If you appreciate top-quality leather goods, you may have noticed that a lot of attention goes into the stitching along the seams. But much of a leather product’s quality relies on the adhesive used to bond those seams—and not just any type of glue will do.
Whether repairing a jacket or sofa or venturing into leatherworking as a hobby, the best glue for leather will yield better results, ensuring longer-lasting repairs and bonds. Keep reading to learn more about how to choose the right product and why the following options are among the best glues for leather.
- BEST OVERALL: Fiebing’s Leathercraft Cement
- BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: Loctite Ultra Gel Control Super Glue
- BEST FOR SHOES: Aleene’s 15594 Leather & Suede Glue
- BEST FOR FURNITURE: Coconix Vinyl and Leather Repair Kit
- BEST FOR PRECISION: Gorilla Micro Precise Super Glue
- BEST CONTACT CEMENT: Barge All-Purpose TF Cement
What to Consider When Choosing the Best Glue for Leather
The ancient Romans used a mix of tar and beeswax as their leatherworking adhesive of choice. Luckily, modern options are more advanced. When choosing a product, shoppers should keep several factors in mind, including the type of glue, the leather surface, and drying time.
A few different types of glue are suitable for leatherwork and repair, each with pros and cons.
- Leather glues are created with formulas designed specifically to bond leather goods during assembly. These glues create flexible bonds, and they’re typically low in VOCs (volatile organic compounds, which can cause headaches and nausea). Leather glues are easy to apply: They’re spread on one piece of leather and bonded to the other before stitching.
- Leather cements create a flexible bond that’s very difficult to pull apart. They are higher in VOCs than glues (particularly sensitive users should wear a mask) and slightly more complicated to apply, as they must be spread evenly on both surfaces before bonding. The end result is a very strong bond suitable for almost any project, including shoes, jackets, and bags.
- Super glue works on leather in a pinch. Super glue bonds are not flexible, but super glue is good for quick repairs.
Depending on the task or the type of leather, certain glues might work better than others. For instance, if crafting a simple wallet or knife sheath, a basic leather glue can typically handle the job. But if creating a complex bag that requires a lot of stitching, a leather cement is probably best, as the seams will be less likely to separate. In fact, leather cement forms a near-permanent bond, so it’s excellent for intricate projects as well as for gluing shoes and boots and other items that receive stress.
When repairing a piece of furniture or car seat—or any piece that cannot be stitched easily—super glue might do the trick. However, the resulting seam won’t be very flexible, so it could eventually separate.
Waterproof vs. Water-Resistant
Some leathers are well suited for wet conditions, including latigo and bridle leathers, which are treated with waxes and oils. When working with them, choose a leather glue that can hold up under occasionally damp conditions.
Because it’s extremely tacky and has a chemical base, leather cement creates a waterproof seam when applied evenly across two surfaces. It’s the best choice for a backpack or briefcase that might be used during inclement weather.
Super glues usually are waterproof or at least highly water-resistant. Leather glues, on the other hand, may offer some water resistance but aren’t suitable for truly wet conditions.
Leather can be a challenging medium because it’s a natural product that often seems to have a mind of its own. When crafting large leather goods or making repairs on furniture or car seats, drying time can be a big deal. All leather adhesives dry relatively quickly, but different types dry at different rates.
- Leather glues dry slowest, often taking 10 to 20 minutes to bond two pieces of leather. However, a slower drying time can be beneficial because it allows users to make minor adjustments before the glue bonds.
- Leather cement dries very quickly. After spreading the cement evenly on two surfaces, wait 1 or 2 minutes before sticking the seams together. Once the surfaces touch, it forms an immediate bond.
- Super glues also dry within a minute or so. While that’s fast, it might not offer enough time to assemble a craft, which is why it’s suitable only for repairs.
Applying leather glue isn’t difficult, but a bit of preparation and technique help ensure good results. For instance, almost all glues adhere better if the user scuffs the smooth side (the “grain”) of the leather a bit to increase the fibers and surface area. Use a sharp knife to scrape the area to be glued before starting.
- Leather glue typically comes in a squeeze-type bottle. The glue usually flows smoothly, so using the bottle tip to apply it often is sufficient.
