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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Cordura and leather are interchangeable in some forms of outdoor gear, particularly boots, belts, sheaths and holsters.
Cordura is washable, requires no conditioning as does leather and does not dry out as leather does.