Suede vs Canvas: 9 Differences Between Suede and Canvas

When it comes to sewing projects there is always the perfect fabric to work with. No matter where you live you can always find the perfect fabric for what you are creating. That right fabric may not always be the one you think.

The biggest difference you will find between suede and canvas is that suede comes from the hide of animals while canvas is usually made from cotton fibers. Then canvas is much easier to clean and maintain than suede is.

To learn more about the differences between these two tough fabrics, just continue to read our article. It has those differences and more. take a few moments to see what those differences are and where you can use these top fabrics in your upcoming sewing projects.

Is Suede Canvas?


In a word, no. Suede is a different fabric altogether and goes through a different process before it is ready to be placed on your shoes, bags, or even jackets. Not only doe sit come from a different source, but suede material is also protein-based while canvas is cellulose-based.

Also, suede is not usually for casual wear like canvas is. The difficulty in cleaning suede makes it a fabric to avoid when you want to make casual clothing for yourself and your family.

Canvas is also lighter than suede materials making it a better fabric when speed and weight are important issues in your sewing projects. Also, suede is more fragile than canvas will ever be. It takes special care to keep the suede material in top shape and it cannot be used in the same activities as canvas can be used.

Both fabrics have their place but neither fabric is the same as the other. You may find more uses for canvas than you will suede materials.

The Differences Between Suede and Canvas

This quick comparison chart will only provide the basic differences. Once you hold the two materials side by side other differences will be very obvious.

Category Suede Canvas
Years of use centuries centuries
Flexible not as much as canvas very much so
Weight heavier than canvas very light
Cleaning very hard to clean very easy to keep clean
Applications casual to formal casual only
Durability can be very durable not that durable
Source animal hides after special processing the cotton plant
Texture can feel very soft and smooth can feel rough and not smooth
Price can be very expensive usually very affordable

What is the Difference Between Suede and Canvas Vans?


The only real difference between these types of shoes is that one is made from suede and the other from canvas. Other than that, they are basically the same shoe. We are not being glib here, it is the information that came up in our research.

You will find little difference between these two types of shoes and some suede models were not completely made from that material. they were usually covered in suede in the toe, vamp, and heel.

The other difference will be where you were then and in what weather you will wear them in. Suede is not good with water or rain. That means to keep them in top shape and avoid a lot of hard cleaning tasks, you can’t wear the suede versions in the same activities or weather that you can wear the canvas options.

Of course, you can wear either shoe wherever you want to but it is not always prudent to do so. Canvas may be lighter than suede so they can be worn for those activities that require more speed.

Suede vs Canvas

If cost is your biggest issue then you will want to go with the canvas shoes, bags, and other clothing items. It is much cheaper than suede. Then canvas is a lighter material that is not as durable as suede can be. Even though suede is hard to clean and does not like water, it will last longer than canvas shoes will.

That is why skateboarders prefer suede over canvas shoes. But with that said, suede can’t be worn everywhere. It has its limitations and canvas's main limitation is that it is a casual material and not fit for semi-formal or formal affairs.

Canvas is easier to maintain and you do not need special cleansers to get the dirt out or bring the color back like suede needs. Also, canvas materials can be thrown into the washer while suede can’t. That makes cleaning canvas items a lot better than trying to clean suede.

These materials do come in different colors so that category would be a tie and suede will win out in the durability comparison. Since it is made from leather and canvas from cotton, the suede material will last a lot longer.

Is Suede or Canvas Better for Skateboarding?


The general consensus is that suede is better than canvas when it comes to skateboarding. Skateboarders are not so much interested in keeping the shoes clean as they are hoping their shoes will last.

That is what suede does better than canvas-- it lasts longer. Canvas has a tendency to rip at the wrong times and quite easily. That is not a good characteristic to have when you have a heavy skateboarding competition to participate in.

While canvas is lighter than suede, that is a property that works against that material making it more vulnerable to the scraping, sliding, and banging of the hard surfaces skateboarders skate on.

Then the word is that most canvas shoes are so weak that they do not last even two skateboarding sessions. But they are a good shoe if you are only going to go cruising and not do a lot of tricks or hard maneuvers.

