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What is PU leather and what is Enduro leather?

What is the difference between PU Leather and Enduro leather?

What is PU Leather?

Is PU Leather Real?

PU leather meaning: an abbreviation of Polyurethane.

It is a thermoplastic polymer that is mostly used in the furniture and shoe making industry. So is PU leather vegan? When the PU leather is 100% polyurethane then it is indeed completely artificial and therefore considered a vegan leather.

PU Leather VS Faux Leather or PU Leather VS Bonded Leather

Faux leather is just another word for PU leather, and so is bonded leather but that also has some real leather trim in the mix. It's important to be able to distinguish genuine leather from artificial leather if you want to make an informed buying decision. So here are a few other terms that PU leather means:

  • Split Leather
  • Bicast Leather (PU coated leather)
  • Reconstituted Leather
  • Corrected Grain Leather
  • Bonded Leather
Difference between Bonded Leather - Real Leather - PU Leather - Swatches -

What type of leather should I choose for my salon furniture?

We regularly get questions regarding the materials used on our various chairs. One of the most common questions we receive is “does PU leather peel?” or "Is PU leather waterproof?". To truly understand our salon furniture needs it is best to look at the advantages and disadvantages of PU leather.

The pros of PU leather:

  • PU doesn’t absorb water which makes it easier to clean regularly.
  • PU leather doesn’t dry out over time like real leather
  • PU leather can be made into a variety of colors and styles
  • PU Leather costs less than genuine leather since it is easier to manufacture
  • Possibly better for sustainability because it uses fewer resources to make
  • 100% PU leather is vegan

The cons of PU leather:

  • Can look synthetic and therefore fake
  • Isn’t breathable like genuine leather
  • Can smell of chemicals or plastic
  • Doesn’t last as long as genuine leather
  • Can puncture or tear more easily, so more fragile than leather
  • PU leather doesn’t develop the same luster or patina as real leather over time
  • Not all PU leathers are vegan because some contain leftover genuine leather
  • Uses fewer resources to make, but plastics don’t decompose and aren’t eco-friendly.

How to tell if it is PU Leather

When you are shopping online for salon furniture it is important to know what you will be getting. Make sure to ask if the product page doesn’t immediately explain the type of leather being used on the chair you’re looking at. 

The more affordable chairs usually are built with PU leather, while our top-of-the-line brands use real leather for their high-end pedicure chairs and massage tables.

Did you buy a leather chair but you suspect it’s actually fake leather?

You’ll immediately know what you have by the smell of the material. PU leather is a plastic which means that there will be a very specific chemical smell to it that real leather doesn’t have. Leather also has a very distinctive smell, but a more organic one.

For a trained eye, you may be able to tell the difference just by looking at your product. Genuine leather will come with organic imperfections and a natural grain. PU leather mimics this organic grain, but when you pay close attention you can see that the patterned texture of the leather looks artificial because it’s almost too perfect and misses the organic imperfections of the natural world.

You can also test it with water to easily determine if it’s real or artificial leather. Doing a water test is also an easy way to determine if it is real or fake leather. While animal leather will absorb the water, PU leather does not so you will immediately notice.

What is Enduro Leather?

You can find Enduro leather on some pedicure chairs from Whale Spa.
This is in fact genuine leather, but it comes with an extra layer of microporous PU on top of the real leather. This provides the furniture with an extra layer of protection guarding it from stains or scuffs and water. This also means that it will be easier to clean and doesn't have to be treated as regularly as bare organic leather. This makes it much more usable in our nail salon environment.

Enduro Leather - Color Chart -


PU Leather (or Bicast Leather, Split leather, …) stands for polyurethane leather and is usually completely artificial, which has many advantages but also some disadvantages. Real leather is more durable but also more expensive to produce. As usual it comes down to what you personally need for your salon business. If you go for the more affordable options then you’ll usually get PU leather. PU leather for salon furniture is usually of better quality, more durable and built-to-last.

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