- Cement application can be a more challenging process, but a small acid-type brush helps mitigate mess. Be aware that the tacky, stretchable, flexible nature of cement requires careful spreading across the seam.
- Super glues are as easy to apply from the tip of the container to leather as they are to any other surface.
After applying glue, always apply pressure to the seams until it forms a bond. Many leather crafters pound their seams with a small mallet to ensure they lie flat and create a secure bond. Others opt for small butterfly-style paper clips along the seam to apply even pressure. However, note that many leather glues can be difficult to remove once applied.
Our Top Picks
Leather is tough and durable, yet it feels luxurious. Check out the following compilation of some of the best glues for leather on the market to help choose the right product for leather craft and repair projects.
For glue-like workability and cement-strength bonding, consider Fiebing’s Leathercraft Cement. This product features a low-VOC, nontoxic formula that flows easily from the squeeze tip, making for safe and easy application. The resulting bond is very strong and flexible, so it’s suitable for almost any leather project, such as shoes, bags, wallets, and furniture.
To use, apply a thin layer of this leather adhesive across the two surfaces to be bonded, and, unlike other cements, press them together while still wet. This allows a few extra moments to position the leather perfectly before creating a permanent bond.
- Type: Cement
- Drying Time: 12 to 24 hours
- Waterproof: No
- Compatible Surfaces: Leather only
- Low-VOC, nontoxic formula
- Squeeze tip
- Permanent bond
- Slow drying time
- Suitable for leather only
- Not waterproof
Get Fiebing’s glue for leather on Amazon or at Fiebing’s.
If trying to get a few more miles out of leather goods, Loctite’s Ultra Gel Control Super Glue can get the job done for less than the price of a professional repair. This super glue creates permanent bonds in leather as well as on plastic, wood, paper, ceramics, and other surfaces.
Unlike most other super glues, Loctite’s formula creates a flexible bond that leather goods typically require for a permanent repair. Use the tip to apply this glue to a small area, such as a seam, small tear, or other separation. It dries clear and provides a water-resistant bond, making it suitable for repairs in nearly any leather product.
- Type: Super glue
- Drying Time: 5 minutes (dry); 12 to 24 hours (cure)
- Waterproof: No
- Compatible Surfaces: Leather, wood, rubber, glass, metal, and more
- Resists water, shock, and vibrations
- Suitable for porous and nonporous surfaces
- Dries clear
- Easy-to-use side-squeeze bottle
- May wear over time
- Not waterproof
Get Loctite glue for leather on Amazon, The Home Depot, or Walmart.
Professional shoe repair is expensive, and some conventional leather glues can’t complete a quality DIY job. So rather than toss those shoes, give Aleene’s Leather & Suede Glue a try. This product creates a flexible, durable bond between layers of leather, providing the fusion required for various shoe repairs.
Aleene’s leather adhesive has a customizable tip that makes application straightforward. Simply cut the tip to the desired opening size and squeeze a bit onto the leather before applying pressure to create a permanent bond. While this formula flows well, it won’t soak all the way through and cause discoloration—a big plus when repairing expensive leather footwear.
- Type: Leather glue
- Drying Time: 24 hours
- Waterproof: Water-resistant
- Compatible Surfaces: Leather and suede
- Customizable squeeze tip
- No discoloration
- Can’t be dry cleaned or washed
Get Aleene’s glue for leather on Amazon, Sears, or Walmart.
A leather glue occasionally must do more than just stick two pieces together. When repairing damage on a leather couch or chair, for instance, the Coconix Vinyl and Leather Repair Kit can create flexible, long-lasting, and color-matched repairs. This leather repair glue kit comes with 10 colors, allowing users to mix and blend to create an ideal color match.
The kit comes with a mixing cup, brush, and canvas backing material for large rips. After mixing, dip the brush in the glue and dab it over the affected area. Once dry, even it out by rubbing with the included alcohol pads until smooth.
