Hermès is known for, among other things, its use of fine leathers, and it offers more varieties than any other major bag brand on the planet. Figuring out what all the names mean, how those leathers differ and which one might be the best for you can be a daunting task for even those moderately well-versed in the ways of Hermès. For newbies, I’m sure it seems possible. We’re here to help.

Below, we’ve catalogued as many of Hermès’s current handbag leathers as we could find, complete with a close-up for each and notes on texture, weight and durability when available. Because Hermès likes to play things close to the vest, we might have missed something; if so, please let us know in the comments.

Barenia Natural

Originally used for Hermès saddles, Barenia is a smooth calfskin that is resistant to both scratches and rain.


Box Calf

Box calf is smooth and glossy, and although it is susceptible to scratches, they can be buffed into the leather’s texture over time. Often found in vintage bags and neutral colors, but still actively produced today. Leave it at home on rainy days.



A pebbled, soft, water-resistant leather made from the hides of water buffalo. Dye tends to gather at the center of the pebbles, sometimes resulting in a spotted appearance.



A matte counterpart to box calf that does not scratch easily. It is not, however, water-resistant.