A comparison of the performance of leather and alternative materials

Comparison of the Technical Performance of Leather, Artificial Leather, and Trendy Alternatives

The market for biogenic and synthetic alternatives to leather is increasing aiming to replace animal-based materials with vegan alternatives. In parallel, bio-based raw materials should be used instead of fossil-based synthetic raw materials. In this study by FILK Freiberg Institute, a shoe upper leather and an artificial leather, and nine alternative materials (Desserto®, Kombucha, Pinatex®, Noani®, Appleskin®, Vegea®, SnapPap®, Teak Leaf®, and Muskin®) were investigated.
None of the leather alternatives showed the universal performance of leather. Nevertheless, some materials achieved high values in selected properties. It is speculated that the grown multilayer structure of leather with a very tight surface and a gradient of the structural density over the cross-section causes this universal performance. To date, this structure could neither be achieved with synthetic nor with bio-based materials.

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