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Leather Seating Comfort Rating


Instyle worked with leading leather tanneries and an independent consultant to develop a seating comfort rating to assist clients in selecting the most appropriate leather. The seating comfort rating is based upon the leather’s ability to breathe and absorb moisture, thereby transferring moisture away from the body and a greater feeling of comfort.

Instyle has tested the Contemporary Leathers collection to ASTM E 96 M05, which measures the water vapour transmission of the leather to determine how the leather will behave against a human body ie. how comfortable the leather feels against the skin.

A user’s level of comfort is dependent on the leather’s ability to breathe and absorb moisture, thereby transferring moisture away from the body. Insensible perspiration is the water vapour that is produced by the human body without condensing on the skin. At higher rates of perspiration, the skin becomes wet and this is called sensible perspiration. Estimates of the rate of insensible perspiration for a resting person is estimated to range from 10 to 30g/h/m2 for ambient temperatures in the range of 20-30C. Rates of insensible perspiration varies widely from individuals and increases with increases in ambient temperature.

When sitting on upholstered furniture, subjected to ambient temperatures of up to 30C (sitting in the shade) then it appears that a rate of 20-30g/h/m2 would prevent the formation of sensible perspiration for most users. Rates greater than 30g/h/m2 and certainly those up in the 50-60 range would readily allow the transmission of the insensible perspiration, preventing condensation of the perspiration on the skin and maintaining the comfort of the user.

From these results Instyle has established the level of seating comfort. There are 1 – 5 levels of seating comfort. Level 5 being the highest comfort level ie. the most comfortable.

Generally the most natural pure Aniline leathers can breathe and absorb moisture more readily and thus have a higher level of seating comfort, while the more processed leathers with more finishes applied to the surface, such as Pigmented and Corrected Grain, breathe and absorb moisture less readily.

Please Note: It is important to understand that Instyle’s seating comfort rating is a comparison between the different leather products within the Contemporary Leathers collection. A synthetic PVC/polyurethane product such as our Zone vinyl would achieve a much lower comfort level ie. Level 1 than any of the leathers within the Contemporary Leathers collection.