Leather vs. Polyurethane Foam: Which Material is Better?

July 24, 2015


Tough, weather-resistant, and shiny when polished – that’s what leather is. Mankind has been using this material for hundreds of years for applications like footwear, clothing, car seats, and of course, furniture.

However, no matter how seemingly perfect leather may be, there is one material that is more suited for the job – polyurethane foam. Although it’s a more recent development compared to leather, it’s far superior in many aspects. If you find that hard to believe, these facts should convince you.



Leather sofas have become pretty uncommon, as they’re quite expensive, making them more of a status symbol than anything else. They can also be hard to maintain, as they crack with constant use. However, if taken care of properly, they can last quite long.

On the other hand, sofas made of polyurethane foam are cheaper and more environment-friendly, as no animals are slaughtered in the process of making one. They are also durable and easier to preserve as compared to real leather, for they do not crack with constant use or fade when exposed to sunlight. They are easier to wash as well.


polyurethane foam bag

In the 70s and 80s, leather jackets were an in thing. It’s not the most popular thing nowadays (hello global warming), but even today, leather jacket has retained its image of coolness. This is all thanks to its fabled durability and the protection it offers from intense sunlight, rain, and winds. However, leather is heavy and can feel hot when worn, as it’s not the kind of fabric that allows the skin to breathe. In addition, leather cannot be washed using regular means, and they need to be taken really good care of, or there will be buildup of mildew and odor on the fabric. High-maintenance much?

Thankfully, there’s a not-so-new fabric in town that can rival leather. It looks and feels like leather – but it’s not. It’s polyurethane foam leather, more popularly known as faux leather. This material provides better protection from the rain. It’s also lighter, requires less stringent care, and can be machine-washed.

Leather loyalists can say all the negative things they want about faux leather, but sometimes the original can be bested.

Smartphone Covers

smartphone cover

Back in the day, soldiers and hunters used to wear leather armor so they could be protected from weapon or animal attacks. Nowadays, while leather has become less of a protective garb and more of a fashion statement, it’s still used to protect. However, instead of the lives of people, it now protects smartphones.

When people find out that your smartphone cover is made of leather, you become this total hipster kid with a cool gadget case. Unfortunately, real leather smartphone covers only come in one color: red.

Polyurethane foam smartphone covers, on the other hand, are cheaper and feature more colors: blue, green, light grey and dark grey. They’re also smooth and durable. So…who’s the cooler kid now?

Leather is an important material. But when it comes to versatility, polyurethane foam is definitely king. So, between the two, which one will you choose?