above, we can tell that Saffiano leather is durable and the perfect choice for high-end leather goods. Saffiano leather is mostly used to make purses and handbags (Saffiano leather bag) due to its rigidity and composure. Other uses include:




Benefits of Saffiano Leather


The major question here is – is Saffiano leather good? What makes this crosshatched leather worth using? Saffiano leather comes with many benefits that make it a unique material and some of them are listed below.

Leather Durability

One major benefit of Saffiano leather is that it is durable which is as a result of its strong wax finish. A Saffiano leather bag will withstand the wear and tear gotten from daily use as the leather does not chip or crack.

If scratches ever appear, they will be difficult to notice due to crosshatched pattern and rigid surface which will not soften easily.

Ease of Maintenance

Saffiano leather has a semi-gloss wax surface which is strong and stops grime and dirt from adhering to the surface. The surface is also easy to clean as it does not require special preparation. So, unlike other leather types, Saffiano leather is easy to maintain as it does not need to be cleaned daily.



Saffiano leather is not waterproof but water-resistant as drops of water or a splash will roll right off the surface. This is because of the synthetic wax coating and this makes Saffiano leather a great choice for outdoor use. But you should not test it with so much water.


Attractive Look

brown saffiano leather

One of the things we look out for when purchasing a leather item is attractiveness and Saffiano leather has that. It mixes the glossy shine and crosshatched texture to give a beautiful aesthetic. This is why they are used to make sleek on and high-end accessories.

Leather Imperfections


Despite Saffiano leather being shiny, durable and sleek, it is not without some disadvantages. Let us look at the different imperfections Saffiano leather has and if they are worth dealing with.


Easily Damaged by Sharp Objects

We stated under the benefits that Saffiano leather is scratch-resistant due to its rigidity and durability. But, the leather does not hold up well against sharp objects like most leather goods. So, one would have to be careful around jagged edges and sharp objects.


One would have expected price to be one of the downsides of Saffiano leather due to its quality. This leather is not cheap as it is used to make high-end accessories and is usually found in expensive stores.

Note that high-quality Saffiano products are costly and this does not depend on the type of leather used.


Unnatural Look

saffiano leather

Saffiano leather has a synthetic appearance – this is due to the wax coating and crosshatch pattern. It looks different from most leather types as it has an unnatural look.

But luckily, its appearance adds to the overall aesthetics, though not everyone may agree.

Care & Maintenance

If Saffiano leather is taken care of properly – maintenance, storing and cleaning – it will last for a long time in great shape. It does not need a large amount of TLC, once you do a couple of things occasionally its lifespan will be prolonged.


How to Clean Saffiano Leather?


One of the great advantages of Saffiano leather is that it is easy to maintain and does not need to be cleaned often. Due to its wax coating surface, it has a slippery topcoat that does not allow dirt and grime to stick to the surface.

But of course, Saffiano leather will need to be cleaned from time to time as dirt will end up accumulating. You can use a wet cloth without fibers and lint to clean the surface of the leather gently. Baby wipes, a damp cloth or a microfiber towel will do the trick.

All you need to do is wipe the leather surface in a straight motion. Ensure to test on a random surface first so you do not transfer any color from the cloth to the leather surface.

If the damp towel or microfiber cloth is not doing the trick, you can use a soft bag brush. Wet your brush slightly and brush the leather surface softly. Do not press hard so you do not end up damaging the bag. Then, use the cloth to wipe any additional dirt on the surface.

Once your Saffiano leather product dries, you can use or store it. If it is a stain you are trying to clean, you should look for a cleaner made for Saffiano leather. You will need to be extra careful in cases like this so you do not create another stain.  

How to Fix Scratches on Saffiano Leather?


If you have a scratch or scratches on your Saffiano leather, you can easily fix it/them. Most Saffiano surfaces have a plastic or wax coating. The size of the scratch on Saffiano leather determines how you can fix it.


If you are dealing with a small scratch, put a little bit of acrylic paint on the scratch with a fine point tool like a toothpick. It is advisable to use a matching color acrylic paint so it does not contrast. Once dried, you will be able to move the bag naturally and the paint will not crack.


If you are dealing with a hole, it is advisable to take the product to a local leather shop for fixing. They might have to repair the hole, put a top matching color and apply a new finish. Saffiano leathers are specially created so it is difficult to replicate the surface.


