Leather is a generalized term for any kind of hides or skins that have been tanned. What determines the look and feel of a leather piece is the result of the type of hide used, how it was tanned, and the quality of the raw, untanned hide before tanning. Hides are skin and therefore have individual wrinkles, marks, and scars that make each piece unique. This is what makes leather natural and special. The different, natural markings are what give leather its beauty. When buying leather, one must be aware of the inconsistencies and uniqueness of one hide to the other. This is part of the leather's appeal and what makes it different from other materials that tend to have the same patterns or designs. Leather is currently the strongest upholstery material known to man, and it will not readily burn or melt, nor is it easily punctured. Also, today's tanning process makes leather pieces supple for a much longer time than any other fabric or material. With proper care, you can even expect leather to last a person's entire lifetime. Imitation leathers don't tend to hold up well or for very long, whereas genuine leather will not become hot or sticky when confronted with daily outdoor temperatures and lasts much longer. Nothing beats the look, feel, and even smell of genuine, well-worn leather.