What’s the difference between mock croc and real croc leather?

In fashion, fake is rarely considered first-rate. By that I mean, you’d be hard-pressed to find someone who has proudly reached for an imitation Bottega Veneta Cassette bag or Cartier LOVE bracelet look-alike. Though, some things are becoming more widely accepted; the best faux fur, for instance, promises the same look without the guilt or steep price point. The same could be said for exotic skins, like crocodile leather.

More and more, faux crocodile leather is deemed a “good fake.” Basically, it’s leather stamped with the differentiating pattern of the animal’s hide (also known as embossed leather). And truly, it’s never looked better than it does now.

Ahead are the differences between faux crocodile leather, or mock croc, and real crocodile leather.

Relatively speaking, mock croc is economical

It’s common knowledge that exotic skins are expensive. It’s in the name—they’re striking, largely because they’re foreign and rare.

Breeding crocodiles and alligators is rather difficult, for reasons that should be implied, so long as you understand the natures of these animals. On top of that, American alligators are less desirable due to their horny backs, so many premium exotic leather hides are sourced from Australia. All of this makes them in short supply.

Balenciaga’s Hourglass Mini Handbag in crocodile-embossed calfskin leather is a fashion-forward faux, priced at $1,150. A similar style that’s roughly half the size in Caiman, or alligator, from Dolce & Gabbana, is $1,495.


In some cases, you can be completely guilt-free

Most faux croc material is stamped cow leather. Though, the faux croc that some vegan fashion brands, like Nanushka, sell are made mostly from polyester, polyurethane and a vegetable-oil coating. Others, like Stella McCartney, have started using Mylo, a leather alternative grown from mushrooms. Either way, using materials that closely resemble animal hides or fur is, for some shoppers, among the most guilt-free ways to wear fashion.

Mock croc allows for more experimentation

Unless they’re creating something bespoke for a customer, designers are more likely to produce styles in genuine crocodile leather that are elegant and, well, safe. This is because the material is more precious. While faux crocodile leather certainly looks luxe, is less rare or valuable, so designers are more willing to experiment with it and impose it on a trend, like a slouchy satchel bag or an offshoot of the classic clog.

Faux croc looks more real than ever—and by that I just mean, it looks expensive

As with anything, technology in fashion has improved over the years. As a result, faux croc is more and more on par with real croc leather, both in terms of look and feel.

That said, faux crocodile leather doesn’t have to be a substitute for the real thing; that is to say, it’s not a status symbol, and you don’t have to buy it because people will think it’s real crocodile skin.


Ready to shop for mock croc shoes and accessories?

As always, these are just guidelines for purchasing faux crocodile and alligator leather goods. With over 20 years in the fashion industry, Esquivel Shoes takes pride in being a fashion industry insider and, at the same time, a valuable resource for shoppers. To learn more about our made-to-order leather shoe collection or any other products we offer, send us a message through this link. We’re here to give you peace of mind and help you find the best leather goods for you.

George Esquivel

George Esquivel

George is a Southern California-based designer and craftsman who designed his first pair of shoes in 1994 and began honing his craft thereafter. For over 20 years, he’s operated his namesake brand, Esquivel, which specializes in handmade shoes and accessories. In the last decade, George served as Creative Director of renowned luxury bag and luggage brand Tumi Inc. and as Creative Consultant for Italian heritage brand Fratelli Rossetti, and has collaborated with many others for his own brand. George was a 2009 CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund finalist, and has been a CFDA member since 2010. When he’s not working alongside his team of artisans at his atelier, Esquivel House, in Downtown Los Angeles, George is enjoying time with his wife and high school sweetheart, Shelley, and their three grown children. He also loves mountain biking and hosting good friends for dinners and fêtes.