Levi jeans without leather patch: Here’s What To Know

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Levi’s jeans without leather patch

If you are a fan of the Levi’s brand of jeans, then you are almost certainly familiar with the iconic “leather” patch that comes on the back, right side of the belt loop strip area.

If the existence of the Levi’s leather patch is news to you, then there are a few things you might want to know about it, especially if you love high-quality jeans but maybe don’t want to buy leather for ethical reasons.

The “leather” patch contains sizing information and the distinctive Levi’s logo. Originally, the patch was made from leather, but to save money, they stopped using leather many years ago.

However, due to pressure from PETA around 2020, and 2021, Levi’s officially declared that they don’t make leather patches anymore, though they have not made them for decades.

Reportedly, you could still get the leather patch if you ordered your Levi’s specially from the factory, or if you paid extra for a deluxe pair at a pricey clothing store.

But in reality, the “leather” patch has been made from a high-durability paper for many decades.

So, if you are opposed to cruelty to animals, but still want the classic fit of Levi’s jeans, the simple way to get them is to look for them anywhere they are sold, and just check the back patch.

If it is thin and wrinkly, like cardboard, then it is laminated paper designed to be very durable. These are not leather. Pairs with the fake leather patch will have the same patch on the back right.

But a leather patch will be noticeably thicker and stronger than the standard enhanced paper patch. So, if you love Levi’s but don’t want to buy leather, look for the thinner, paper patch. 

Where to buy Levi’s jeans that don’t have a leather patch

If you are one of those rare lovers of quality denim who refuse to support manufacturing processes that abuse animals, then you will be pleased to know that the company has not made genuine leather patches for their jeans since the late 1950s.

Where to buy Levi's jeans that don't have a leather patch

The patches were replaced with heavy-duty card stock after that point to save the company money and to reduce the cost of these premium jeans to the consumer.

How much are Levi’s jeans without leather patches

The idea that the leather patches on Levi’s are the standard, and that you have to look for non-leather patches if you want them, is a common misconception.

How much are Levi's jeans without leather patches

In reality, the patches have not been made from real leather for a very long time. Even pairs that feature a thicker, higher-quality patch use a synthetic material, not real leather.

What are leather patches on jeans?

To produce those patches meant the company had to cut whole cow hides into leather rectangles.

What are leather patches on jeans?

This process is a huge burden, requiring tens of hours of labor just to process one hide, or a massive cookie-cutter machine, both of which are not practical for modern mass manufacturing purposes.

For this reason, the company went through the trouble of replacing them with high-quality card stock decades ago. The higher-quality faux leather version is exactly that, faux leather.

It is really a kind of processed latex with leather-like qualities but contains no real leather at all. However, there are reportedly some isolated pairs out there with a real leather patch on them.

We are not sure how this could happen unless some isolated artisan was making these patches themselves and selling the jeans at premium prices.

Are leather patches used for anything with Levi’s

The truth is that the people at PETA are known to do this sort of thing as a way to get attention. Indeed, around 2020, the organization started pressuring the denim manufacturer to stop using leather for their patches.

Are leather patches used for anything with Levi's

It’s difficult to imagine that they didn’t first do a basic Google search and learn that the leather patches were phased out long before anyone doing animal activism today was born.

In reality, Levi’s Strauss & Co. was only a high-value target for PETA to use to get the press attention they wanted.

Many news articles were written about PETA having pressured them to change their practices, and all of them are fake news.

Whether or not it matters to have a leather patch with Levi’s jeans

Whether or not it matters to have a leather patch with Levi's jeans

If you wish you could get a genuine leather patch on a pair of Levi’s that is understandable.

You will have to search long and hard to find one, and the best you’re almost certainly going to get is a latex-based faux leather patch.

However, the card stock the company has been using since the late 50s is quite durable. It is likely to last longer than the jeans themselves.

Certainly, the jeans will look quite worn before the card stock patch wears out, which is part of a classic denim look anyway.

Do all Levi’s have a leather patch?

This misconception has been reignited by disingenuous activists, unfortunately, diverting valuable time and effort away from real animal cruelty issues.

Do all Levi's have a leather patch?

Some of us are truly concerned about manufacturing practices that are needlessly cruel to animals, and wasting time targeting fake leather products that have been fake for over 60 years does not prevent any cruelty at all. So, while almost all Levi’s jeans do have the patch, it is not real leather.

Final Thoughts 

In the final analysis, PETA’s attention-seeking treatment of the Levi’s brand only managed to cause people working for the company to lose their jobs and did not prevent any actual cruelty to animals.

If real cruelty in the world bothers you, then buying a genuine pair of Levi’s jeans might help the company to end the lay-offs that PETA’s politically motivated meddling has caused.