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At Kelly Moore Bag, we use the top, thickest part of the leather called Full Grain which means we use and celebrate all the character of our leather. Each piece carries the unique complexities of natural hide markings and marblings, so no two bags are ever alike.

To minimize excessive waste, give you the most durable materials and to celebrate the uniqueness of every piece of leather we use, we’ve intentionally decided to leave our leather in the most natural form possible.  Although we try to be strategic about where these unique markings are placed on each product, it is common that your bag will have unique characteristics. 

Each color and type of leather we use changes how these unique characteristics will appear.  For darker leathers, marbling and variance in color is common.  Natural markings are less visible on our darker leathers, but can be noticed by rubbing your hand on the surface which feels more uneven to the touch. 

For more natural, lighter leathers, marbling and variance in color is almost expected, especially for our vegetable tanned leathers.  These natural markings are more visible on our lighter colored leathers and can include spots, wrinkling, light scratches and variance in grain texture. 

Leather 101

Quality is our top priority at Kelly Moore Bag and the best quality leather is Full Grain.  It seems rigid at first because it is the strongest, thickest leather available in the market, hands down.  With high quality materials, it takes a little longer to break it in and make it soft, but we trust that you’re not afraid of a little hard work.  Besides, would you rather have a bag that’s broken in and weakened or something you can invest in and rely in for years? 

Here is some additional information on leather we think you should know:

When we’re looking at a hide, leather is made up of fibers in layers starting from the strongest (closest to the hair) to the weakest.   The durability of leather really depends on what layer you are using. Here are the types of leather starting with the strongest to the weakest.

Full Grain Leather

The top layer of leather.  No part of the hide has been removed to get rid of scars and so it’s the strongest with all the grains of the hide, hence the name.  It’s about 10% heavier than most leathers because it is dense, which also makes it strong since nothing has been shaved and therefore weakened. This is the kind used here at Kelly Moore Bag.

Top Grain Leather

The next layer of leather after the full grain is removed, this is the part left after the top of the hide is sanded or shaved so scars and imperfections are gone.  It is also a strong leather but a lot of the durability or toughest grain is gone making it more prone to tears and rips over time.  Compared to full grain, top grain is much weaker and less water resistant.  This type of grain also doesn’t age or patina as beautifully over time since most of the character is gone. 

Genuine Leather

The weakest layer of the hide.  It sounds nice, but don’t let the name fool you. This is about 50% as strong as full grain leather and weighs much less because it doesn’t have the density.  This can be more heavily treated, painted and pressed to look perfect but it often falls apart after a lot of bending and heavy use. Most of the really cheap backpacks and bags you see in the market are made with this stuff.  If you’re looking for a bag to last you a year or two with a cheap price tag then this is your leather. 

The other aspect that can change how leather feels is the tanning process.  Tanning is basically what gives the leather it’s color, feel and strength. At Kelly Moore Bag we use Full Grain Leather that is both Vegetable tanned as well as Chrome (mineral) tanned. 

Vegetable Tanned Full Grain Leather

The vegetable tanning process is essentially all natural and uses organic material such as water, bark and leaves of trees and plants. This process takes weeks if not months yet produces the strongest form of leather in the market.  Because the process is organic, the leather has a personality with shades and markings that make it unique.  The variance of color, tone and natural markings are not a defect, it’s what makes each of our bags unique and beautiful and shows that this natural tanning process was used.  

The tannery where our Vegetable tanned leather is sourced also uses a water treatment plant to save waste water which can be one of the disadvantages of vegetable tanned leather.  The leather is made in the most eco friendly process possible and the tannery is certified with the Gold Rated certificate by Leather Working Group, an International company dedicated to improving leather environmental stewardship. (

Our products made from this leather:

Weekender, Scout, Pilot 2.0, Collins 3.0, Anna Tote, Kate 2.0, Leather Lens Case, Passport Wallet, Slim Wallet, Pouch Set, Tablet Organizer, Jude 2.0, Kelly Boy 2.0, Compass Backpack, Bum Bag, Daniela Tote, Mary Arthur & The Kelly Backpack

Chrome or Mineral Tanned Full Grain Leather

Chrome or mineral tanning often gets a bad impression, however this process is also natural and uses minerals, specifically salt (Cr on the periodic table) instead of plant matter to transform hides to leather. The leather is tumbled two different times each for about 8 to 20 hours initially with minerals and then with the same natural materials like vegetable tanned leather along with oils and pigments.  Then once it’s dried, waxes or colors are applied.  Chrome tanned leather is more supple than vegetable tanned leather yet it is still resilient and durable.

The tannery where our Mineral leather is sourced is a reputable tannery known for their quality in the marketplace since 1954. They are also certified as an EcoTannery by CICUR which helps maintain environmental and quality and state ecological regulations throughout the tanning process.

Our products made from this leather:

Tourist Backpack, Laptop Organizer, Clutch Carry-all, Daniela Tote, Mary Arthur & The Kelly Backpack