Shearling vs. Sherpa: What is the Difference?

Pologeorgis Furs

Posted on August 07 2023

Shearling vs. Sherpa: What is the Difference?

When it comes to choosing the perfect material for warmth and comfort in cold weather, shearling and sherpa are two popular options that often come to mind. Both materials have their own unique characteristics and production processes. 

So in this article, we will compare their features, discuss ethical considerations, explore some  maintenance tips, and help you make an informed choice between shearling and sherpa. But first things first, let’s take a look into the basics of shearling and sherpa. 

The Basics of Shearling and Sherpa

When it comes to choosing the perfect material for warmth and comfort, two popular options that often come up are shearling and sherpa. Both materials offer excellent insulation and a cozy feel, but they differ in their composition and characteristics. So let’s take a closer look. 





It is a natural material made from the skin and wool of sheep, and it provides a  unique combination of hide and wool. 

  • It offers exceptional insulation. 
  • Its ability to regulate body temperature. 
  • It’s an excellent choice for colder climates.


It is a man-made material that is produced by knitting or weaving polyester fibers in a way that creates a soft and fluffy texture that mimics the warmth and texture of traditional shearling. For example Teddy Coat 

  • Can be Budget-friendly
  • Its lightweight nature.
  • Easy care and maintenance. 
  • It offers a wide range of colors and patterns.

Whether you opt for the natural beauty of shearling or the synthetic convenience of sherpa, you can't go wrong with either choice. However, to fully understand either material, we need to take a look at the production processes of each type of material. 

The Production Process of Shearling and Sherpa

One of the main differences between shearling and sherpa is their production processes. So let’s delve deeper into what the production process for shearling and sherpa entail. 

The Production Process of Shearling

The Production Process of Sherpa

  • The process starts with the selection of high-quality sheep hides, which are inspected by skilled craftsmen, who assess their quality based on factors such as thickness, texture, and overall condition. 
  • Once the hides are selected, they are cleaned to remove any impurities, by using a combination of gentle washing and specialized cleaning agents. 
  • After the cleaning process, the hides are carefully stretched and laid out flat to dry, while being inspected.
  • Skilled shearers then use specialized tools to remove the excess wool from the hides, achieving the desired thickness and texture.
  • The shearling undergoes a final inspection to ensure that it meets the highest quality standards. 
  • Any imperfections or inconsistencies are carefully addressed, ensuring that only the finest shearling makes it to the market.
  • The process starts with the careful selection of high-quality polyester fibers. Can be cotton or acrylic or a mix
  • Once the fibers have been selected, they are spun into yarns using specialized machinery. 
  • The yarns are then dyed to achieve the desired color, which involves immersing the yarns in a dye bath.
  • After dyeing, the yarns are ready to be knitted or woven into fabric. 
  • It then undergoes treatments such as brushing, which helps to further soften the fabric and enhance its texture.
  • The fabric may also be treated with chemicals to improve its insulation and moisture-wicking properties.
  • Skilled technicians then inspect the fabric, checking for any defects or inconsistencies, ensuring that only the highest-quality sherpa fabric is released for use in various products.

Now that we have understood the production procedures, we can take a closer look into the characteristics of shearling and sherpa that make them so unique. So, let’s get into it! 

Shearling vs. Sherpa: The Differences Between Them

When it comes to choosing between shearling and sherpa, there are several factors to consider. Let's take a closer look at the factors to further understand the differences between shearling and sherpa. 




Texture and feel

The leather or sue side on the inside provides a smooth and soft touch against the skin, while the outer wool offers a cozy, plush sensation.

It lacks the natural texture and authenticity of shearling and may not provide the same level of sensory satisfaction. 

Warmth and insulation

It has excellent heat-trapping properties and offers great insulation, making it an ideal choice in cold weather. 

It can still provide considerable warmth, though it may not be as breathable as shearling.

Durability and longevity

It has remarkable durability, making it last for years.

While still durable, it may not have the same level of longevity. 


It is generally more expensive than sherpa due to its high-quality, natural materials and intricate production process. 

It is a cost-effective option that provides similar warmth and comfort at a fraction of the price. 

Now that we have explored the different factors and the cost difference between shearling and sherpa, the decision ultimately rests on your individual preferences, priorities, and budget. Now let’s take a look at some ethical considerations to take into account before purchasing. 

The 3 Ethical Considerations of Shearling and Sherpa

It is important to consider the ethical implications of using animal-derived materials like shearling. So let’s look at some ethical considerations that need to be taken into account.

Textile manufacturers are increasingly adopting eco-friendly practices to minimize the environmental impact of sherpa production, by investing in renewable energy sources, such as solar and wind power, to power their manufacturing facilities. 

Additionally, they are implementing water conservation measures and recycling programs. Innovations in bio-based materials, such as plant-based fibers and recycled plastics, are also being explored as potential substitutes for polyester in sherpa production.

Moreover, some manufacturers have implemented traceability systems that track the entire supply chain, from the farm to the finished product, to guarantee that no animals were mistreated or exploited during the production process.

By staying informed and making conscious choices, consumers can support the development of ethical practices in the textile industry. Now let’s take a look at some maintenance considerations. 

How to Maintain Your Shearling and Sherpa

Whether you own a natural shearling jacket or a sherpa-lined blanket, it is important to take proper care of these items to ensure their longevity. So, let’s explore the best practices for cleaning and storing shearling and sherpa.

How to Maintain Shearling

How to Maintain Sherpa

  • Avoid using excessive force, as it may cause the fibers to become matted or damaged.
  • In the case of stains or spills, consult a professional, as they have the expertise to effectively remove the stain without causing harm.
  • Make sure to clean the garment thoroughly and store it in a cool, well-ventilated area. 
  • Avoid direct sunlight and excessive heat, which can cause the material to fade. 
  • Opt for a breathable garment bag or wrap the shearling in a clean, breathable fabric like cotton.
  • They can be machine washed with cold water and a gentle cycle. 
  • Check the care instructions on the garment to ensure proper cleaning.
  • If machine washing is not an option, spot cleaning can be done using a mild detergent and a soft cloth. 
  • Allow the sherpa to air-dry completely before using or storing it.
  • Keep it in a clean, dry place and avoid exposing it to excessive moisture or humidity.
  • Fold the sherpa neatly and place it in a storage bin or on a shelf that will help maintain its shape and prevent any unnecessary wear or tear.

Taking proper care of shearling and sherpa is crucial to ensuring their longevity and keeping them looking their best. By following the cleaning and storage tips mentioned above, you can enjoy the warmth and comfort of these materials for years to come.

Shearling vs. Man Made Sherpa

It's important to make an informed decision based on your needs and values. Whichever material you choose, both shearling and sherpa provide comfortable and stylish options to keep you warm during the chilly months.

Remember to take into account factors such as warmth, texture, durability, and your budget when making your decision. By carefully considering these aspects, you can find the perfect fabric that meets your needs and keeps you snug and stylish all Winter.

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