How Long Does Vegan Leather Last? – Lifespan Explained

Vegan leather is everywhere these days: shoes, bags, jackets, you name it. But here’s the question that comes up a lot: How long does vegan leather last?

The truth is, there’s no one-size-fits-all answer. It depends on the type of vegan leather you choose and how you treat it.

From PU and PVC, that last several years to durable cork leather, vegan leather offers a range of lifespans to suit different needs and budgets.

In this blog post, we’ll break down the different types of vegan leather, reveal what affects their longevity, and share tips to help you get the most out of your vegan leather items.

How Long Does Vegan Leather Last Infographic

Lifespan of Vegan Leather

Vegan leather has a lifespan that ranges from about 2 to 20 years.

Now, I know that’s a pretty wide range, but the longevity of vegan leather depends on two main factors: the type of material it’s made from and how well you take care of it.

Just like any other material, giving it some love and attention can extend its life.

1. Polyurethane (PU) and Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC)

These are some of the most common types of vegan leather you’ll come across. On average, PU and PVC vegan leathers have a lifespan of around 2 to 5 years.

However, they do tend to crack and peel over time, especially if they’re exposed to a lot of sunlight or if they’re not properly maintained.

I remember buying a PU leather jacket a few years back. It looked fantastic initially, but after a couple of years of regular wear, it started showing signs of wear and tear.

2. Cork Leather

This type of vegan leather can last as long as real leather, usually 10 years or more if well-maintained.

It’s a fantastic option for those looking for something that will stand the test of time while being eco-friendly.

I’ve got a cork leather wallet that I’ve been using daily for the past three years, and it’s still in great shape.

3. Other Plant-Based Leathers (Apple, Cactus, Pineapple)

These alternative plant-based leathers like apple, cactus, and pineapple leather are relatively new to the scene.

While their durability is still being evaluated, there are promising signs that these materials can hold up well over time.

For instance, cactus leather has been getting attention for its durability and sustainable production process.

Factors Affecting Lifespan

When it comes to how long your vegan leather items will last, several factors come into play

First, the quality of the materials used in making vegan leather plays a huge role. Higher-quality vegan leathers, like those made from cork or newer plant-based materials, last longer than the cheaper PU and PVC options.

The way vegan leather is manufactured also affects its longevity. Products that are well-crafted with attention to detail and high-quality adhesives and coatings outlast those that are mass-produced with less care.

Just like traditional leather, how you use vegan leather items can greatly affect their durability. Items subjected to heavy daily use, such as wallets or handbags, will naturally show wear faster than those used occasionally.

I had a pair of PU leather boots that I wore almost every day. After about a year and a half, they started showing serious signs of wear. On the other hand, a PU leather jacket that I only wear occasionally still looks pretty good after several years.

Exposure to environmental elements can also shorten the lifespan of vegan leather. Sunlight, humidity, and extreme temperatures can all cause damage.

Last but not least, how well you take care of your vegan leather items makes a huge difference. Regular cleaning, conditioning, and proper storage can extend their lifespan significantly.

I make it a habit to clean my vegan leather shoes every few weeks, and they still look great after years of use.

Source: Canary and Co YT Channel

Comparing the Lifespan of Vegan Leather with Other Leather Types

Here’s a table comparing the lifespan of vegan leather with other types of leather:

Leather Type Average Lifespan Notes
Vegan Leather (PU and PVC) 2-5 years Prone to cracking and peeling; lifespan depends on quality and care.
Cork Leather 10+ years Highly durable and sustainable; comparable to real leather.
Other Plant-Based Leathers Still under evaluation Materials like apple, cactus, and pineapple leather show promising signs but need more time for conclusive data.
Genuine Leather 10-20+ years Extremely durable; can last decades with proper care and maintenance.
Bonded Leather 2-5 years Made from leather scraps bonded together; less durable than genuine leather.
Full-Grain Leather 20+ years The highest quality leather; is very durable and ages beautifully.
Top-Grain Leather 10-15 years High quality but slightly less durable than full-grain leather.
Suede Leather 5-10 years Softer and more delicate; requires more maintenance to keep in good condition.
Nubuck Leather 10-15 years Similar to suede but more durable; requires careful maintenance to avoid staining and damage.

Tips for Maximizing Vegan Leather Longevity

When it comes to maximizing the longevity of your beloved vegan leather pieces, there are a few tips and tricks that can help keep them looking fabulous for years to come.

1. Quality Matters

High-quality vegan leather products from reputable brands last longer.

Check for good stitching, quality hardware, and a well-constructed design to ensure durability.

2. Proper Care and Maintenance

Regular cleaning is key to keeping your vegan leather in top shape. Use a soft cloth and mild soap to gently wipe away dirt and dust.

3. Storage Solutions

Storing your vegan leather pieces properly can also help extend their lifespan.

A friend who works in fashion always stuffs her bags with tissue paper and stores them in dust bags. I’ve started doing the same, and it helps keep them in good condition

4. Handle with Care

Be mindful of how you handle your vegan leather items. Avoid overloading bags, which can cause strain on the seams and material.

5. Regular Inspections

Periodically inspect your vegan leather pieces for any signs of wear and tear. Check seams, edges, and handles for any loose threads or damage, and address any issues promptly.

6. Rotate Your Pieces

If you have multiple vegan leather items in your wardrobe, consider rotating them regularly. By giving your bags, shoes, or jackets a break between uses, you can help prevent excessive wear and tear on any one piece.

Source: MERSi YT Channel


So, there you have it, vegan leather, like any material, has its own story to tell when it comes to longevity.

The lifespan of your vegan leather depends on various factors – what it’s made of, how you care for it, and where you take it.

Treat it with a little care, and it’ll reward you with years of use.

From occasional cleaning to regular maintenance routines, these small efforts can go a long way in keeping your vegan leather looking sharp.

Resources Consulted

James Chiles

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