What is microfiber leather?

Views: 10     Author: Site Editor     Publish Time: 2020-01-10      Origin: Site

What is microfiber leather?

For many years, the synthetic leather industry has been making efforts for the sake of the pursuit of "touch as real, perceived as real, and function as great as leather." However, in the face of traditional options of leather replacement, you could quickly tell they are fakes. They do not look, smell, or feel the same as natural leather, not even close.

Microfiber leather is a most satisfactory leather replacement. It has been commonly used as an exceptional choice for genuine natural leather day by day.

It has an online reputation for longevity and a genuine leather-like hand feel. Yet the concern is whether that reputation equals the actual. And is microfiber leather durable? We edited this article to bring you helpful info to these questions.

List of top queries:

  • What is microfiber leather?

  • What is microfiber leader made of?

  • Is microfiber leather vegan?

  • Advantages of microfiber leather?

  • How durable is microfiber leather?

  • Is microfiber leather waterproof?

  • Is microfiber leather comfortable?

  • How to identify the quality of microfiber leather?

  • Microfiber leather VS real leather

  • Microfiber leather VS PU leather

  • Microfiber leather VS blinded leather

  • Microfiber leather VS vinyl

  • History of microfiber leather


What is it?

What is the definition of microfiber leather? It is also called micro fiber leather or microfibre leather fabric - completely synthetic with high performance. The word "microfiber" is the backing base substratum, and also it is utilized to define this type of upholstery material as a category name.

Usually, "less than 1.1 DTEX" fiber thickness is the boundary for defining "microfiber."

What is microfiber leather made of?

Different synthetic materials can create the microfiber base material, such as polyester, polyamide, and polypropylene. Its material construction is very similar to that of natural leather. Such construction is known as a sea-island structure in the microfiber nonwoven industry. The microfiber base is constructed by superfine mini fiber (ultra-fine fiber bundle). When developing such an inner construction, needle punched nonwoven tech is used. Thanks to modern technology, the microfiber base has acquired comparable features as natural leather—some even better. Then, a high-performance polyurethane resin coating is built on top of the microfiber base. In comparison, other synthetics start by taking regular fabrics as a base and finishing those with low-cost polyurethane resin or PVC plastics.

Is microfiber leather vegan?

New clients who had ever received the sample swatches asked this question more than once. It is 100% synthetic, and it is 100% vegan. You can also call it microfiber vegan leather. Previously, a client even asked the same question a few times on different occasions. It might tell that it is an ideal leather replacement.


Where genuine leather or other leather replacement are used, you can use microfiber synthetic leather. It is just a matter of decision on choosing the suitable material for the targeted finished products. It is necessary to consider finding the ideal balance among end-user needs, brand positioning, and cost when deciding whether to select microfiber leather for a project. In all the below-listed fields, you can apply to use:

[__] automotive upholstery like seat covers and steering covers

[__] outdoor upholstery like outdoor sofa and chairs

[__] hospital upholstery

[__] lifestyle & fashion products like handbags and footwear

[__] furniture upholstery like seats and recliners

[__] contract commercial upholstery

[__] architecture like wall covering and remodeling

[__] ground transportation like bus seats

[__] marine upholstery

[__] children products

[__] consumer electronics like iPad holders and covers

[__] leather accessories like bag straps.

Microfiber leather sectional sofa, couch, recliners, love seat, car seat covers, shoes, and handbags are getting more and more popular in the market.

How is the performance of microfiber leather?

Is microfiber leather any good?

Yes, it is true with high-quality microfiber leather grades. As long as a supplier engineered to utilize the most durable grade out of the polyurethane resin family, it offers remarkable features like superb wear resistance, acid and alkali resistance, and hydrolysis resistance, all of which result in a remarkably long lifespan. Such microfiber leather can be used for a long period without peeling off or cracking because it has strength comparable to genuine leather, making it sturdy and long-lasting on both base and coating.  

For instance, our items are being supplied to IKEA branded couch products that need a quality warranty for at least ten years, implying the lifespan expectation.

Sidenote: there is also microfiber leather made from low-cost resin and microfiber base. You will not expect its performance to be as good as high-quality ones.

Advantages of microfiber leather

Below listed value-added features can be added to the material. Some are genes for the whole category, and some are optional values that can be added upon request.

[__] eco-friendly, zero DMF, perfect VOCs control, which is good for both environmental and human health

[__] antibacterial

[__] anti-odor

[__] lightness (light weight)

[__] anti-bacteria

[__] Real leather feel

[__] Excellent hydrolysis resistance, aging resistance

[__] Outstanding tear resistance, abrasion resistance, tensile strength, flexing endurance and cold-resistant, etc

[__] Excellent uniformity, high dimensional stability, easy to cut, easy to sew, high utilization rate

[__] Water repellency

[__] acid proof, alkali-resisting, non-fading

[__] leather alike resilience when pressing

[__] anti-mildew, mothproof

[__] anti-fouling and easy to clean

[__] cost-efficient compared to genuine leather

How durable is microfiber leather?

Some might ask that is microfiber leather long-lasting? It is not right to draw a simple conclusion that it is all durable.