Conditioning Saffiano Leather

Saffiano leather has a waxy finish, as stated above, so there is no need to condition it with a leather conditioner. The surface finish does a great job of protecting the leather beneath so the conditioner will not be able to penetrate.

So, if you want to keep your Saffiano leather looking good, clean it with a damp cloth from time to time. Luckily, the protective surface of the leather makes it easy to clean.

Storing Saffiano Leather

Saffiano leather should always be kept away from direct sunlight – in a cool dry place – to avoid discoloration. You can store your Saffiano products in your closet at home or any other cool and dry place.

To protect Saffiano leather products from dust, you can place it in a soft fabric bag before your store it. This will also protect them from other items that may be stored in the closet.


Saffiano Leather vs Vegetable-Tanned Leather

There are differences between Saffiano leather and vegetable-tanned leather but which is the best option for your leather goods? Vegetable-tanned leather is smooth, comes in varieties and is long lasting.

Saffiano leather is rigid, durable and can withstand the daily wear and tear. Check out the comparison table below for more differences.


Saffiano Leather

Vegetable-Tanned Leather


It is used to make high-end accessories, bags and not so expensive alternatives.

It is used to make the usual day-to-day accessories like bags, industrial belts and wallets.


Saffiano leather has a synthetic wax coating which gives it a rigid texture.

Vegetable-tanned leather has a hard texture, but as time goes on, it becomes soft.


It is easy to maintain and clean.

It needs to be conditioned (semi-regular) to prolong its lifespan.


It is water and scratch-resistant making it very durable. Can last for a long time if taken care of properly.

If taken care of properly, it can last you for a long time.


The price of Saffiano leather depends on the brand and leather grade. But it is usually expensive.

The price of vegetable-tanned leather is medium high.


It has a plastic-like smell.

It has an earthy smell.


History and Origin of Saffiano Leather

The origin of Saffiano leather can be traced back to a popular name called Mario Prada. He started the story of this high-end leather with his brother. The both of them had an expensive goods shop where they sold different things like accessories and bags.

The goods shop was called Fratelli Prada, which means Prada Brothers, and was situated in Milan. Soon, the Prada Brothers became popular amongst aristocrats who had a taste for high-end goods.

This was mostly because their leather goods were aesthetically pleasing and crafted well. As the years went by, there was a high demand from European elites for luxury items. So, the Prada brothers decided to make the most out of it by creating a new type of high-quality leather.

Saffiano leather was first made in a famous Italian tannery and was a signature of Prada (which was an established design house). The Prada brothers created a special pressing method to use with high-quality calf leather.

The name was gotten from the crosshatch pattern which they pressed into the wax to coat the leather. It is on a vegetable-tanned base and is water resistant. The Prada brothers launched their patented Saffiano handbag in 1913 and it soon became very popular.

In1919, the Saffiano style was so popular that the Italian Royal Family asked Prada to be their main supplier. Prada also became a globally recognized brand.

Nowadays, Saffiano leather is made in different ways and countries now that the patent has since expired. There are many factories and brands that use the crosshatch pattern and claim the end result is Saffiano.

Prada has continued to use high-quality calfskin leather when making Saffiano while many other competitors create cheaper versions. This is so that people will have access to affordable alternatives.



Is Saffiano Leather Real Leather?

Saffiano leather can be made using genuine or real leather. While others are made using faux or vegan leather.

Does Louis Vuitton Use Saffiano Leather?

Louis Vuitton is famous for using Epi leather. This type of leather is made by mixing pigments and polyurethane and coating a leather’s base layer.

Are all Michael Kors Made of Saffiano Leather?

Almost every Michael Kors handbag is made of Saffiano leather due to the durability and other attributes. Saffiano leather is soon becoming a trademark of Michael Kors bags.

What Does “Textured Leather” Mean?

An example of textured leather is Saffiano and it refers to leather with a crosshatch finish. This finish is obtained by treating the leather material with a unique stamping machine then adding a wax finish. Textured leather is durable, easy to clean and scratch resistant.

Is Saffiano Leather Plastic?

Saffiano leather has different variations as it is made of layers of materials namely plastic, calfskin and waxes. Some variations of Saffiano leather involve it being made of plastic all through.


Is Saffiano leather the perfect leather material for your leather goods? Will it meet your needs and give you exactly what you need? Apart from a unique, attractive and sleek appearance, Saffiano is durable enough to withstand the stress of daily use.

So, if you are looking premium quality leather products, it is absolutely the best choice.


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