- Jan 22, 2012
I've practically seen so many claims on different threads that leather is more durable than pleather. As an Industrial Designer, we also study material/component composition. It is a general rule in design to build the skeleton first to support the outer aesthetics. Unfortunately, some manufacturers doesn't follow this to cut costs.
To answer the question is leather more durable than pleather? No, pleather is more durable, if manufacturers follow the correct manufacturing of pleather that is.
To cut costs, manufacturer sometimes skips on "cloth lining" manufacturing and simply paints the "pleather" coating over the foam.
Example of these are the Sony's MDR-V6/MDR-7506 ear pads, pleather is simply pressed into the foam, which in time will flake and crumble like bread. On the otherhand, Sony's XB series has the pleather sewn onto the cloth lining which will make it durable. Manufacturing process is the problem.
Pleather manufacturing = > PVC and PU made into film (Blow film extrusion) > PVC/PU film combined with cotton and material passed between rollers to make the surface shiny (calendering) > Cooling > Finished.
Cheap pleather skips the calendering process. Properly manufactured pleather should stand 200,000 rubs or 54 years. While, leather can stand for 100,000 rubs or 27 years. Pleather cleaning only requires wet cloth. Leather requires toxic solutions. Leather is more prone to cracking and sun damage.
When other factors are considered, PLEATHER becomes the more sustainable choice! Then, why buy leather? Luxury, comfort, and cooling feel on skin (it does get sticky on hot weather)
Why not Pleather, it is hot on skin and not breatheable, otherwise it is twice more durable than leather and cost less to manufacture. In addition, pleather is a polarizing material which helps control/engineer sound. Leather is not always consistent (quality varies). Not every cow or sheep is the same.
Durability: Pleather (w/calendering process) > Leather > Pleather (w/o calendering process).
How do you care for your pleather headbands and ear pads? simply wipe them after use, bringing a soft cloth is very handy. Do not allow them to be soaked in water.