Last updated March 2, 2017
So now that you know why you are buying seat covers – the next step is to determine what material or fabric to choose for them. This is important and really depends: what do you actually use your vehicle for? Keep functionality in mind to get what you need and want for your vehicle. While researching, you will come across Neoprene fabrics, canvas also known as Cordura material, and Sheepskin fabric — just to name a few.
While it’s not possible to cover every car fabric out there, this guide will touch on the most popular materials you’ll find online.
The Big Four Aspects of Car Seat Fabric:
Versatility, Protection, Comfort, and Personalization
So what’s out there in terms of fabrics in the world of seat covers? This post is meant to help you conduct your online research with more knowledge and a better understanding of the main types of automotive fabric that are used to make seat covers (rather than discussing the original auto upholstery fabric that is found in your car). This way, you can make the decision all on your own. The best way to think about it is that each fabric offers a different level of Versatility, Protection, Comfort, and Customization.
Let’s dive right in!
Versatility – NeoSupreme vs Neoprene Fabric
What is Neoprene?
Lots of customers ask us what is Neoprene fabric? Similar to what wetsuits are made of, this kind of car fabric offers a great balance of comfort and protection (and is nice looking to boot). It fits perfectly around your seat’s shape, resists fading in the sun as it is UV protected, and is an all-around great choice for most drivers.
Is There Really a Difference between Neoprene and NeoSupreme?
Now that you’re not longer asking yourself, what is Neoprene material, you might be wondering about the difference between real Neoprene and Neo-Supreme car seat fabric? NeoSupreme is an automotive fabric that is almost like the real thing, minus the waterproof lining – as one seat cover company explains on their website. It is still highly water resistant, but not 100% waterproof. So if you are hopping into your car from the beach sopping wet, you may want to throw a towel down. But if you were to spill water or coffee onto your seat, the liquid will not go straight through to your seat.
The cost of NeoSupreme is often a lot lower than Neoprene fabric, yet the material is formulated specifically for automotive use – unlike a Neoprene wetsuit — which might crack in the sun over time. NeoSupreme is the way to go when you’re fine with something that is water resistant, but not fully waterproof which in most cases, is not absolutely necessary to protect your seats. Shear Comfort sells only NeoSupreme with a quality guarantee. Our automotive fabric. Our fabric car seat covers are highly customizable, and our “neo” based materials come in a number of grayscale and bright colors, with two-tone options to offset any interior nicely.
So in the debate of NeoSupreme vs. Neoprene what can be said is that either version of the car seat fabric is a versatile product suitable for daily commuters, families and those who just want a new look in their car. But the fact that NeoSupreme is specifically designed for automotive purposes makes it a better choice. We suggest reading our NeoSupreme seat covers reviews to see what our customers are saying.
Protection – Cordura Material vs Ballistic Canvas
Do You Actually Need this Level of Protection?
These two canvas-like car seat materials are similar, but Cordura fabric seems to win a few points over Ballistic canvas in terms of fit, quality, and installation (something to be aware of when reading reviews). Cordura tends to have a bit of a higher price as it is the well-known branded product. Both are great for the extra tough use category, though.
Sometimes you just need more out of a car seat material and that extra protection over comfort. Common needs are protecting your work site truck or SUV’s seats from mud and abrasion. Maybe your car or truck carries sporting equipment or gear often. Not to mention your large dog hops in the back now and then. When your seats do take a serious beating, Ballistic and Cordura material are an extremely suitable choice.
Why Choose Cordura?
At Shear Comfort, we sell custom Cordura seat covers. As Cordura is the real deal, branded fabric, we can assure you that this car seat material will resist punctures which will avoid serious repair and may require the replacement of your current automotive upholstery fabric (not cheap!). These seat covers are also waterproof and easy to wipe down. One thing to keep in mind is that this type of car seat material may not fit as nicely as say NeoSupreme, and is not generally as comfortable as others – so do yourself a favor and choose a different seat cover material if you don’t 100% need this level of protection — especially if you just drive your family sedan to work and around town. This is where you need to consider what you need out of the car seat upholstery fabric. This will help you order a seat cover that is ideal for you and your daily usage.
Customization is still possible with Cordura. A handful of different colors are available to hide dirt or dog hair and contrast your interior or blend in with it. You can even go for a make-your-own combination of colors. If you are looking for tough and rugged canvas car seat covers, Cordura is the way to go if you need the ultimate protection for your fabric seats.
Comfort — Sheepskin Fabric or Leatherette Material?