- Type: Leather glue
- Drying Time: 24 to 36 hours
- Waterproof: No
- Compatible Surfaces: Furniture, jackets, boat and car interiors, and more
- 10 colors included
- Mixing cup, brush, and canvas backing material
- Lengthy drying time
- Not waterproof
Get the Coconix glue for leather on Amazon or at Coconix.
When gluing leather requires precision, Gorilla Micro Precise Super Glue allows users to work just the right amount of glue from the tip and onto the exact area in need of repair. This type of control allows users to fix a small tear fast—and prevent it from spreading.
Gorilla Micro Precise Super Glue works on leather as well as plastic, metal, paper, ceramics, and other materials. It dries in 10 to 45 seconds, making quick work of small repairs.
- Type: Super glue
- Drying Time: 10 to 45 seconds
- Waterproof: No
- Compatible Surfaces: Leather, plastic, wood, metal, paper, ceramics, and more
- Easy-to-control flow with side-squeeze design
- Glue is clearly visible during repair
- Comfortable to hold
Get Gorilla glue for leather on Amazon, Ace Hardware, or Target.
Those looking to use the same product as pros and experienced crafters will want to check out Barge All-Purpose TF Cement. This contact cement instantly creates flexible bonds between pieces of leather as well as rubber, wood, glass, cork, and other materials. The powerful, pliable bond is so strong that professional cobblers have relied on Barge for years.
Applying Barge is fairly easy, though it does require a bit of technique. Using an acid brush, apply a bit of the contact cement along the entire seam on both pieces of leather. After this contact cement dries for a minute or so, press the pieces together for an instant, durable bond. Just be careful not to get Barge on any of the finished surfaces, as it’s nearly impossible to remove. Moreover, Barge is a classic contact cement, which means it contains potentially irritating VOCs and solvents.
- Type: Contact cement
- Drying Time: 1 to 2 minutes
- Waterproof: No
- Compatible Surfaces: Leather, rubber, wood, glass, cork, and more
- Professional quality
- Easy to apply
- Suitable for a variety of surfaces
- Dries quickly
- Impossible to remove once applied
- Contains VOCs and solvents
Get Barge All-Purpose cement on Amazon, Ace Hardware, or Walmart.
For a reliable option that can glue leather, lasts for years, and is safe to use in homes with children and pets, we recommend Fiebing’s glue for leather. This nontoxic glue contains low VOCs and creates a strong bond that lasts forever on leather. Alternatively, the Loctite glue for leather is a budget-friendly pick that can be used on leather, wood, rubber, glass, metal, and more and dries in just 5 minutes.
How We Chose the Best Glues for Leather
We researched the most sought-after glues for leather projects in their respective categories and discovered that the best options are determined by the type, drying time, compatibility with multiple surfaces, and the other special features included by top brands.
While searching for the best glues for leather, super glues, leather glues, cements / contact cements, and leather repair kits were the most popular among users for their strong adhesive quality and ease of use. Though many of these options take 24 to 36 hours to fully cure, select options dry immediately or in a matter of minutes and leave no residue behind after drying. Plus, many come with squeeze tips for precise application.
While each can bond leather, some are also safe to use for household projects with ceramics, wood, rubber, glass, metal, plastic, paper, and more. Moreover, we included glues that resist moisture, abrasions, vibrations, and heat, and some can even be color matched to blend with various materials.
For a bit more information on buying and using leather glue, keep reading for the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about these products.
Q: What kind of glue works on leather?
Several types of glue work on leather, including contact cements, super glues, and traditional leather-specific glues.
Q: Does Gorilla Glue work on leather shoes?
Gorilla Glue does work on leather shoes, but it can be difficult to work with its traditional form. DIY cobblers might prefer something with a bit more control, like Gorilla Super Glue, as it’s one of the best precision-oriented super glues.
Q: How do you glue leather to leather?
If using leather glue to adhere flesh side to flesh side (the rough sides of the leather), simply apply the glue to the grain side of one piece and to the other side. Then clamp or pound the seam flat until bonded. If gluing grain (the finished side of the leather), rough it up first with a knife or piece of sandpaper before applying glue.
For contact cement, apply a thin layer to both pieces, allow them to dry for a minute, and then stick both seams together. Scratch the grain side of the leather before applying cement.