Difference between Nubuck and Suede
The difference between nubuck and suede is something that gets quite often confused as either the same or sometimes even that they're not leather at all. At the word go, let us confirm that they are both leathers. Nubuck leather is usually made from what's called a full grain leather and the top is snuffed where you kind of paper or sand down the top grain to which you get a much silkier, smooth, velvety touch to it and you start off with what is essentially full grain leather. It's more robust and gives a matted finish which looks a bit casual.
Cross-Section of Leather
Finished Nubuck Shoe
And then you've got suede which usually is called split suede where you have a height which is of a certain thickness to make the top grain leather. We split it down so what starts off with perhaps 2.5 or 3 millimeters thick is split down to 1.4 or 1.6 millimeters. Now we've got that bottom part which is still leather and this is what is called split suede so with that bottom part taken away, it's still has a good thickness of about 1.2 to 1.4 mm and from that, suede is made and that's why suede tends to be a bit more hairier than a nubuck leather. But a good split suede will have what's called a nice fine nap to it, especially if it's made from a calf or a smaller animal and it lends to two very different looks. Nubuck being more casual and Suede being a bit more formal, but still being very different leather types. Now the way you make these leather kind of dictates how it needs to be taken care of.
Water Repulsion by Suede
Finished Suede Shoe
So there we have it, the suede and the nubuck. We personally prefer these leathers because they're a lot more casual. Suedes are our preference for something that is unlined like our chukka boot which is fairly comfortable and soft on the feet right from the go.