Shearling vs. Sheepskin Jackets: Which is Better?

Pologeorgis Furs

Posted on October 16 2023

Shearling vs. Sheepskin Jackets: Which is Better?

When it comes to choosing a jacket to keep you warm and stylish during the colder months, shearling and sheepskin jackets are both popular choices. However, it's important to understand the differences between them.

So, in this article, we will delve into the basics of shearling and sheepskin, explore their production processes, compare their characteristics, discuss maintenance, address ethical considerations, and help you make an informed choice between the two.

However, before delving into the details, it’s important to have a clear understanding of what these types of materials are in the first place. So let’s take a look at what shearling and sheepskin are.

Shearling and Sheepskin: What are They?

Shearling is a type of leather that is made from the hide of a sheep or lamb and has been tanned with the wool intact to create a dual surface. It is also regarded for its versatility, given that it has been used for centuries to make clothing, accessories, and home decor.

Sheepskin, on the other hand, is the hide of a sheep that has been tanned to create a soft and luxurious material, and unlike shearling, it can be sourced from sheep of varying ages and is often used to make a wide range of products like blankets, rugs, and even footwear.

They are both prized for their warmth, comfort, and durability. So, whether you choose shearling or sheepskin, you can be sure that you are getting a high-quality garment. However, to further enlighten your decision, let’s take a look at how each of these jackets is made.

The Production Process Differences of Shearling and Sheepskin

Creating shearling and sheepskin jackets is a labor-intensive process that requires skilled craftsmanship to achieve their softness, durability, and natural insulation properties. So let’s take a closer look at how each of these jackets are processed to further understand their differences:

The Production Process of Shearling 

The Production Process of Sheepskin

The first step to producing shearling is to carefully select the hides with the desired characteristics to make the jackets.

The first step to producing sheepskin is to carefully select the hides that have been raised in ideal conditions to ensure the best possible quality of the final product.

Once the hides have been selected, skilled craftsmen inspect them for any imperfections or blemishes to ensure that only the highest-quality hides are used.

The selected hides then undergo a soaking process, where the hides are immersed in water to remove any impurities and soften them.

The hides are then carefully split using specialized machinery, which separates the thick leather from the soft wool.

After soaking, the hides undergo a process called fleshing, where any excess fat or flesh is carefully removed to ensure that the hides are clean.

The leather side then undergoes a process called tanning, where it is soaked in a solution containing tannins derived from tree bark to preserve the leather and enhance its durability.

Once the fleshing process is complete, the hides are stretched and dried to achieve the desired shape and size to ensure that the jackets have a perfect fit and retain their shape over time.

Meanwhile, the wool is trimmed to ensure a uniform thickness throughout the jacket's lining and to guarantee it provides optimal warmth and comfort.

Finally, the dried hides are treated with tanning agents to enhance their durability and softness, which penetrate the fibers of the sheepskin, making them resistant to water and dirt.

With the production process covered, let's compare the characteristics of shearling and sheepskin jackets to gain a clearer understanding of which one may best suit your needs.

Comparing the Two

When it comes to choosing the perfect jacket for the winter season, it's essential to consider the unique characteristics of these materials. So, let's take a closer look at some of the main characteristics where shearling and sheepskin differ:





They are renowned for their soft and plush wool lining, which provides a luxurious feel against the skin, creating a cozy and comfortable experience.

They offer a slightly rougher texture but still deliver great comfort, adding a touch of ruggedness to an overall look, which makes them a popular choice for those seeking a more rustic aesthetic.


They are known for their exceptional durability and longevity, ensuring that your jacket will last for years to come.

Sheepskin jackets, although not as durable as shearling, still offer good longevity when properly cared for and can also last many years.


They provide an extra level of warmth, given that the combination of wool and leather creates a barrier against the cold.

When it comes to staying warm during the chilly months, sheepskin jackets excel because they have the ability to regulate body temperature.