Are These Types of Car Fabric Suitable for Long Drives, Sore Backs, and Insulation?
Let us not forget the importance of pure comfort. Probably one of the most comfortable, not to mention luxurious, car seat material out there is Sheepskin. It is important to know that there are different grades of sheepskin out there. There is a BIG difference when buying real Merino Sheepskin and Imitation Sheepskin. Not only will it look different, it feels different (the imitation stuff can shed easily on your clothes too). 100% Sheepskin fabric is more high wearing, with its nice leather hide that also acts as an insulator.
There are many companies out there that sell fabric seat covers made of Sheepskin. You will notice that there are two types: ready-made and tailor-made Sheepskin seat covers. At Shear Comfort, we sell the real New Zealand Merino Sheepskin in both ready-made and tailor-mad. You get quite a few choices in color too, which is nice if you are trying to compliment the interior.
Now, it is hard to top the comfort of Sheepskin material, but there is another solid contender when it comes to luxury. Imitation leather seat covers are right up there too. Many companies offer leatherette material but they are called different names. Shear Comfort is one of them and we to keep things simple we call it “Leatherette”. Something that leatherette has on Sheepskin though is that it is actually a waterproof material, so it can be categorized as a highly protective seat cover as well.
Note: like leather, it can take on weather. So if it’s hot out, they may get a bit warm on the bum. Contrarily, if it’s chilly out, they may be cold when you first hop into the car. Not an issue if you have heated or air conditioned seats, which these fabric car seat covers are designed to work with. It’ll just take a minute longer to warm up or cool down than your original automotive upholstery fabric.
Both Leatherette and Sheepskin material are higher priced luxury seat covers. If you’re looking for something a bit more affordable, car seat material types like Velour can be a good solution. Velour is velvety to the touch with a lower price point. Also there are well-ventilated Mesh seat covers out there that will give you extra comfort during hot summer seasons.
Once again, it is important to consider functionality when deciding. If you need the extra support and want something luxurious, Sheepskin is perfect for you. But if you’re not interested in Sheepskin or maybe need something that’s waterproof, Leatherette is also comfortable and luxurious and is the right way to go. Now that we’ve explained a few of these products, it should be more clear as to what type of material will offer you comfort and luxury.
Customization — Camo Neoprene Fabric or Canvas?
Add Your Own Sense of Style with Realtree Camo
Realtree Camo, is a fabric that’s not for everyone. But those that like it, love it. It’s just such a personalized look. Yet again, there seems to be more than one version of the fabric. Shear Comfort offers Real Tree Camo in many different patterns – AP, AP Green, Pink, and Snow. Unlike other seat cover companies though, these are canvas car seat covers, not made of a Neoprene fabric or NeoSupreme material – but actually a lot more like Cordura canvas. Neoprene and Cordura, as you now know, are two fabric car seat covers with very different levels of comfort and protection. So when you are browsing, make sure you choose correctly between camouflage neoprene material and canvas before you choose exactly which woodland look you want your seats to have.
If you’re buying Shear Comfort car seat covers, personalization is always a possibility. We have the option of a solid camo canvas car seat covers or a sport look which will have black on the outside panels.
Why Opt for Canvas Camo Instead of Camo Neoprene Seat Covers?
There’s something to be to said as to why many of our customers go for our canvas over the camo neoprene fabric available from others companies. Our Real Tree Camo is an upholstery material for cars and trucks that is really made to last. The reason why we’ve opted to only sell canvas Real Tree Camo seat covers is because in many cases, customers who are purchasing them tend to be outdoor adventurers. While we cannot vouch for everyone, we can say that there are a lot of hunters, hikers, campers, and just lovers of the outdoors who benefit from having the protection of this kind of high wearing seat cover fabric. If you’re looking for all around protection and the Real Tree Camo material, our car seat upholstery fabric will be far more suitable for you. But be your own judge and make sure you’re ordering something that suits your needs.
Bottom Line: Don’t Stress!
Like we said at the beginning of this section of our buying guide, there are a lot of types of car seat material out there. It can be hard to not get overwhelmed at times. By reading through some of the popular fabrics and their differences, you should have a better idea of what’s available online.
Also, we remind you to think of functionality and your needs while trying to find the perfect automotive upholstery fabric for your vehicle. Of course, you should still order a material that you want as well, but by eliminating materials that might not fit your usage, you’ll narrow the list down and make it easier to choose.
Laslly, don’t stress! After reading through reviews and car fabric descriptions, it will become clear which automotive fabric is right for you.