In terms of the production process, "semi-finished leather" is a category that describes the stage of leather processing. It's not about the quality or the part of the hide, but rather about how far the leather has been processed
Semi-Finished Leather refers to leather that has undergone some of the necessary processes to stabilize and preserve it but hasn't been fully finished or colored.
Stages: After the initial tanning process, the leather might be re-tanned, dyed, and possibly partially finished. However, the final finishing touches, which give the leather its final appearance, feel, and protective coatings, have not yet been applied.
Here are some types of semi-finished leather:
Crust leather is the most common type of semi-finished leather and this is leather that has been tanned but not dyed or finished. It's essentially a blank canvas, ready for dyeing and finishing
This type of leather has been coloured using transparent aniline dyes, allowing the leather's natural grain to shine through. Since no coating or sealing has been applied, it is regarded as semi-finished.
In the Sneakers Making Course, for example, we used this leather type and applied patina as a last touch to boost the look of the sneakers. and if you want to learn more about patina on sneakers youae wellcome to read this article:"Sneakers Making The Ultimate Guide"
This is leather that has undergone an initial tanning process and then a secondary tanning process, often with different tanning agents. It's not yet finished but has been prepared for finishing.
This is leather that has been dyed but not finished. The leather is fully dyed since the process is carried out in a rotating drum.
This is leather that has been lightened in color through a bleaching process. It's prepared for further finishing or dyeing.
"Bleached leather" specifically implies that the leather has undergone a bleaching process to remove its natural color or previous dyes. This process can make the leather more receptive to being dyed in different colors.
This is leather that has been tanned and prepared up to the point of dyeing. It's called "white" not because of its color, but because it's ready to be dyed in any color.
"White leather," on the other hand, might simply refer to leather that has been dyed or treated to have a white appearance. It doesn't necessarily specify the method used to achieve that color.
In practical terms, if you're purchasing leather, it's essential to clarify with the seller whether the leather has been bleached or dyed white, as the processes can affect the leather's properties and how it might be used or treated in the future.
Online stores to buy semi-finished leather types
It's worth noting that the distinction between finished and semi-finished leather can sometimes be a bit blurry, as different manufacturers and regions might have slightly different definitions or standards. However, the general idea is that semi-finished leather is leather that's partway through the process of becoming a finished product.If you want to learn more about other materials, leather types, and shoemaking techniques, you need to read the article: "How to make shoes".
In contrast, "finished leather" has been fully processed, dyed, and treated to achieve its final appearance and protective qualities. It's ready for use in products without further modification (other than being cut and shaped).
Here are some online stores where you can purchase various leather types mentioned above: