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What Is Bicast Leather?

Bicast leather (or bi-cast or bycast) is a shiny, glossy leather material made that is a combination of a leather backing and an embossed layer of vinyl or polyurethane. This material originated because of a desire in the apparel industry for a glossier and more cost-efficient alternative to leather shoes. It has since been adopted for the use of many articles of clothing besides shoes like furniture upholstery, for example. Here is everything you need to know about bicast leather:

shades of bicast leather

Process of Making Bicast Leather

The first step in making bicast leather is splitting raw leather hide into different layers. The top grain of the leather must first be removed. If the leather is thick, the layers must be split until there is only one thin bottom layer. This layer is then covered with a layer of polyurethane. To complete the process, this combination is embossed, so it closely resembles leather. Bicast leather is also known as leatherette, laminated leather or reconstituted leather because of how it’s made.

Bicast leather is not to be confused with a synthetic product known as PU (polyurethane) leather. PU leather is purely vegan, and no natural leather hide is used. It is made by applying a shell coating on a layer synthetic polymer blend.

layer of leather

The Quality of Bicast Leather

Because bicast leather contains the properties of the natural leather, it is of a higher quality than PU leather, but it’s not as high quality as a 100% leather material. Bicast leather does not have the longevity of natural leather because it will never develop a natural patina. It’s not as durable nor breathable as natural leather and tends to split and crack quicker than natural leather.


When manufactured properly, bicast leather can look very similar to natural leather. The top layer of vinyl can be imprinted to resemble the top grain of genuine leather. As aforementioned, it originated for the use of shiny footwear. One of the best facets of bicast leather’s appearance is its ability to be polished and glossy. It’s nearly impossible for natural leather to have the same gorgeous sheen of bicast leather. However, bicast leather will crack and tear quicker than natural leather because of its lack of durability. Typically, bicast leather cannot be repaired without replacing the entire covering.

Products Bicast Leather Is Commonly Used For


  • Couches
  • Sofas
  • Chaise lounges

bicast leather sofa


  • Handbags
  • Belts
  • Jackets
  • Shoes

bicast leather shoes

Advantages of Bicast Leather

The number one advantage of bicast leather is the fact that it is a much cheaper alternative to natural leather. Typically, a leather couch costs thousands of dollars, while a bicast leather couch would cost hundreds of dollars. It is a fraction of the price, making it perfect for consumers on a budget who love the look of leather but can’t afford real leather. It also provides a unique look than genuine leather because it is shinier and glossier. Besides being a more cost-efficient alternative to genuine leather, it is additionally a stylish alternative.

Disadvantages of Bicast Leather

Although bicast leather may be more stylish and shiny than natural leather, it, unfortunately, does not always retain its look. The glossy look of bicast leather will, unfortunately, become dull after months of regular use. Cracks and scratches will usually show up on the surface and deepen with time. If you’re looking for a product that will last and remain in the same condition for years, don’t purchase a bicast leather product.

How to Care for Bicast Leather

The top-grain of natural leather is removed in the process of making bicast leather. This means bicast leather doesn’t react well to dirt, oils or bodily fluids like sweat. If you need to clean your bicast leather at home, never use products like oils and waxes that are meant to clean genuine leather. When you first purchase a bicast leather, make sure you apply a bicast protector. You’ll especially need to protect bicast leather furniture to ensure it doesn’t get sticky when you sit on it. You should additionally purchase a bicast cleaner to regularly clean oils off of the surface of your product. Oils can cause cracks, so it’s crucial to be proactive when it comes to cleaning your bicast leather.

leather with cracks

Love Your Leather

For all of your leather cleaning and leather repair needs, look no further than Love Your Leather. Whether it’s PU leather, bicast leather or genuine leather, we can clean any products from belts to shoes to furniture. Contact us today or get a quote to see what our leather care and leather repair experts can do for you.

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