1. Two essential elements

The result of durability is influenced by the other two more prioritized key variables besides the maintenance factor during use.

(1) Raw materials grade - there are different options for developing the surface coating finish and the structural microfiber base layer. The difference matters substantially.

(2) Application occasions - where, how, and who. Where and how the microfiber leather-made products are used by whom is the second factor.

2. Contrasted against what

Contrasted to old synthetics such as traditional PU leather, vinyl (PVC leather), and bonded leather, the microfiber leather category certainly has much more advantages on its physical construction, making it extra long-lasting.

As long as it is high-grade microfiber leather, some of its features can outperform genuine leather, such as tear strength, etc. Some also ask does microfiber leather peels or crack. If the surface coating layer is conventional PVC plastic or lower-grade PU resin, it has the same finish performance level as regular vinyl and PU leather. However, if it is high-grade microfiber leather, you will not have a surprise within the warranty period.

It starts with choosing the correct grade of raw materials for the targeted application occasion and doing this right step results in just the proper material engineering. As long as it is a high grade, it can last for at least five years without failing to satisfy the requested function and performance requirements.

In the automotive industry, increasingly more have gotten utilized for OEM seats, guiding wheels, and interiors, which shows the automakers' confidence in the new leather replacement. And it might tell how long-lasting it can be.

Is microfiber leather waterproof?

Yes, it can do a good job of resisting water. And hence it is also an ideal material for outdoor applications such as outdoor furniture, yacht seating, golf vehicles, etc.

Is microfiber leather comfortable?

The most effective way to discover is to experience it once using microfiber leather-made products.

It is pretty good on softness and touch and other functions. We can engineer it and construct it to meet your comfort expectations.

In contrast to regular synthetics, it can be a lot more in comfort. In contrast to the natural leather, both are comfortable. Nevertheless, it is a fact that natural leather consumption has been going down worldwide in the last few years. Nevertheless, genuine leather still has substantial advantages and value despite just how the artificial natural leather industry evolves.

We live in a diversified world, and it is always that some like meat while some like vegetables. Comfort or not always related to personal taste.

How to identify the quality of microfiber leather?

1. Hydrolysis resistance

Premium quality microfiber performs very well on hydrolysis resistance. It is not easy to tell by eyeballing. Only formal test data can tell.

2. Surface finishing

The top-quality microfiber leather feels really like genuine leather with leather alike resilience when pressing, while the low-quality one gives a solid sense of plastics.

3. Supporting base

The base is a crucial part of microfibre leather and is related to its general performance. A high-quality base makes the performance of microfiber is much more stable. There are various microfiber base types. Therefore it is also essential to assess what type is used.

4. Handfeel

Premium quality microfiber leather has an excellent hand feel, flexibility, and comfort.

5. Fold resistance

Folding up microfiber leather, examine if the fold can disappear or not when the recovery. The smaller crease, the much faster disappearance, suggests the better surface coating covering onto the microfiber base. It is a vital indicator of premium quality.

6. Scrapes resistance

Scrape the surface of the microfiber with an object to see how it goes. The surface of the high-quality microfiber leather is good against scrapes.

Anyway, some microfiber leather is better than the others. Inspect both sides (surface area layer side and backing base side). The more challenging it is to differentiate it from natural leather, the higher quality.

Comparison with real leather, PU leather, and Vinyl

Microfiber leather vs real leather

Is microfiber leather much better or stronger than actual leather?

Real leather still has a great and also classic feel and look. However, the worldwide demand has been dropping. It is not easy to tell which is "better." In some cases, the judgment of "better" is more a matter of personal value or personal like or dislike.

In some aspects, the high-grade microfiber leather can outmatch the top and full grain natural leather, which is the finest quality of the real stuff. Most of the time, average customers can not also tell which is synthetics when facing the microfiber leather.

1. 100% vegan yet highly like natural leather

Its largest charm is that it isn't made from animals (100% vegan), while it is likewise one of the most extremely simulative leather replacements that are very close to real leather.

2. Performance

Talking about performance like chemical abrasion, it is much better than natural leather.

3. Smell

Natural leather is produced utilizing animal skin. As a result, it has a strong scent that can just be removed if it undergoes an appropriate process. On the other hand, microfiber leather can be produced with a smell very well controlled. Nevertheless, the odor topic is rather interesting. Some individuals much like the smell of natural leather.

Microfiber leather vs PU leather

Microfiber leather or PU leather? Let's take a look at three major aspects.

1. Surface finish

The performance of the surface layer is different. Generally, the polyurethane resin on the surface of the microfiber leather has more powerful wear resistance, acid, and alkali resistance, as well as hydrolysis resistance than ordinary PU, and the colorfastness, as well as structure, will also be more powerful.

2. Base

The base fabric is different. Typical PU leather base is typically woven fabric or nonwoven fabric. The microfiber leather is made with a nonwoven technology base referred to as a microfiber base. It has a three-dimensional structure. The different raw materials, processes, and technical standards of the base have a big influence on the performance of microfiber leather.

3. Performance

Microfiber leather has much better performance on colorfastness, structural stability, hydrolysis resistance, abrasion resistance, acid resistance, as well as alkali resistance.

