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A nubuck shoe

Nubuck (pronounced /ˈnjbʌk/) is top-grain cattle leather that has been sanded or buffed on the grain side, or outside, to give a slight nap of short protein fibers, producing a velvet-like surface. It is resistant to wear, and may be white or coloured.[1]

Nubuck is similar to suede. It differs in that suede is created from the inner side of a hide, whereas nubuck is created from the outer side of a hide, giving it more strength and thickness along with a fine grain.[2] It is generally more expensive than suede, and must be coloured or dyed heavily to cover up the sanding and stamping process.

Some of the identifying characteristics of nubuck are similar to aniline leather; it is very soft to the touch, it will scratch very easily, and water drops will darken the leather temporarily (it will return to its original color upon drying).[3]

The word nubuck probably comes from new + buck(skin).[4]


  1. ^ "FAQ". 2011-04-08. Retrieved 2013-01-23. 
  2. ^ "Glossary of leather types and finishes. Military, Vinatage and Classic Watch Straps". Retrieved 2013-01-23. 
  3. ^ Caring For Leather Upholstery - Wayne Jordan
  4. ^ Merriam-Webster, nubuck, Oxford English Dictionary


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