I bet you've heard of Suede. Might even have some Suede items in your closest right now. What I've come to realize is the average man doesn't know about suede's brother, Nubuck. Hell, in all honesty, I didn't know what it was until recently. You touch a Suede like item and automatically think it's Suede or a distant thought, velvet. But Nubuck is just as common as suede, in fact, I'm willing to bet a couple of those "suede-like" items in your closest are actually Nubuck. In this blog post we are going to talk about Suede vs Nubuck, what's the difference? which one is better? which is more affordable? And myriad of things to consider when purchasing either one.
Is There A Difference Between Suede and Nubuck?
Well first let's start with the one similarity; they both are made from leather. Leather comes from animal hide, cows and sheep tend to be on the more affordable end while alligator and snake are more pricey. It undergoes a chemical process which removes the hairs. What happens next is what seperates Nubuck from Suede. With Nubuck the leather is buffed on the outside which produces short fibers called naps that velvety feel. For Suede, it's the exact opposite happens, the leather is buffed on the inside still producing naps. If you are just going by touch the differences are subtle, thus people confuse Nubuck for suede. However, if you carefully run your have through both, suede has a much smoother and softer feel than Nubuck and understandably so seems it's buffed/sanded on the inside. Nubuck being sanded on the outside makes the surfaces slightly rough, still having the velvet-y feel but out of the two it is the most durable. I've noticed with my Suede shoes, they get easily scuffed and hard to clean them. An easy example of Nubuck leather are construction boots, they are made to withstand the harsh environment of construction sites even though some people wear them as a fashion statement i.e Timberland Boots.
How To Maintain Nubuck/Suede Shoes.
A quick google search will show you tons of ways to clean your Nubuck/Suede shoes. There no one right way, everybody does it different and it works for everyone. Because time is important to me and I keep things simple, here is my easy way of doing it. Because of the fibers on the shoes, you'll need a special suede brush and Nubuck brush. I tend to brush in one direction with both as opposed to back and forth with a regular leather shoe. It keeps the fibers looking smooth which in turn help the aesthetics of the shoes. For serious scuffing, I use an eraser and just rub with a little tension the area that has scuff then use the appropriate brush to brush it off. As this is just a generally overview of what Suede and Nubuck are, and given the fact that my current suede/nubuck shoes are pretty decent looking, a thorough clean up is a stand alone video so I'll wait for that to happen and break it down for yall. For now, a simple brush and eraser will suffice.
So that's it guys, the differences are subtle and one might be confused for the other without careful examination. I've put together a simple chart to display the differences. Hope you find this post informative and helpful in your shopping for Nubuck/Suede.