Choosing watch straps is like choosing what pair of shoes you want to wear every day. Not only is it a fashion statement, but it should also be comfortable. A watch strap made of soft leather would be an obvious choice; however, the various leather types and designs can make for a difficult decision.

Watch straps made of leather are the most popular as it is smooth, elegant, and durable. Straps from deerskin, calfskin, and lambskin are typical soft leather choices. However, suede, made from the split-grain hide layer, has the same smooth texture but is gentler than any other leather type.

Choosing comfort over style is always recommended; therefore, a wristwatch with a soft leather strap around your wrist is better than a stylish irritating strap. Leather watch straps are a common choice, but what different types do you get, and what makes them so soft? Let us look at some answers.

The Preferred Soft Leather For Watch Straps

Leather, made of all types of animal hide, is soft, smooth, durable, and stylish. The more delicate leather from lambskin, calfskin, and hides from domesticated deers are popular choices for leather products. In addition, the softness and comfort it provides make it an obvious choice for watch straps.

The three primary layers of the animal hide are the top, middle, and bottom, each providing unique qualities and purposes. However, there are compromises between each of the layers and types. For example, the more processes the animal hide gets subjected to, the more strength it loses but gains in appearance and softness.

Suede is leather taken from the underside of animal hide and falls in the split-grain leather category. In addition, suede has a different look and feel, compared to, for example, full-grain leather, which is from the top layer of the animal hide. Typically, leather has a smooth texture, while suede is as smooth but much softer.

Choosing the softest leather by animal type would go to lambskin. Of all the animal hide types, lambskin produces the softest full-grain leather because it is thin and lightweight. In addition, it becomes even softer over time but is, unfortunately, more fragile than the other leather types.

Understanding The Differences In Leather Grains And Types

Cutting leather into different thinner layers determines the grade of the leather. The grain of the leather is the hide’s outer surface consisting of tight, thick fibers and is firm and smooth. The grain is essential when determining the softness and durability of leather. Some examples of grains and types are below.

  • Full Grain Leather is the outer part of the skin; usually, removing only the hair without sanding or polishing the skin to remove flaws. This process leaves the fibers firmly packed, resulting in a highly robust, durable surface that can resist harsh use.
  • Top Grain Leather is like full-grain but includes sanding and polishing to remove most flaws, marks, and inconsistencies. Therefore, the final product is softer and more flexible, but the sanding will cause a loss of its strength.
  • Nubuck is top-grain leather but has a small portion of protein fibers left during sanding and polishing. This nap of fibers gives the leather a velvet appeal to the touch. Nubuck is ideal for jackets and gloves, for example.
  • Split grain leather is the lower layer of the hide, just above the flesh, and is thinner, softer, and more flexible. This texture allows many benefits as it has an aesthetical appeal which is an excellent choice for leather items.
  • Suede Leather is like nubuck but from the split-grain layer of the hide. While scraping the surface, a small portion of protein fibers is left behind. The result is a soft and flexible material ideal for shoes and accessories like watch straps.

Are Suede Or Nubuck Leather Watch Straps Any Good?

Suede and nubuck are both soft and smooth leather types. However, each is from a grain layer with slight changes in texture and characteristics. Belt leather is another name commonly used for suede and nubuck leather types and, therefore, perfect for watch straps and other accessories.

Is A Leather Watch Strap More Comfortable Than Other Straps?

Because leather’s naturally soft and light feel, flexibility, and long-lasting effect make it the most comfortable material for watch straps. Consider the possible amount of movement the watch will have on your wrist. Some people prefer a loose fit while others a more tight fit watch.

In addition, soft leather is always a better option than metal, silicon, or other materials that are more prone to cutting into your wrist. Leather is not only smooth, soft, and comfortable but also durable and fashionable.

Why Choose Leather As A Watch Strap?

Leather watch straps are a familiar favorite for many because of their softness, flexibility, and comfort. The leather watch strap is available in various colors and styles and can make a fashion statement and just as easily create a rugged and tough look.

The quality and distinctiveness determine the cost of each type of strap. Commonly made from strip-grain calf hide, leather watch strap styles can also include alligator and other exotic animal hides. So, leather resembles softness and durability, with fashion and class an added welcomed feature.

The Best Leather Watch Straps For Sensitive Skin

Several leather watch straps consist of leather used for the upper and undersides made from unique materials that minimize skin reactions, such as Lorica, Caoutchouc, and many more. People with sensitive skin still in favor of leather watch straps do not need to worry, as organic leather gets produced for this reason.

Leather comes in different sizes, textures, and colors. It is even more exciting to know those unique materials are just an extra step to be taken so that all customers can experience the feeling of soft leather on their skin.

How To Soften A Leather Watch Strap

When buying a watch with a comfortable soft leather strap, there is always some stiffness because it is a new accessory to wear or break-in. Wearing your leather watch strap as much as possible and exposing it to rain and humidity will help soften it.

There are more ways even to soften old leather to get back that original soft feeling you once had. For example, a great shot of alcohol or vaseline can be applied to a cotton pad and rubbed onto the watch strap. Even using a leather conditioner can do the job.

Mink or coconut oil are also options to help soften the leather strap. Click on the following link to watch a video that can give some assistance if you wish to know more about How-to-Soften your leather watch strap.

Interesting Facts About Leather

Now in the more modern times, skins from almost all different animals are used to produce leather for various products. Interestingly, cows contribute around 65% of leather production, followed by sheep by about 15% and pigs by 11%. Other animals primarily consist of exotic animals, which contribute to 9%.


Leather watch straps are a comfortable option for your timekeeping accessories that can also be durable and fashionable. The softest leather straps are suede, typically strip-grain leather, from different animal hides. Finally, the animal hide from lamb, deer, and calves produces the softest leather, ideal for watch straps.


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