Lambskin vs Calfskin vs Goatskin Leather: Everything You Need To Know

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Have you ever wondered what is the difference between lambskin vs calfskin vs goatskin leathers? Well, we’ve got all the answers to help you decide which is better for you.

There are loads of different types of leathers and animal hides out there – from the most common cowhide leather to exotic skins such as crocodile or alligator, all used for different products. Some more durable leathers are better suited to being made into leather jackets or shoes, while the more exotic leathers are reserved for statement pieces such as handbags or wallets.

Different luxury brands often produce their clothing, bags, and shoes from a couple of different leathers to ensure the best finish on their products – Stella McCartney even uses vegan leather to create her sustainable collections.

Lambskin vs Calfskin vs Goatskin: Black Dior saddle bag in goatskin leather
Our editor’s Dior Saddle bag in goatskin leather


It really depends on what you are buying as to what leather is going to be best – so for this article, we are going to focus on handbags to weigh up the differences between each type of leather.

The details, pros, and cons of each luxury leather will be analyzed before coming to a conclusion on when lambskin vs calfskin vs goatskin is best to use, and which type of leather suits your lifestyle the best.

Lambskin vs Calfskin vs Goatskin

Lambskin leather

Lambskin is one of the most popular leathers for handbags – and if you have the option to choose what leather your handbag is made from, as you can do at Chanel or Hermes, many people opt for lambskin because of its buttery soft, luxurious appearance.

Lambskin has a very smooth and soft texture that makes you want to just reach out and feel the velvety smooth finish. It has a slight shine to it that catches the light and looks utterly luxurious, plus the porous nature of lambskin means it takes to dyes very well – this means lambskin bags always look very rich in color.

However, there are also downsides to this high-quality leather. It is one of the less durable leathers and can be prone to scratches, scuffs, and marks.

Lambskin needs proper care in order for it to look its best for the longest time possible, so you must be careful to not let it get wet or be put on the floor as it will mark easily. This means it needs to be stored properly so that there is no dye transfer or sunlight damage.

Although it is a soft leather that requires care and attention, if it is in good condition a lambskin handbag has a high resale value because it looks so expensive and luxurious.

Calfskin leather

Calfskin is a durable high-quality leather used by most luxury brands such as Saint Laurent, Gucci, Prada, and Chanel. Calfskin leather has a fine grain and smooth texture to give a sumptuous feel if dyed with a more natural tanning process.

However, calfskin is very versatile and many different effects can be applied to this leather to give different finishes and feels. Calfskin can be grained, glazed or patented for a glossy finish, or dyed with metallic or iridescent dyes. In terms of softness, while it’s harder than lambskin leather, calfskin is still one of the more soft leathers so it does feel plush.

While in general, calfskin is more durable than lambskin, the process that is used to create the finish really determines how durable your leather good is. Full-grain leather is more resilient, but patent leather will easily show scuffs and marks.

Also, calfskin is not so porous and so dyes do not take so well to this type of leather – this may mean that a black bag may be a rich black shade indoor, but might look a little bit paler in the sunlight.

It is also worth looking out for any items labeled cow leather or cowhide leather. These are good quality fabrics, but they are not the same as calfskin – they are often a little less expensive and therefore a little less luxurious.

 
 
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Goatskin leather

Goatskin is the most durable option out of the three we have analyzed. It can withstand tough elements and so it is the best leather for an everyday use handbag or purse. Goat leather will last for a long time and is a little more water resistant than the other two options – that being said you do have to dry it properly if it does get wet to keep it looking its best.

Goatskin leather is used by both Chanel and Dior among other luxury houses, because it can withstand the weather, including cold climates, and hold its shape well. The finish of a goatskin leather is usually rather glossy, which works really well to perfectly display the stunning color of handbags.

One of the downsides of goat skin leather is that, because it is so durable, it can be quite stiff and you don’t get the luxurious leather feel that you would get with lambskin or calfskin. Some have commented that this stiffness makes the bag have a little more of a plastic feel about it.

Although this is resilient leather, it can be prone to denting and looking ‘crushed’ on the top of the bag. Thus, it needs to be stored properly in order for the bag to retain its original shape.

