Shearling vs. Sheepskin: What is The Difference?

Pologeorgis Furs

Posted on August 01 2023

Shearling vs. Sheepskin: What is The Difference?

When it comes to choosing the right material for our winter wardrobe, shearling and sheepskin are two popular options that often get confused. While both materials come from sheep, there are some distinct differences between them. 

In this article we will delve into the basics of shearling and sheepskin, explore their production processes, highlight their unique characteristics and compare their similarities and differences.

We will also get into some considerations on which might be best for your needs, and some tips on how to maintain your shearling and sheepskin. But first things first, let’s take a look at some basics to better understand shearling and sheepskin material. 

The Basics of Shearling and Sheepskin

When it comes to choosing the perfect material for your winter wardrobe, shearling and sheepskin are two popular options that offer both warmth and style and while they may sound similar, there are some key differences between the two:





It is a leather or suede material that is used on luxury garments, made from the skin of a sheep or lamb, insulating wool on one side, while the other side is enhanced for durability, and can be used to make jackets, coats, and boots. 

  • It provides great insulation. 
  • It’s highly breathable. 
  • It’s very durable.
  • It can be lined or unlined for garments as well as blankets. 


It is the complete skin of a sheep with the wool still intact, providing warmth and comfort, which can be used for clothing, footwear, and home decor.

  • It provides insulation.
  • It’s soft and comfortable. 
  • It’s hypoallergenic.


Whether you choose shearling or sheepskin, both materials offer exceptional warmth, comfort, and style. However, to further understand the crucial differences between these materials, let’s take a closer look at the production process that shearling and sheepskin go through. 


The Production Processes of Shearling and Sheepskin

Shearling and sheepskin are two luxurious materials that have been used for centuries to create stylish garments. Both materials come from sheep, but they undergo different production processes to achieve their unique qualities. Here are the main differences:

Shearling Production Process

Sheepskin Production Process

  • The process starts with selecting suitable sheep, which are sheared by skilled craftsmen who ensure that the wool is not damaged.
  • Once the sheep are sheared, the skin is carefully removed from the wool. 
  • It is then cleaned to remove any dirt or impurities, ensuring high quality. 
  • The cleaned skin is conditioned to restore its natural softness and suppleness.
  • The treated shearling is then carefully dried to ensure that it retains its shape and texture.
  • The process begins with raising and caring for the sheep, providing them with proper nutrition and shelter to maintain the quality of their wool.
  • When the time comes for harvesting, the skin is carefully removed to preserve the wool structure.
  • The skin then undergoes a tanning process to prevent decay and ensure its longevity. 
  • After tanning, the sheepskin is carefully processed to retain its original wool structure, resulting in a luxurious material.

Understanding the production processes allows us to appreciate the skill required to create garments that are both stylish and functional. Both of them have unique characteristics and qualities that make them highly sought-after in the fashion industry. So let’s take a closer look.

The Unique Characteristics of Shearling and Sheepskin

Shearling and sheepskin have been prized for centuries for their exceptional qualities and versatility. Let's delve deeper into the unique features of shearling and the distinct qualities of sheepskin.

Characteristics of Sherling

Characteristics of Sheepskin

  • It is double-sided, with one side being the insulating wool, and the other side being the treated leather.
  • It acts as a natural insulator that keeps the body warm. 
  • It is highly breathable, preventing overheating and ensuring comfort.
  • It offers exceptional warmth and luxurious comfort. 
  • They are moisture-wicking, making sheepskin garments perfect for winter. 
  • It can regulate the body temperature. 
  • It extends beyond the fashion industry and can be applied in multiple areas.

As you can see, shearling and sheepskin have unique characteristics that make them stand out from other materials. Whether you're looking for warmth, breathability, or luxurious comfort, shearling and sheepskin are excellent choices that will not disappoint.

Shearling vs. Sheepskin: The 3 Main Differences and Similarities

When it comes to choosing between shearling and sheepskin, it's important to understand the similarities and differences between these two materials. So let’s get a closer look into these topics to better understand these materials. 

