Sheepskin is more durable and comfortable than synthetic alternatives. It is a natural product that is suitable for medical and baby-care purposes. It possesses insulating and moisture-wicking abilities to yield the “cool in summer, warm in winter” characteristic. Therefore, there is considerable demand for the genuine sheepskin article. Unfortunately, many retailers pass off other materials as sheepskin. The following guide has been compiled to help you identify between sheepskin and other materials.
Looking at the backing
Genuine sheepskin has the fibres attached firmly to the skin. Wool should be more dense and when parted, sheepskin leather should be observed as the backing. With synthetics, fibres are attached to a weaker, man-made base. When moving apart the “fur”, a woven “mesh-like” fabric can be observed rather than leather.
Testing the strength of the fibres
As sheepskin wool is firmly attached to the skin, a mid-to-firm tug should not loosen the fur. With synthetics, the strength of the material is weaker.
Feeling the Sheepskin
This method is one of the most subjective, so may not be accurate unless you are experienced. Sheepskin fur feels natural, whereas synthetics may feel a bit plastic-like. When wearing synthetics (i.e. as boots), heat does not have the opportunity to escape, making you feel excessively stuffy, and light moisture (i.e. sweat) dampens the fibres rather than being wicked away.
Australia Sheepskins and Souvenirs does not sell synthetics. If you are unsure about whether a material is made with sheepskin, just come down to one of our stores to ask us! We have nearly two decade’s worth of experience in the sheepskin industry!