Leather has long been revered for its timeless elegance, durability, and luxurious appeal. From clothing to furniture and accessories, it is a versatile material that has stood the test of time. However, like all natural materials, leather is not immune to wear and tear. One of the most common concerns associated with leather is cracking. But does real leather crack? And if so, why does it happen? In this article, we will delve into the fascinating world of leather, exploring the factors that contribute to cracking and ways to prevent and manage this natural occurrence.

The Nature of Leather

Before delving into the specifics of cracking, it's essential to understand the nature of leather. Leather is derived from the hides and skins of animals through a process known as tanning. Tanning involves treating the raw animal hide with chemicals to make it more resistant to decomposition and suitable for various applications. There are different types of tanning processes, including vegetable tanning, chrome tanning, and synthetic tanning, each yielding slightly different characteristics in the final leather product.

Does Real Leather Crack?

Yes, real leather can crack over time. Cracking in leather is a natural phenomenon that occurs due to a combination of factors, primarily related to the inherent characteristics of the material and the conditions it's exposed to. While it might seem concerning, cracking in leather is not necessarily a sign of poor quality or craftsmanship; rather, it's a result of the natural aging process of the material.

Factors Contributing to Cracking

Age: Like human skin, leather undergoes changes as it ages. As leather is exposed to environmental elements and used regularly, its natural oils and moisture content decrease, leading to a loss of flexibility and suppleness. This loss of elasticity is a primary factor in the development of cracks.

Sunlight and Heat: Excessive exposure to sunlight and heat can accelerate the aging process of leather. Ultraviolet (UV) rays can damage the fibers and proteins in leather, causing it to dry out and become brittle. Heat can further exacerbate this process by evaporating the moisture within the leather.

Humidity and Dryness: Fluctuations in humidity levels can also contribute to cracking. Extremely low humidity can cause leather to lose moisture rapidly, while high humidity can encourage the growth of mold and mildew, both of which can damage the leather's structure.

Improper Care: Neglecting proper care and maintenance of leather products can expedite the onset of cracking. Failing to clean, condition, and moisturize leather can strip it of its natural oils and accelerate the drying-out process.

Bending and Folding: Leather that undergoes frequent bending, folding, or creasing is more susceptible to cracking along these stress points. This is often seen in items like leather jackets, wallets, and shoes.

Prevention and Management

Regular Cleaning and Conditioning: Cleaning and conditioning leather products with appropriate products can help maintain their moisture balance and flexibility. Leather conditioners, when applied in moderation, can replenish lost oils and keep the material supple.

Avoiding Extreme Conditions: Limiting leather's exposure to direct sunlight, heat, and extreme humidity levels can significantly extend its lifespan. If possible, store leather items in a cool, dry place.

Use Gently: Be mindful of how you use and handle leather items. Avoid excessive bending, folding, or overstuffing bags, as this can weaken the material and lead to cracks.

Rotate Usage: If you have multiple leather accessories or garments, consider rotating their usage. This allows each piece to rest and recover from the stresses of regular use.

Professional Restoration: For valuable or cherished leather items, seeking the expertise of professional leather restorers can be a wise investment. They can repair existing cracks and restore the leather's integrity.


In the world of natural materials, it's important to understand that aging and wear are inevitable processes. Leather, despite its durability, is no exception. Cracking in real leather is a testament to its authenticity and the unique journey it has undergone. By understanding the factors that contribute to cracking and implementing proper care and maintenance, you can ensure that your leather items age gracefully and retain their beauty for years to come. Remember that the marks and imperfections that develop on leather tell a story, making each piece truly one of a kind.

Author's Bio: 

Remember that the marks and imperfections that develop on leather tell a story, making each piece truly one of a kind.