Whether you choose shearling or sheepskin, you will be sure to stay warm and cozy for years to come. But now that we've compared the characteristics of shearling and sheepskin jackets, let's explore some maintenance tips for these luxurious garments.

How to Maintain Your Shearling and Sheepskin Jackets

When it comes to maintaining and caring for shearling and sheepskin jackets, there are also quite a few differences that we need to take into account. So let’s delve into further detail on how each of these jackets is maintained to help you prolong their lifespan: 

The Steps to Maintaining Shearling

The Steps to Maintaining Sheepskin

Have your jacket professionally cleaned by a furrier, who has the knowledge and experience to handle shearling jackets. 

Unlike shearling jackets, they can be spot cleaned using a mild detergent, water and a cloth to gently remove any stains or dirt. 

Choose a cool and dry place away from direct sunlight to store your jacket. 

Avoid using harsh chemicals or scrubbing vigorously, as this can damage the fibers.

Avoid exposing them to direct sunlight, which can cause the natural fibers to fade and lose their luster. 

After spot cleaning, lay the jacket flat on a clean towel in a well-ventilated area to allow it to air-dry.

Avoid extreme temperatures and humidity, which can lead to damage and deterioration of the jacket.

Store them in a cool and well-ventilated area to prevent any moisture buildup, which can lead to the growth of mold or mildew. 

Store them in a closet or wardrobe in a tightly sealed box with proper ventilation to avoid mildew. 

Avoid storing them in plastic bags or containers, as it can cause the jacket to become musty.

Now that we have covered the essential maintenance and care tips for shearling and sheepskin jackets, let's delve into the ethical considerations surrounding these types of jackets, given that they can help us make informed choices about our fashion preferences.

The 5 Ethical Considerations Surrounding These Materials

These materials have raised ethical concerns regarding the treatment of animals and the impact of the fur industry on the environment. So let’s take a look at some of the ethical considerations surrounding them to ensure that the jacket you purchase is sourced from brands that adhere to ethical farming and manufacturing practices.

  1. Consider how the sheep are raised and sheared, given that ethical brands will prioritize the welfare of the animals, ensuring they are treated with care and respect. 
  2. Only purchase these materials from reputable brands, given that skilled shearers use techniques that prioritize the comfort and safety of the animals.
  3. Look for brands that prioritize sustainable and responsible sourcing of materials, including the use of eco-friendly tanning methods.
  4. Research brands that use renewable energy sources in their manufacturing facilities, given that this reduces their carbon emissions.
  5. Look for certifications such as the Leather Working Group certification, which ensures they meet strict environmental and social responsibility standards.

By following these simple tips, you can minimize the environmental impact of your purchase and rest in peace knowing that the animals are well taken care of. So with these considerations in mind, let's help you make an informed choice between shearling and sheepskin jackets.

The Main 3 Factors to Consider When Deciding Between Shearling or Sheepskin

When making your decision between shearling or sheepskin, remember to consider the following factors:

  1. Your personal style, given that shearling is more elegant and sheepskin is more rugged,
  2. Your lifestyle, given that shearling is more suitable for business occasions while sheepskin is more suited for outdoor activities,
  3. And your budget, given that shearling tends to be more expensive due to the extended production process.

As you weigh these factors, keep in mind your personal preferences and budget to make the choice that best suits you. And make sure to verify the authenticity of your shearling or sheepskin before making any decisions.

Which Best Suits You?

Both shearling and sheepskin jackets have their own unique characteristics and advantages. Shearling jackets provide exceptional warmth, comfort, and durability, albeit at a higher price point. Sheepskin jackets offer a more affordable alternative without compromising on style or insulation.


By considering factors such as texture, durability, warmth, maintenance, ethical considerations, and personal style, you can make an informed choice that keeps you both warm and stylish throughout the colder months. So happy shopping, and enjoy your new jackets for years to come! 

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