4. Market

The normal PU market has been a saturated market for a long time. And also close to its performance limit when talking about its performance improvement curve. On the other hand, the expansion of microfiber leather is going on, and customers progressively recognize it, so there is a big market potential-especially for some untapped market segments.

Microfiber leather vs bonded leather

The bonded leather base is made by using the glued leather off-cut of real leather. It is another option for leather replacement.

1. Bonded leather contains real leather content

The bonded leather is not 100% vegan. It has a certain % of natural leather in it. Some industries have been using it to replace real leather because of the feature that it contains natural leather content. In some cases, the % can be as high as 50% or more. And the microfiber leather is 100% vegan.

2. Performance

Microfiber is stronger and will last longer than bonded leather. On strength, the glue bonded leather base is not as strong as the nonwoven technology-driven microfiber base.

Microfiber leather vs vinyl

You must be very familiar with vinyl. It is also known as PVC leather as the earlier generation of synthetic leather in the industry. Back in the old days, when there was only real leather and high demand while limited leather supply, the invention of vinyl was a big breakthrough and had been very successful because it met the need of function.

After the function had already met the needs of the market, the manufacturer got started to seek for next generation for a better user experience. And microfiber leather was invented as one of the later milestones in synthetic leather history.

Vinyl is still widely used. However, if using real leather as the benchmark, then the microfiber leather prevails over the vinyl greatly and greatly as an ideal leather replacement.

Microfiber leather suppliers

The value network of this category has been gradually established in the industry for some time.

Where to buy microfiber Leather?

If you are a consumer who wants some meters to create something yourself, Amazon or local fabrics stores might be the right sources.

If you intend to purchase it in bulk for small-scale and medium-scale manufacturing, then buying from a local wholesaler or directly importing from China might be the direction. * Sidenote: if you have no experience of importing, some resources might help you solve the problem of importing.

Generally, the source for the majority of such materials is from China. Japanese companies invented this category, and it is industrialized on a really big scale in China.

Sidenote: we are happy to connect you to our distributor locally.

How to identify the right microfiber leather supplier?

If you are to import from China for the first time, then another problem yet to be tackled is "how to choose the right supplier?".

1. Right product

To verify the product itself on function, performance, features, durability, cost, etc.

2. Easy purchase process

To verify suppliers to check whether it is efficient and productive to work with them. Time is money. No one likes working with someone who needs others to invest a big amount of time in working with.

3. Value network

To sense "the value" of the supplier. It is the "value system" which determines how a company prioritizes and makes decisions. It will influence the cooperation in the long run, and it matters when on some urgent or special occasions.

*sidenote: test, verify and then scale up.

How to develop the material for a project?

Same as any other new development, the process starts with communication to visualize "what's needed by your clients now and nearby future?", "what's needed by the current project? And what's are critical?". And then, we engineer together to make the most proper features portfolio instead of the best or all features into it.


As one of the latest generations in the synthetic leather industry, microfiber leather is not only durable and high-quality vegan leather but also highly alike genuine leather on the look and touch feel.

The mission of a product is to meet the needs of the users of the market. And this is the benchmark for judging whether it is a successful product or not.

It has better met the needs of some segments of the entire market. For these segments, it is the best. At the same time, other options, including the real leather and vinyl will also co-exist in the market for a long time.

We hope the above content helps you find the answer.


Writing in the end:

People also ask, and you might also want to know :

Microfiber in Chinese

In the Chinese language, we call it "Chaoxian (超纤)" or "Chaoxi Xianwei (超细纤维)".


"Microfiber" was finally invented by way of continuous R&D and imitation of the microstructure of natural leather fiber.

It has been used for synthetic leather mfg. for more than 40 years and originally started with the application for shoes, garments, and bags. And in the past decade, it got unitized for producing automotive and upholstery application synthetic leather.

1963 - Toray (Japan) researched the microstructure of natural leather

     and proved that such structure could be similarly built by using synthetic fibers

1963 - DuPont (USA) launched 1.1dtex microfiber branded as "Corfam"

1964 - Kuraray (Japan) successfully developed microfiber synthetic leather for shoe application branded as "Clarino"

1970 - Toray (Japan) launched sea-island composite tech-based microfiber synthetic leather branded as "Ecsaina" marketed for high-end garments mfg.

In the 1970s - Japanese companies contributed to discovering functionalities of "Microfiber" and spread the application globally. "Lammuse" was also launched at that time.

In the 1980s - "Microfiber" technologies progressed to be more mature, and diversified manufacturing tech was developed. In the 1980s, more functionalities were researched and developed to broaden the application. And other countries incl. China got started in microfiber too.

In the 1990s - the industrialization of microfiber was also realized in China. And then stepped onto rapid development.

In the past decade, microfiber synthetic leather has been more and more applied to automotive/upholstery applications.

Facts and Data

There are also different mfg. tech to produce microfiber for producing different categories of microfiber:

>= 0.55dtex-Direct spinning tech

0.33~0.55dtex - Compound division spinning tech

0.11~0.33dtex - Compound division spinning tech, Sea-island composite tech

0.0011~0.11dtex – sea-island composite tech