The Similarities of Shearling and Sheepskin

Despite their differences, shearling and sheepskin do share some commonalities. Here are the main common points: 

  • They both originate from sheep, making them natural and sustainable materials.
  • They provide excellent insulation given they help regulate body temperature.
  • They offer exceptional softness, providing a luxurious and cozy feel. 

Now let’s take a look at what makes shearling and sheepskin different so we can better understand which one might fit your needs better. 

The Differences Between Shearling and Sheepskin

It is the differences between shearling and sheepskin that set them apart and make them suitable for different purposes. So let’s take a closer look at these differences: 

  • Shearling is designed for practicality, combining the warmth of wool with the durability of treated leather. On the other hand, sheepskin products emphasize the natural beauty and softness of the wool, with the skin left untouched. 
  • Shearling, with its leather backing, needs to be treated and cared for to maintain its quality and longevity. Sheepskin, on the other hand, requires less maintenance as it is in its natural state. 
  • Shearling is double sided and sheepskin is the complete skin of the sheep, so the production processes are quite different between them. 

Whether you're looking for practicality or a more rustic and natural aesthetic, both shearling and sheepskin offer unique qualities that can enhance your wardrobe or home decor. However, these aren’t the only things that shearling and sheepskin can be used for. So, let’s get into it. 

The Uses of Shearling and Sheepskin

Shearling and sheepskin are not only known for their luxurious feel and soft texture, but also for their remarkable properties that make them suitable for a wide range of uses. Let's explore some of the common and popular applications of shearling and sheepskin in different industries.

The Uses of Shearling 

The Uses of Sheepskin

  • Winter outerwear such as jackets, coats, and vests. 
  • Winter accessories like hats, gloves, and bags.
  • Winter accessories like hats, gloves, and scarves. 
  • Winter outerwear such as jackets, coats, and vests. 
  • Footwear like boots and slippers.
  • Home decor like rugs, upholstery, and even car seat covers. 

Whether it's for fashionable outerwear, cozy accessories, or comfortable footwear, these materials offer both style and functionality. Now let’s take a look at some maintenance procedures you can apply to your material to prolong its lifespan. 

How to Maintain Your Shearling and Sheepskin

Taking care of these luxurious materials not only helps maintain their appearance and texture but also prolongs their lifespan, allowing you to enjoy their warmth and comfort for years to come. So let’s look at some tips on how to maintain your shearling and sheepskin. 

Tips to Maintain Shearling

Tips to Maintain Sheepskin

  • You can also spot clean any stains or spills, by using a mild detergent or specialized shearling cleaner and a soft cloth or sponge.
  • Avoid rubbing vigorously, as this can damage the delicate fibers.
  • Allow it to air dry naturally, away from direct heat sources.
  • Remember to condition your material by applying a specialized conditioner and following the product instructions.
  • Properly store your shearling in a cool, dry place. 
  • Avoid storing them in plastic bags or airtight containers.

  • If you notice any stains, spot clean them with a specialized sheepskin cleaner and a soft cloth or sponge. 
  • Avoid scrubbing vigorously, as it can damage the delicate fibers. 
  • Allow them to air out in a well-ventilated area which helps eliminate any odors. 
  • Avoid exposing it to direct sunlight for prolonged periods.
  • Store it in a cool, dry place. 
  • Gently roll or lay the items flat in a breathable storage bag or wrap them in a clean cotton sheet. 

By following these care and maintenance practices, you can ensure that your shearling and sheepskin products remain in excellent condition season after season.  

Shearling vs. Sheepskin: What Will You Choose?

Understanding the differences between shearling and sheepskin is essential when making informed choices about the materials we use and wear. Whether it's for fashion or practicality, both materials offer unique qualities that make them highly sought-after. 

By considering their production processes, characteristics, uses, care, and ethical implications, we can make conscious decisions that align with our values and needs. Check out our extensive collection of quality furs at

More Posts