Nubuck leather and suede leather are different from one another in that leather workers create nubuck from the full grain side of the hide, which is the outer part, while they produce suede from the splits, or the lower part of the skin. Nubuck has a velvet-like surface because leather workers texturize the grain side through sanding or buffing. Nubuck is more resistant to wear than suede leather due to the nap of protein fibers this process creates.
Nubuck leather is stronger and thicker than suede and has a finer grain. Nubuck leather tends to be more expensive than suede, and it is also more durable and robust. For instance, it resists water damage, as water merely temporarily darkens its surface and then dries to leave no lasting damage. Even though its visual appearance is more akin to suede, nubuck leathers shares more similarities with aniline leather.
Leather workers must often apply dye or color in order to mask the stamping and sanding techniques with which they treat nubuck leather, though sometimes the finished leather is white. Nubuck leather scratches easily and has a soft texture. This is a vulnerable leather, as it cannot take any type of protective coating. Common applications of nubuck leather include clothing, footwear and furnishings.