Suede vs Canvas Skate Shoes

Both fabrics have their place in the skating world. There are some good shoes made from both materials but suede just has the upper edge. The reason for that edge is that suede comes from a tougher, more durable source than canvas does.

Being made from cotton fibers means that canvas has all the negative aspects that are found in those fibers. Those negatives seem to overwhelm the material when made into shoes. While some canvas materials are very thick and tough to tear, those properties do not appear when it is made into shoes.

Shoe canvas has to be lighter than other canvas materials due to the purpose of the shoes. The other canvas materials have more difficult tasks to perform thus they are a lot tougher than shoe canvas.

This is the reason skateboarders prefer suede shoes over canvas ones. The suede option will last longer and hold up under more difficult maneuvers than canvas will. They won’t tear as fast and will provide the support a skateboarder needs when they need it.

Are Vans Canvas Or Suede?


The shoes made and sold by Vans come in both canvas and suede materials. Sometimes they are combined and you get the best of both fabrics in your shoes. Which one you buy will be up to your preference and needs.

Many of their canvas shoes are made for children as kids put a lot of wear and tear on their shoes, getting them dirty, and so on. It is cheaper to replace canvas shoes than suede ones and a lot easier to clean them.

You can buy Van’s shoes that are a combination of canvas and suede and you get good looks as well as a little extra durability in the vital areas of the shoe. Canvas shoes will be a lot cheaper than the canvas suede hybrid or the 100% suede options.

But the good thing about this situation is that you get some great shoes to select from. The shoes, no matter what they are made from, do come in some nice colors and designs. You won’t lose any fashion points by wearing any model of shoes that van’s makes.

What Lasts Longer Suede or Leather?

Good leather shoes are known to last for decades. They are that durable, especially when they are well looked after. Suede will come close to lasting as long but it is the weaker of the two materials.

Because suede is more fragile than leather is, do not expect them to last or stay in as good a shape as leather will. Leather is tough, strong yet will turn into some very comfortable shoes the longer you own them and wear them.

The one problem that confuses different people is that leather shoes need a longer break-in period before they become that comfortable. The material is stiffer than suede and some people think they bought the wrong size. Just a little patience is needed and soon your leather shoes will be very comfortable to wear.

Canvas, on the other hand, does not need a break-in period and should fit your fit the same way whether you just bought them or had them for years.

Does Suede Protector Work on Canvas?


The best way to answer this question is to say that some do and some don’t. The products we looked at all seem to work on both fabrics equally. This means that no matter which type of shoe you own you can protect them against the weather and water.

But, you should read the label first to make sure. You do not want to pick up the wrong spray and waste your money. Some sprays even work on delicate shoe fabrics so you can protect your investment with the same spray.

Then some of the sprays will only work on suede and leather materials. That is why it is important to check the label first and not assume that the spray will cover all materials. Different fabrics need different compounds to make sure they are protected.

There are some good reviews on the internet that will guide you to the right spray for both your canvas and suede shoes. Take a few moments and look those reviews up so you can find one of the best for your wardrobe.

Suede vs Canvas Cushion

For looks and feel you can’t beat suede. It is a great natural product that is soft to the touch and can be very smooth next to your skin. But with that said, suede may not be able to handle the treatment if those cushions are placed in a high use chair or sofa.

That is one reason suede is not used in car upholstery. While canvas may be able to handle that type of high use it is more of a casual fabric than a formal one. This material won’t work that well for those nice sofas and chairs you have in your living room.

Since these materials are not as durable as they should be, many cushion and car manufacturers opt for fake suede. They can make the fabric as strong as they want, look good and hold up under high use situations.

The imitation suede won’t detract from the look of your rooms but they just won’t be as luxurious as real suede would be in the same situation. Unfortunately, imitation suede may feel more artificial than you would like.

Some Final Words

When it comes to comparing fabrics, it is hard to say which is better as all fabrics have their pros, cons, and purposes. How good they perform depends on the application of those fabrics.

In this case, suede is the better shoe for skateboarders and formal events. Canvas will handle those causal affairs where looking stylish is not important. Canvas will also be the better fabric when it comes time to clean them up.

Suede is notorious for being hard to clean and the process can be time-consuming.

Leave a Comment:

1 comment
Add Your Reply