Ultrasuede is the trade name for a synthetic ultra-microfiber fabric invented in 1970 by Dr. Miyoshi Okamoto, a scientist working for Toray Industries. In Japan, it is sold under the brand name Ecsaine.[1] It is often described as an artificial substitute for suede leather.[2] The fabric is multifunctional: it is used in fashion, interior decorating, automobile and other vehicle upholstery, and industrial applications, such as protective fabric for electronic equipment. It is also a very popular fabric in the manufacture of footbags (also known as hacky sacks) and juggling balls. Other manufacturers such as Sensuede and Majilite also produce similar product lines of synthetic microfiber suede.


Fabric content ranges from 80% polyester non-woven (100% recycled ultra-microfiber) and 20% non-fibrous polyurethane to 65% polyester and 35% polyurethane, depending on the product line. Ultrasuede feels like natural suede, but it is resistant to stains and discoloration; it can be washed in a washing machine.[3] It has a woven fabric surface, but resists pilling or fraying because it is combined with a polyurethane foam in a non-woven structure. As with its Italian sister fabric, Alcantara, automotive grade Ultrasuede meets OEM specifications and FMVSS302 flammability requirements for automotive use,[4] as well as it being virtually identical on both sides, making it somewhat reversible.


Ultrasuede has applications in fashion, including shoes; interior furnishing; industrial uses; and (in a flame retardant version) watercraft, automobile and aircraft seating, dash trimming, headliners and other interior panels.


  1. ^ "The Indian Head Connection - Skinner & Sons". Fabrics.net.
  2. ^ Robert Kanigel Faux real: genuine leather and 200 years of inspired fakes, National Academies Press, 2007ISBN 0-309-10236-7 p. 169
  3. ^ "What is ultrasuede®? | ABOUT ULTRASUEDE® | Ultrasuede® | TORAY". www.ultrasuede.com. Retrieved 2021-06-09.
  4. ^ "Ultrasuede® - TORAY". ultrasuede.com.

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Author/Creator: Fabrizio Marco Nannini Photographer, Licence: CC BY-SA 3.0
Alcantara - a microfiber polyester and polystyrene-based material, sometimes mistakenly referred to as leather or imitation leather
Leather-making is an ancient craft, but it's met up with some state-of-the-art technology. Electron beam radiation, we've found, can replace the salt solutions now used to kill bacterial growth-much to the benefit of the environment. Not only is brine curing corrosive to equipment; it contributes to water pollution. We also found a way to reduce the number of poor-quality hides that make their way into leather processing. Laser light-scattering photometry can be used to evaluate hides according to the orientation of their fibers. High-tech detective work has tracked down a cause of shoemaking woes. One type of leather, which broke under the stress of manufacture, was found to have a genetic defect that's specific to certain Hereford cattle. It was ARS researchers who identified cockle, a seasonal flaw of sheepskin, as the work of a parasitic insect called keds. Once they realized that keds not only lowers the value of the skin but also causes sheep to grow more slowly, sheep farmers began treating their herds to control infestations.