Goatskin and lambskin are two types of natural leather. They are both made from the skin of animals and have largely similar flexibility. However, there are some important differences between them.
Goatskin is generally stronger, heavier and more rugged than lambskin. On the other hand, lambskin is softer to the touch, making it a good choice for lux leather.
Thus, when choosing between the two, it’s important to consider the intended use. For example, if you need a strong, durable leather for furniture upholstery, goat skin would be a better choice than lambskin. If you are looking for a soft, luxury leather for a coat or jacket, lambskin would make a better pick.
What Is Goatskin?
Goatskin refers to the skin of a goat. It follows that goatskin leather is a type of leather made from the hide of a goat. Goatskin was first sourced from Morocco, hence its other name “Moroccan leather”.
As one of the most popular forms of leather, goatskin is used to make lots of different products in a variety of industries, including fashion. It can be used as it is, or it can be tanned to create a more durable material.
Characteristics of Goatskin
Just from its appearance you can tell that goat skin has a tight grainy texture that resembles ridges. Its rugged qualities intensify its strength while also making it flexible. As such, goatskin is well-known for its natural toughness. Besides, it’s a popular choice for leather because it is soft, water resistant, supple and impressively lightweight.
Goatskin is usually processed by adding vegetable tanning to bring out its natural qualities. The tanning is typically sourced from tree barks and other plants, and its purpose is to preserve the hide.
The entire process is quite lengthy and may require the skin to soak for weeks or even months to fully absorb the tannin. Once complete, the goatskin comes out as a very sturdy and durable material, making it ideal for a number of applications – including in fashion, furniture making and even book covering.
In the fashion industry, goatskin is not only used to make shoes, wallets and other accessories, but it’s also a popular choice for leather jackets. These jackets are pretty fashionable and durable, especially when lined with a soft material to keep the goatskin from drying out and cracking.
Goatskin leather jackets are also easy to clean. Simply wipe the jacket with a soft damp cloth and let it dry naturally. Use a leather balm to condition the jacket and remove impurities. You can also use wax to polish, protect and nourish your leather jacket.
Advantages of goatskin
It is breathable: goatskin clothing and other products are natural and breathable. Goatskin leather can keep you warm in cold weather due to its great insulation qualities. And when summertime comes, you can expect your goatskin leather to keep you cool by allowing heat and sweat to evaporate.
Goatskin is absorbent: leather made from goatskin can absorb humidity. By absorbing moisture in and around your body, this material helps to keep you comfortable.
Contains natural oils: as a natural leather material, goatskin is packed with natural oils that may help protect you from the sun. The oils also make it water resistant, so it’s great for rainy weather. And if you do get caught in the rain, it will dry quickly.
It is durable: goatskin is one of the strongest and most rugged natural sources of leather. As such, it can las you a very long time. Oftentimes things made with goatskin only get better with age.
Affordable: goatskin is not as costly as other types of natural leather. Therefore, if you’re looking for a quality leather product that won’t break the bank, goatskin is a great option.
Disadvantages of goatskin
- Requires maintenance: while there’s no question that goatskin can be durable, you have to handle it with care to get the most out of it. Otherwise, it may easily tear or puncture.
- Costly: granted, it’s not as expensive as other forms of natural leather, but goatskin is still an expensive material. That’s mostly because the goats have to be reared and their skin further processed to make leather.
What is lambskin?
Lambskin is the skin of a lamb, often processed into leather. The term "lambskin" is most often used for the softest, most pliable, and expensive leather. It is very popular for making clothes, gloves, clothing accessories, musical instruments, and bookbinding.
Historically, the use of lambskin dates back to 3,000 BC and can be found in the Epic of Gilgamesh. Many more civilizations used it for warmth, comfort and ceremonial purposes. For example, in Judaism, a lamb's skin was (and is still) used to cover the Torah during prayer.
Characteristics of lambskin
Lambskin has a soft, lightweight and smooth yet grained feel. It is very thin in its natural state and highly elastic in a rubbery kind of way. This is why it often feels softer when wet.
The features of lambskin make it a good type of material for making premium leather products. Its overall glossiness and shininess make it seem delicate but well structured. This is why most lambskin leather products are priced highly.
The processing of lambskin involves stretching, tanning and softening the material to make it more practical for everyday use. It takes about 28 days to complete the entire process and get lambskin leather.
You may also want to know that there are two types of lambskins – natural and finished. The natural ones are usually used to produce medical products like bandages and dressings because of its hypoallergenic properties. The finished ones, on the other hand, are used for garments and high fashion accessories.
Of course, one of the main fashion products that feature lambskin are leather jackets. Compared to goatskin or cowhide jackets, lambskin jackets are softer and generally more comfortable. This is largely because the material is more malleable.
It’s also easy to easy to clean. Just like goatskin leather, you can clean lambskin leather by wiping off dirt using a damp piece of cotton. Use a nourishing conditioner to massage all areas. Finally, consider waterproofing (especially if it’s a leather jacket) by applying coats of silicon-free water protectors externally.
Advantages of lambskin
Comfortable to the skin: lambskin is softer and more supple than other types of leather, making it more comfortable to wear. While it can be used to make leather jackets, it is suitable for garments that will be in direct contact with the skin, such as gloves and lingerie.
Lightweight: lambskin is pretty light, which makes it ideal for garments that need to be comfortable, such as jackets. Lambskin jackets are great for layering during the colder months.
Lasts long: while not as durable as goatskin or cowhide, lambskin leather is still strong enough to resist tearing and abrasion. It is certainly more durable than delicate fabric.
Good high-end material: lambskin has a natural luster and sheen that gives it a luxurious look and feel. This makes it a popular choice for high-end fashion garments and accessories.
Disadvantages of lambskin
- Requires lots of maintenance: lambskin is more susceptible to scratches and scuffs than other types of leather. You have to take great care of lambskin products to keep them looking their best.
- Costly: compared to other leather options, lambskin quite expensive due to its luxury appearance and feel. This puts many lambskin-made products out of the reach of the ordinary consumer.
Ultimately, the difference between goatskin and lambskin boils down to their ruggedness. While goatskin is stronger and heavier, lambskin is generally softer and more supple. As such, goatskin tends to be a popular choice for products like high quality leather jackets that will see a lot of use while lambskin is often the go-to material for luxury leather.
That said, it’s not necessarily a question of one or the other. You can always use goatskin and lambskin leather together. For example, you may decide to go with goatskin leather shoes due to their ruggedness and a lambskin leather jacket because it’s comfortable to the skin.