No matter what iPad you use, you’ll want a case to protect it. But if you’re feeling fancy, or you’re looking for a gift for an iPad user who would appreciate something more premium, you can’t beat leather.
We’ve selected the best genuine leather cases on the market. There’s no “PU” or “vegan” leather here: this is the real McCoy, genuine dead cow. That’s not for everyone, of course. Some might object to the material on environmental grounds or not want a case that needs a little care to keep looking great, so make sure your gift recipient is okay with leather before making your choice. But for most users, these are all great options for more elegant protection.
We’ve found the best general leather case option, the best for those who prefer a larger “folio” style or a more minimal integrated stand, the best sleeve design, and a novelty “book” case that makes a great gift if you’re looking for something unique. Note that we’re not breaking down our selections by iPad model: for each choice below, you should be able to find versions that will fit the standard iPad, the iPad Mini, and the various iPad Pro models.
The Best All-Around Leather iPad Case: Noreve Tradition ($86-185)
For the general user, this design from French case maker Noreve is the best choice. It includes a full wrap-around shell that protects the tablet itself, a fold-over cover for the screen, and integrated organizer sleeves for extra trinkets like a screen cleaner cloth and notes. The back of the case has a small fold-out kickstand for hands-free viewing, though the Story Leather case below is probably a better choice if you frequently watch videos on your tablet. There are cutouts for the buttons and camera, and a stylus can be secured in the cover snap.
The Noreve case comes in a variety of leather qualities, from PU (read: fake) up to aged and patinated leather in a wide selection of colors. The sweet spot is Noreve’s “Illumination” patent leather, which comes in black, grey, or natural leather for a little over $100 on the standard 9.7-inch iPad. Some of the more expensive leathers and colors may take longer to ship; click the “In Stock” tab on Noreve’s online shop if you’re in a hurry.
The Best Leather Folio iPad Case: Pad and Quill Oxford ($110)
Folio cases are a bit bulkier than a standard case, but they offer more protection and an appealing fold-out design. Pad and Quill’s Oxford, which goes for $110 on the standard iPad, is the one to beat. Its natural leather finish looks fantastic and feels even better, with premium stitching on all seams and a loop for your stylus.
Despite the old-fashioned looks, this case includes the required magnets for the smart cover feature, automatically turning on the screen when you open it. The variants made for the iPad Pro can even fit Apple’s Smart Keyboard underneath the leather, letting users bring along their keyboard without swapping out cases.
The Best Leather iPad Stand Case: Story Leather Smart Shell Pro ($140)
The Apple Smart Cover is indeed smart, but its folding design leaves the back of the tablet exposed. Story Leather’s Smart Shell gives the tablet full protection while aping the folding cover design, giving it a small, thin profile while preserving the ability to stand the iPad horizontally on only a couple of inches of flat surface. Frequent air travelers will appreciate the efficient use of materials.
The case is offered in a variety of leather grains and colors for all current iPad models, each of which leaves strategic openings for ports, buttons, and speakers. Those looking for a personal touch can choose specific colors for the exterior leather and interior soft suede lining. All variants include magnetic closure mechanisms that work with the Smart Cover screen feature.
The Best Leather iPad Sleeve: Capra Leather Draftsman ($65-135)
Even iPad fans who prefer to use their tablets au naturale will want a way to get it from place to place in safety, or protect it in a backpack or purse. Capra Leather’s minimal Draftsman sleeve is a great way to do just that, with single-piece leather construction and hand stitching.
There are a variety of models available, with different flap and cut options and a selection of leather finishes. (Get the smaller Pro options if you’re looking for something for a standard 9.7-inch iPad.) Prices range from $65 for the regular Drafstman up to $135 for the largest “Minded” case, but be aware that the stock fluctuates based on Capra’s leather availability. If you see a color or finish you like, snap it up quickly.
The Best Leather Novelty iPad Case: Twelve South BookBook ($77)
For the iPad owner who’s transitioned to digital reading but still prefers the feel of an old-fashioned book, Twelve South has the perfect solution. The BookBook case is designed to look like, well, a book, with a hardback case cover wrapped in distressed leather. Even the spine has gold leaf printing that looks like it came off the shelf of some long-passed barrister—at least until you actually read it.
The case includes an integrated prop beneath the interior sleeve, which can prop up the iPad in horizontal view, and the iPad Pro variants include a stylus sleeve. A soft felt lining and secure zipper closure—the “pages” of this book—finish off the design. If you’re looking to give something that stands out from the crowd, this will do it.