Types of Leather

Types of Leather

Every type of leather has its own unique characteristics. Some are tough and strong, while others are luxuriously soft and supple. The leather you choose for your jacket depends on how you'll wear your jacket. When you give your jacket hard wear at work, you need strong leather like goatskin, cowhide, or horsehide. If you wear your jacket around town or out to dinner, you'll like the luxurious, supple feeling of goatskin or lambskin.

Gibson & Barnes uses grade A and B leather even though it can cost twice as much as lower grades. Your jacket will be more beautiful and will last longer because high quality hides need only a light coat of pigment.

We also use large hides so we can make your jacket with fewer pieces. Many of our jackets have one-piece backs and our sleeves are cut from only two pieces of leather. We also throw away our scrap leather and don't try to hide it under the collar or under a pocket flap. Your jacket will look better, feel better, and last longer.


Cowhide is the most common leather used to make jackets because it is durable, easy to care for, and resistant to water and dirt. Its tough qualities are especially prized by motorcycle riders and police officers. Cowhide is affordable and functional.


Lambskin is very soft, luxurious leather. Fashion designers prefer its naturally light weight and velvety touch. It finishes beautifully, has a soft hand, and drapes well. With a little extra care, lambskin is very wearable and is the ultimate luxury.


Horsehide is rugged enough for military wear. That's why the Army Air Corps used it for the famous WWII A-2. Our Italian-tanned horsehide is supple and comfortable, but still tough enough for a military jacket.


Goatskin is perfect jacket leather because it is durable as well as supple, soft to the touch, and very comfortable to wear. Goatskin jackets last so long they are passed down from generation to generation. We've seen goatskin jackets that look even better after 50 years of wear than they did when new. Both the Navy and Air Force use goatskin for their G-1 and A-2 flight jackets.

Gibson & Barnes
1900 Weld Blvd, #140
El Cajon, CA 92020

About This Page: Gibson & Barnes is America’s largest manufacturer of high-quality, made-to-order, flight suits, uniforms, leather jackets, and flying helmets for aviation, emergency medicine, and law enforcement.