Nubuck (pronounced /ˈnjuːbʌk/) is top-grain cattle leather that has been sanded or buffed on the grain side, or outside, to give a slight nap of short protein fibers, producing a velvet-like surface. It is resistant to wear, and may be white or coloured.

Nubuck is similar to suede, but is created from the outer side of a hide, giving it more strength and thickness and a fine grain. It is generally more expensive than suede, and must be coloured or dyed heavily to cover up the sanding and stamping process.

Nubuck characteristics are similar to aniline leather. It is soft to the touch, scratches easily, and water drops darken it temporarily (it dries to its original color).


 Unlike flat leather, you can’t use shoe polish or water on this material because of its nap. Instead, many leather manufacturers suggest one way to keep it from getting permanent stains is to use a brush on the leather regularly to remove any small dust particles. Avoid rain or taking your nubuck bag into a situation in which it might get wet.

If you do spill liquids on nubuck, it’s important to use cotton cloths to try to soak up as much of the spill as possible. You can buy special leather cleaners that are approved for the material that can help remove oily stains. Most cleaners suggest not allowing the stain to dry since it is much harder to remove a stain on nubuck after it has fully dried.