BATTLEFIELD LEATHER helps customers choose their leather products with confidence. Other sites use misleading fancy terms to describe even their lowest quality leathers (i.e., referring to split skin as a "top grain" leather); BATTLEFIELD LEATHER is upfront and allows you to know exactly what type of leather the product is. The highest grade costs more, but the quality is excellent; whereas the lower grade is still necessary as this is where the most savings are found.
High end leathers, common throughout the motorcycle community.
Average leathers, common throughout the motorcycle community.
Thin/stiff low end leathers found at many bike events, bike rallies & swap meets; made to be affordable.
Full-Naked cow is a premium soft leather that looks and feels natural to the touch. They are made from full grain leather hides and are not grain corrected. Therefore they need to be hand selected for uniformity and only the highest quality hides can be used to make naked leather products. However, since there is no grain correction, they still have their natural markings. They are not defect free, but they do have fewer imperfections. Full-naked leather has been dyed, but no other treatments or finishes are applied. Other leathers are corrected by sanding etc to remove the imperfections.
Semi-Naked cowhide is also a premium leather and very close in quality to the Full-Naked leather. The main difference is that the semi naked is coated with a thin finishing layer (pigment) which allows most of the natural character of the leather to show through. Semi uses a small amount of pigment whereas the full naked leather does not use any. The surface of semi-naked leather is more protected against stains and spills than the full-naked. Semi naked is a very nice looking soft leather.
Milled cowhide leather is a nice top grain quality leather. We can separate milled leather into two categories, (1) Soft Milled, and (2) Plain Milled. The soft milled leather would be the better quality of the two leathers as it is softer and thicker than the plain milled cowhide leather. Milled cowhide is a more available and therefore affordable leather as the cowhide that is used to make milled leather does not need to be perfect. These milled cowhides are corrected via processes (such as sanding etc) and have a more uniform appearance. The term Milled is just a way to separate nicer cowhide from cheaper cowhide leathers (such as split skin). Milled actually refers to the part of production where the leather is put into a milling machine and rotated. Basically like a large clothes dryer (minus the air and heat). This tumbling process softens the leather and allows the natural fine lines in the leather to intensify. **NOTE: Milled is a very common leather type for motorcycle vests. Plain Milled is a fairly average basic vest, whereas the soft milled is slightly thicker and much softer to the touch.
Naked Buffalo is a soft leather that is considered by many to be a quality leather. However the grain (or surface) is very different looking than cowhide: Buffalo leather has a non-uniform pattern of lines and streaks (see the comparison photo on this page). Some like the pattern; others do not. Some websites are inaccurately listing buffalo hide vests as cowhide vests, but the terms should not be interchangeable. Naked buffalo is really up to the individual rider; if the lines & streaks don't bother you, than you will like this leather. It is important to note that Buffalo refers to the Water Buffalo native to Pakistan & India; NOT the American Bison which was a very popular leather long ago.
Plain Buffalo is a step down from Naked Buffalo (Read about Naked Buffalo above to learn more about Buffalo in general). Plain Buffalo quality is just slightly above Split Skin Cowhide, and only because it is slightly softer. However, if you do not like the look of Buffalo hide, than split skin cowhide may be more appealing even though it is not as soft.
Split skin cowhide is found below the top layer. It is less durable than other leathers, but it is very affordable. Some products are made using split skin cowhide in order to bring the cost down. This allows popular styles to be more affordable. Split skin is not considered a quality leather, but it is still in demand due to the very low pricing. Sometimes split skin is actually preferred; like during the summer when the split skin chaps will not be as heavy and hot as the naked cowhide chaps. Split leather is created from the fibrous part of the hide once the top grain has been separated from the hide. Split has an artificial layer added to the surface and is embossed with a leather grain. It is a much tougher feeling leather than that of a naked skin. Split skin products are clearly marked “split skin”, and their product numbers always end in the letters, "SS".
In the most basic terms; the larger the number = the thicker the vest.
Example: A 0.5mm vest is a light weight leather, while a 0.9mm vest is a middle weight leather, and of course a 1.3mm vest is a heavy weight leather.
However in actuality, the “mm” has nothing to do with ruler measurements. Leather is measured by weight. 1 ounce of leather = 1/64 inch = 0.4mm. In theory, this measurement is based on the assumption that one square foot of leather will weigh a certain number of ounces and will be a certain uniform thickness.
I hope this has helped your understanding of leather.
There are various types of leather, and when shopping online it can be difficult to determine the quality of a vest by the website pictures. Many sites will have a picture of a thick naked cowhide looking vest, but when you receive the vest you find that it is a very thin, hard, split-skin vest. Keep in mind that the same image is used for a particular style vest regardless of what the vest is made of. Therefore if the manufacturer supplies two versions of the same vest (i.e., a premium and a rally version), there is usually only one picture used for both vests