Suede vs Velvet: 9 Differences Between Suede and Velvet

Sometimes it is hard to decide between fabrics. Both fee soft, comfortable and make you look sophisticated and elegant. Or really casual and comfortable. When you can’t choose, you need to learn the differences to make sure you are getting the best fabric for your projects.

If you can’t decide which fabric looks the best on you, looking at the differences may help you select a good material. Suede is made from real leather, a natural animal product while velvet is made from both natural and synthetic fibers and woven in a tufted manner.

To learn the differences between the two fabrics just continue to read our article. It explores the issue so you know what makes suede, suede, and velvet, velvet. It will only take a few minutes of your time to learn about both fabrics and their differences.

What is The Difference Between Suede and Velvet?

If you do not have those few minutes right now, just read our upcoming quick comparison chart. It gives you vital differences between the two materials in a few seconds. Both are good fabrics to wear and own and knowing the difference can have you use them to their fullest potential

Category Suede Velvet
Origin The hide from animals Natural and synthetic fibers
Manufacturing process Split from the hide, brushed and sanded Made on a special loom that creates 2 layers at the same time
Breathability Low High
Heat retention High Medium
Ability to stretch Low Low
Moisture wicking Low medium
Cleaning Dry cleaning Hand wash
Application Shoes, jackets, gloves, hats, bags, apparel lining, seat covers, belts Upholstery, wall hangings, dresses, evening wear, formal robes, dresses, bedding, hats
Cost Varies but can be expensive Varies but silk velvet costs a lot

Suede vs Velvet Shoes


This may be a hard comparison as suede shoes are usually reserved for formal dress shoes. The problem with his type of material for shoes is that suede is very vulnerable and delicate. It absorbs a lot of water and can stain fairly easily if the right steps are not taken.

While it is good to wear suede shoes for more formal events, they are not the best show to wear outside in the weather. These shoes take a lot of care and need regular upkeep to stay in shape.

Velvet shoes are soft and can take more abuse than suede can. They are also to keep clean because they are made from natural and synthetic fibers instead of animal hide. You may find that velvet shoes are softer than suede making them more comfortable.

Plus, you may find that velvet shoes are made more for women than men. The problem with velvet is that it is a material better used for bedding, upholstery, clothing, and not shoes. The selection and color range of velvet may not be as great as it is with suede.

Suede vs Velvet Sofa


Softness is the key to this matchup. Suede can be very soft and feels good next to your skin. But velvet is really soft and comfortable allowing you to relax better and not worry about what happens to the material. Suede can be very delicate here and absorb too many stains to give you a worry-free time when sitting on this sofa.

Then suede is not good to have when you have little children or pets around the house. It doe snot handle rough treatment and any accidents show up very easily and are usually hard to remove.

Velvet being made from different fibers is a lot tougher when it comes to accidents and can be cleaned a lot easier, depending on the type of material that was used to create the velvet sofa. As far as looks go, suede probably tops velvet, depending on your personal preferences.

Crushed velvet may be your best choice when it comes to recovering a sofa. It handles kids and pets quite well. In addition, velvet adds a layer of sophistication to your decor whereas suede may have people thinking they are out on the ranch.

Ultra Suede vs Velvet


If you are not sure what ultra suede is, this is a fabric that is made from synthetic materials and generally called microfiber suede. It is the artificial version of real suede and it has the look and feel of that material.

When it comes to sofas and other around the house furniture or curtains, ultra suede is probably better especially if you have kids and pets running around. Plus, it is easier to clean when accidents happen.

While ultra suede doesn't lend an air of elegance or sophistication to a room, it is a very good choice of fabric due to its more casual look and durability. Some versions of velvet can be difficult to clean as well as very expensive to purchase.

Velvet still has a luxurious feel and upgrades any room in your home. It may top suede in those categories as well as being cozier when you want to relax in front of a fire when the weather turns colder.

Faux Suede vs Velvet


This style of suede material will probably be easier to clean than velvet will be. When you are wearing different types of velvet, the cleaning process changes depending on the fibers used in its construction.

Which one you will wear will depend on the event you are attending and how you want to look for the evening. A woman may use velvet to make her a bit more mysterious or sophisticated. She certainly will look elegant when wearing a nice velvet dress.

When she wears suede she is presenting herself in a different light that may be more open and friendly. A man may look better in suede than velvet as most men look better in a rougher and tumble fabric than they do a sophisticated one.

