Suede vs Alcantara: Differences Between Suede and Alcantara

All that glistens is not gold. All suede fabrics are not suede or even made from leather products. Since the industrial revolution fabric manufacturers have been looking for ways to provide leather-like materials at an affordable cost. The cost of natural fabrics can stop people from buying those products.

The biggest difference between suede and alcantara is their source. Suede is made from leather or the hide of different animals. Alcantara is made in a science lab using a variety of chemicals and other products to make it look and feel like suede.

To learn more about both fabrics just continue to read our article. It has the information you need to know the difference between the two fabrics. Once you know those differences then you can make an informed choice.

Are Suede and Alcantara the Same?


No, they are not the same. One is the real deal while the other is a mere copy or imitation. You may think they are the same as fabric manufacturers are now able to get the imitation looking and feeling almost like the real thing.

But the two fabrics do not come from the same sources nor do they have the same ingredients in them. Suede, as you know, comes from the reverse side of the hide that leather comes from. It is extremely soft and can be seen as durable yet fragile.

Alcantara is just another suede imitator in a long line of imitators that have been made by different fabric manufacturers to cut costs, preserve animals, and so on. It is not made from any natural ingredients. Instead, it is made from polyester and polyurethane, which may make it more durable than suede could ever hope to be.

What is the Difference Between Suede and Alcantara?

To let you know the differences between the two fabrics here is a quick comparison chart. If you do not have a lot of time, use this chart to get many of those differences then come back and read the rest of the article when you do.

Category Suede Alcantara
origin a variety of animals found throughout the world polyester & polyuerthane
years of use since the beginning of time maybe the 1970s at best or even the 2000s
durable not that strong very durable
stain resistant no, it can stain easily very stain resistant
Applications found in cars interiors, clothing, shoes and a host of other applications usually found in cars as a replacement for suede or leather
feel & texture soft, natural and has a great appearance can be soft but artificial in texture and feel
manufacture made all around the world by many different companies is a trademarked brand name like other modern synthetic fibers and made exclusively in Italy by a Japanese company
Price can be both inexpensive and costly mostly costly as the price per yard ranges from $40 to $99 and up

Suede vs Alcantara


There really is no comparison. Alcantara is a synthetic fiber that is made from petroleum products, harsh chemicals and made to mimic suede. It may be more durable and flexible than suede can be but it is also more expensive by the yard than you would expect a synthetic material to be.

This material is perfect for those who do not want to have animal products in their vehicles. You will find this fabric more in luxury cars than any other model you can buy.

Suede, on the other hand, is soft, natural, and comes with a variety of applications as you can make handbags, coats, shoes, socks, and more out of this material as well as have it in your luxury or not so luxury car.

Unfortunately, suede does not last as long as Alcantara but it is still the better material of the two.

Faux Suede vs Alcantara

According to one source, faux suede is exactly the same as Alcantara. If you want us to be more specific, Alcantara is exactly like Ultrasuede. Ultrasuede is faux suede under another name.

The only real difference between the two is that Ultrasuede is made just about anywhere and Alcantara is made only in Italy. The inventor of Ultrasuede simply changed the name of the fabric to something more sophisticated and moved its production to a country known for high-quality materials and then charged a higher price.

In other words, if you buy Alcantara you are getting Ultrasuede at a more expensive cost. Believe it or not the inventor of Ultrasuede got an award for helping to build the luster of the made in Italy label just by changing those two insignificant details.

Uni Suede vs Alcantara


You could say that uni suede is a lot like ultra-suede in that it is also a synthetic material that competes with Alcantara fabric for use in different applications. Those applications are restricted to interiors of boats, cars, commercial and residential seating, and similar destinations.

Basically, no matter which name you buy the material under, you are getting the same fabric. These synthetic materials all come from petroleum products and harsh chemicals. The difference between them may be in the way they are woven, spun, or knitted.

Another difference would be at their cost. Uni suede is a little cheaper running for about $30 to $35 a yard. Both fabrics meet flammable requirements and both are made from microfibers.

When you talk to the salesman, you might be better at negotiating a price for the car if you replace the name of the fabric the salesman talks about from Alcantara to ultra or uni suede. it is all the same material.

What's Better Suede or Alcantara?

This will depend on your preferences. if you want a durable product that resists staining then Alcantara is your material. But if you want a natural look and feel to your car, then go with suede.

Also, suede has more applications than Alcantara so that category makes it the better fabric to work with. It is a toss-up when it comes to costs as suede, depending on the quality, can range between $30 to $40 per yard. Higher qualities may even reach that $99 figure we quoted earlier for Alcantara.

For us, we are biased and prefer natural fabrics over synthetic ones. Despite their flaws, the natural fabrics are more luxurious, better to touch, and safer to hold in your hands or have next to your body.

Synthetic materials do have their place and come in handy but when those synthetic materials cost as much as the real thing, go with the real thing.

Suede vs Alcantara Steering Wheel


The positives that come with Alcantara may make it the better choice as the material does not get as hot as suede will when your car is left in the sun. Plus, it can give you a better grip than suede will so your control of the car is more secure.

Then the material is durable, easy to clean, and feels soft to the touch. However, the material will break down eventually and become shiny. The cost for Alcantara fabric may be the biggest negative that will have you deciding on suede.

A suede steering wheel is comfortable to hold but its negatives may stop you from buying that type of material for your car. You already know the negatives of suede especially if you are someone who does not like animal products near them.

Natural is always better than synthetic, especially where your health is concerned.

Alcantara Suede by the Yard

The cost of this fabric will depend on who is selling it. If the shop owner belongs to the sophisticated and luxury element of the fabric world then expect to pay more than the $99 per yard we quoted earlier.

We tried to find the fabric on Amazon and the closest we got was microsuede which was selling for about $47 a yard. eBay was selling some for &75 per yard so you have a good idea that this material is not going to be cheap.

What you will pay at Joann’s, Michael’s, or Hobby Lobby, or other big box stores will depend on the demand for the fabric and if they stock it at all. You may get it cheaper at those outlets.

For our Australian readers, you are looking at paying anywhere from $77 to $200 AU dollars per yard. Even though it is synthetic, the fabric is not cheap.

Some Final Words

It may be better than suede in many categories but Alcantara is still a synthetic material. Your purchase will depend on you and what sewing project you want to use it on.

Keep in mind that despite its high cost it is the same material as Ultra suede or Uni Suede, Microsuede, and so on. Don’t let the trademark brand name fool you. You are just paying more due to the name and production location.

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