Cordura Vs. Leather

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Ballistic Cordura breathes better than leather, is lighter and a better choice for military gear,
Ballistic Cordura breathes better than leather, is lighter and a better choice for military gear, (Image: Image by Flickr.com, courtesy of The U.S. Army)

Cordura is a tough nylon fabric, which is typically used in place of leather or heavy canvas. While leather is the classic material and connotes luxury, Cordura is the more practical choice in several applications, but has not replaced leather in luxury apparel.

History

DuPont trademarked Cordura in the 1970s, though its base material (Nylon-6, 6) was patented in 1935. It is now a trademark of Invista, a division of Koch Industries.

Surprisingly, these stockings are made of the same material as ballistic Cordura.
Surprisingly, these stockings are made of the same material as ballistic Cordura. (Image: Image by Flickr.com, courtesy of How can I recycle this)

Properties

Cordura is resistant to scuffs and tears, with a high strength-to-weight ratio. Invista claims that it is 10 times more durable than cotton duck canvas. Invista offers no comparison to leather.

Grades

Like leather, Cordura is available in numerous thicknesses and grades, including ultra-lightweight rip-stop grades for clothing and tents, in blends with cotton for work wear and a heavyweight ballistic grade for military and police use.

Motorcycling

Cordura is popular among motorcyclists because it breathes better than leather; is relatively lightweight versus leather and its abrasion and tear resistance offers good protection against road rash in accidents.

Regardless of Cordura's practicality, some bikers refuse to trade their leather.
Regardless of Cordura's practicality, some bikers refuse to trade their leather. (Image: Image by Flickr.com, courtesy of Mo Riza)

Outdoor Gear

Cordura and leather are interchangeable in some forms of outdoor gear, particularly boots, belts, sheaths and holsters.

Maintenance

Cordura is washable, requires no conditioning as does leather and does not dry out as leather does.

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