Although nubuck and suede are visually similar, their production process is different. The decisive factor is which layer of leather is referred to: the grain split or flesh split. The grain split is the top layer of the leather and has a smooth and a rough side. It is suitable for the production of napped and smooth leather. The lower layer is called the flesh split and has two rough sides. This layer is exclusively finished as napped leather.
Nubuck leather or nubuck is made from the grain split, which is sanded on the smooth side. Sanding produces the characteristic surface texture. Nubuck leather is particularly soft and breathable.
When it comes to suede, it is produced using two different manufacturing processes. It can be made from the rough back of the grain split or from the rough flesh split on both sides. Compared to nubuck, suede has a coarser and rougher surface texture. One characteristic shared by both types of napped leather is its good breathability.