The keys to which one you will wear lie with the fabrics cost, durability, colors, strength, drape, and more. Both fabrics are not going to compete with finer more delicate materials but they give you options.

Faux suede is probably going to be tougher than velvet and your choice will also depend on your preferences. If you hate velvet then avoid it at all costs.

Can You Wear Velvet and Suede Together?

As for combining these two fabrics, the answer is normally no and most normal people will abide by that fact. When looking for fabrics to combine there are 4 keys areas to look at:

  • Color - they can’t clash.
  • Pattern - too much of a good thing is too much or if combined with the wrong companion pattern, you may be mistaken for a circus performer.
  • Texture - two textured materials like suede and velvet do not go together.
  • Shine or sheen - this is like color, the shine or the sheen should not clash with each other.

Of course, there are always people or fashion designers trying to push the envelope or be innovative. Combining similar fabrics usually fail and do not look that good, unless you are an entertainer, like Elton John or Lady Gaga, who can get away with wearing outlandish outfits.

When choosing the fabrics you want to wear in public, private times are a different matter, then you should select one item from each of those categories to match up. Anything more is asking for trouble.

Velvet Suede Fabric


With this combination, you are getting the best of both worlds... almost. The velvet portion of this blend can be made from a variety of different fibers. The material will look good and bring a lot of the positive properties of each fiber with them.

On the other side of this blend, the suede material is usually made from polyester fibers. This is both a good and a bad thing as you are now having to be concerned about the positive and negative aspects of polyester.

The suede portion is made to look like a cowhide pattern and comes with a nice pastel print color. The material should be durable. Good looking and help you look more sophisticated than if you wore 100% suede. That look will depend on which fabric is the dominant one.

This material may be better for your sofas and other furniture pieces you have in your home. The velvet fibers help protect the suede and make the furniture easier to clean at times. Check out this blend and see if it is for you and your home.

If you have kids and pets, sometimes it best to forget the velvet and go with 100% microfiber suede.

Pros and Cons of Velvet and Suede

Knowing the positives and negatives of any fabric helps you design your projects to coincide with the strengths while protecting the weaknesses. Here are the pros and cons of both materials so you know their strengths and weaknesses

1. Velvet


  • Soft, luxurious, and sophisticated
  • You buy it because you want it
  • It can reflect light due to its nap
  • Adds volume to the furniture it is used on
  • Easily dyed and displays its color in a very rich fashion
  • Thick material that keeps you warm​
  • Can be stain resistant
  • Lasts along time if properly cared for
  • It looks good in any room


  • Attracts dust and pet fur
  • Needs regular cleaning
  • Absorbs spills fairly rapidly
  • Cleaning can be difficult at times
  • Needs special cleaners to get the dirt, etc., out
  • Can be very expensive to buy ($70 for quality poly-cotton blend, over $300 for silk velvet)
  • May be seen as old fashioned
  • Can fade in the sun, needs shade
  • Not good for outdoor furniture or use

2. Suede


  • Can be soft to the touch
  • Comes in a variety of colors
  • Can be very beautiful when worn right
  • Good for winter as it can keep you warm
  • Light and pliable giving you room to move
  • Smooth texture
  • Comes in a variety of fibers both natural and synthetic
  • Look good on you and your furniture


  • Can be very expensive as well, depending on how it is made
  • Hard to keep clean
  • Absorbs moisture and spills very easy
  • Can be hard to clean and needs regular care to keep them looking good
  • Can be damaged quite easily
  • Not good for rough weather, rain, snow, or slush
  • Not good when kids and pets are in the home

How is Suede Made


This may make some of you a little queasy but to make natural suede, you do have to kill the animal. That is the only way to get the hide that produces leather, suede, and nubuck. After the hide is taken from the animal, the hair or fur needs to be removed.

Then to make suede, the hide has to split removing the soft underside from the tough exterior part of the hide. After that, the sanding process smooths out the imperfections and makes the fabric look and feel soft and nice.

It is possible that the makers of suede will dye the fabric but this is not always the case. Once this is or isn’t done, then the material is sewn into clothing items, shoes, and accessories.

Some Final Words

The difference between suede and velvet boils down to how you want yourself and your home to look. They are both good materials to own and they each come with their own unique style. It will depend on the style that influences you to buy one or the other fabrics.

The biggest issue will be the cost of the materials with velvet being a bit more expensive than suede.

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