Top lambskin, calfskin, and goatskin bags

There are a lot of luxury fashion houses that offer handbags in lambskin and calfskin leather, however, there are only a few brands that offer goatskin leather – Chanel and Dior being among them.

Due to Chanel being one of the only brands that offer handbags in all three different types of leather, we have compared Chanel handbags just below to show you the different style and look of each type of leather.

1. lambskin
Dark brown Chanel Lambskin Quilted Mini Rectangular Flap bag
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Pink Chanel Iridescent Lambskin Quilted Mini Top Handle Rectangular Flap bag
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Lambskin is a favorite leather among Chanel customers – it just looks and feels so luxurious, features which are accentuated by the diamond Chanel quilting.

This mini rectangular flap bag perfectly displays the sumptuous look of lambskin leather. The dark brown shade is rich and has a slight shine to it as emphasized by the quilting.

The dark brown lambskin is paired with light gold hardware in the leather threaded chain-link strap and CC logo turn-lock that sits front and center. The interior is also lined with brown leather and features zipper and patch pockets for a plush and practical finish.

Lambskin leather is well suited to taking on dyes and iridescent or metallic effects because of its porous nature. This hot pink iridescent mini top handle flap bag perfectly shows the different effects that can be applied to lambskin leather.

The pink leather glows with blue and purple tones under the light to create a totally eye-catching bag. The aged gold chain and CC logo sit shining on the bag, complementing the lambskin. The interior is again lined with pink leather for a flawless finish.

2. calfskin
Black Chanel Calfskin Quilted New Medium Boy Flap bag
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Pink Chanel Patent Calfskin Quilted Mini Rectangular Flap bag
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Similar to lamb skin, calfskin leather is available in different finishes, two of which are displayed above. It is also worth noting that Chanel caviar leather is a type of grained calfskin leather that is used uniquely by Chanel (at least under the name caviar leather).

The complex quilting on the Chanel Boy bag perfectly shows the luxurious nature of the calfskin leather. The combination of linear and diamond quilting looks particularly striking in black calfskin, displaying the stunning nature of the Chanel Boy bags.

The smooth calfskin has a slight glossy look to it, which is accentuated by the ruthenium chunky chain-link strap and plated CC lock that features on this handbag. The grey fabric-lined interior features zipper and patch pockets.

A patent effect is just one of the finishes that Chanel’s calfskin leather comes in. The hot pink shade of this Chanel mini rectangular flap bag displays the high gloss shine that patent calfskin leather gives.

This patent leather is smooth to the touch and looks just incredible when it catches the light, emphasized by the traditional Chanel quilting. A silver, leather-threaded, chain-link strap and CC turn-lock are the perfect finishing touches on this gorgeous handbag.

3. goatskin
White Chanel Goatskin Quilted Medium Chanel 19 Flap bag
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Pale pink Chanel Goatskin Quilted Medium 19 Flap bag
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There are actually very few Chanel accessories that are available in goatskin, one of which are the Chanel 19 flap bags. Chanel appears to change up which of their luxury handbags are available in goatskin, so you may find one of your favorite flap bags or belt bags are available in goat skin leather at a different time.

The shine of the goatskin leather is shown in the oversized quilting of the Chanel 19 flap bags. Both of the bags pictured are actually medium size but in different shades – showing the rich and luxurious nature of goatskin leather.

The defining features of Chanel 19 bags are the mixture of different chain straps and metals. Both bags feature different size chain link straps in aged-gold, ruthenium, and dark silver, while delicate gold chain links form the iconic CC logo on the front of the bag – just stunning!

Conclusion

All three of these leathers are fantastic for multiple different reasons.

The lambskin is great if you are looking for something luxurious and you don’t mind a more high maintenance leather. Calfskin is perfect if you are looking for a bag with a more unusual finish, such as matte, patent or metallic, or if you want some luxury but without all the maintenance of lambskin leather.

Goatskin is ideal for those of you who want a durable, resilient bag that you don’t have to be too precious about.

Out of these three types of leather, lambskin would probably be the fan-favorite, most popular leather because of its opulent and expensive look, but it really depends on your lifestyle and personal style as to which leather you should opt for.

We hope you found this analysis of lambskin vs calfskin vs goatskin helpful! For more luxury fashion content, check out the links below.

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