When you need a bag that can go the distance, the best leather totes are good-looking carryalls with enough capacity for the daily grind; and, thanks to their long-lasting construction, you’ll reach for them for years to come. Whether you’re in the market for a
trendy tote bag, a spacious commuter bag, or an investment-worthy day-to-night bag, here’s what to consider to get the most bag for your buck. What To Look For When Shopping For Leather Totes
When shopping for leather products, you’re likely to come across two terms: Full-grain and top-grain.
Full-grain leather is the most luxurious option, as it uses the entire hide; top-grain leather is a quality but less expensive alternative, as the top layer of the hide is sanded down. That said, some brands — even higher-end ones — don’t specify the type of leather they use, and instead simply list the material as “genuine leather.” Since genuine leather totes can be cost-prohibitive (and some people prefer not to wear real leather), you’ll find a few high-quality, budget-friendly faux-leather bags on this list, as well.
Regardless of which type of leather you choose, think about whether you’d like your tote bag to have a lining. A lining will protect your leather bag from capless pens and rogue lipstick marks, but going without allows for the natural leather to show and makes for a less structured bag.
Size & Shape
In terms of structure and shape, keep in mind both what and how much you plan to carry, as well as your preferred carrying style. A bigger bag has more room for shoes, a change of clothes, and the like, but the extra size adds bulk. Not a problem if you’re looking for a
weekender bag for trips, but less ideal for your daily tote bag.
On that note, consider whether you’d like a bag with one roomy main compartment — also ideal for an
overnight bag — or, if you don’t want a bag that can hold the kitchen sink, look for one with a divided interior that keeps daily essentials organized and within easy to reach. Also, some bags have a full-zip or snap closure for extra security, while others are open for easy access to your things. Here as well, the option you choose is totally dependent upon your personal preference.
The handle drop is worth considering, too, to make sure it hangs at the length that’s most comfortable to you, whether that’s snugly under your arm, further down your torso, or one that can be worn as a close-fitting
crossbody bag. Some options also have top handles for more versatility. Lifestyle
Of course, none of the above details matter if the bag isn’t built for your life. A leather
tote for work is even more practical when you add a padded laptop compartment or USB port that keeps you charged. Frequent travelers might appreciate travel bags with trolley sleeves or a small shoe compartment. Need a tote you can wear for both errands and after-work cocktails? Consider this your permission slip to splash out on a designer bag you’ll use constantly.
Whatever your daily essentials might be, the best leather totes can handle the load.
Editor’s Pick: This Elegant Tote Bag From Across The Pond
This Radley London
leather tote is a British heritage icon for its graceful minimalism and thoughtful construction in supple pebbled leather. Designed in London, it has a roomy open pocket big enough to fit a laptop, plus an interior zippered pocket and a phone pocket. The interior is fully lined, and its two sets of soft straps slip nicely over a shoulder, or carries well in-hand. A removable tag embossed with the brand’s Scottie mascot is a cheeky finishing touch.
Editor praise: “This is just a very thoughtfully designed tote. I especially love the interior phone pocket so I don’t have to fish around in the depths of the bag for it. I also love the top looped closure for when I want a more secure feel. The pebbled leather looks and feels luxe, and the size is perfect. Holds my daily essentials with ease — a laptop, a couple of magazines or notebooks, phone, wallet, and water bottle. ” – Kate Miller, Bustle editor
Available Colors: 1 | Material: Genuine Leather
A Minimalist Leather Bag That’s Perfect For Daily Wear
leather tote is a great option for shoppers who want to invest in high-end design without breaking the bank. It’s made from genuine leather with a durable polyester lining, and the full zip-top closure keeps everything protected when you’re on the go. The open interior compartment has plenty of space for a laptop and several notebooks, and a selection of small open and zippered pockets inside each wall lets you stash a wallet or earbuds without losing them. The decorative leather fob is a classic touch, and the bottom is protected with a row of metal feet.
A helpful review: “This bag is beautiful and very well made and costs so much less than particular expensive brand. Inside and outside finished perfectly. The little brass feet on bottom are usually only found on high end purses. I ordered the yellow and get compliments all the time. Beautiful selection of colors. Will no doubt buy again.”
Available Colors: 15 | Material: Genuine Leather
An Iconic Leather Tote You’ll Carry For Life
It’s hard to think of a more durable bag than
Frye’s Melissa tote, which is built to last from high-quality genuine leather with handcrafted workmanship. Its refined lines make for an ideal everyday bag that can transition from casual to corporate, and the pull-up leather only gets more nuanced with age. It’s fully lined, with a center zip divider and an extra interior zippered pocket to keep your valuables safe inside the open snap closure. A key fob is a thoughtful added detail. If you’re ready to invest, you’ll get decades of returns out of this heritage piece.
A helpful review: “This bag is stunning. The wine color is gorgeous. The quality is apparent. The smell is intoxicating. I love love love this bag! On a practical note, this bag is perfect for work. I can put a full size binder and laptop in one side and all my usual purse things in the other, plus a nalgene and/or coffee thermos […] soooo happy I splurged.”
Available Colors: 6 | Material: Genuine Leather
This Classic Leather Tote Made In Italy
Floto Bags are designed in Brooklyn and made in Italy, resulting in a
modern leather tote with old-world craftsmanship you can actually see. The inside is unlined to reveal the signature organic markings of the manufacturing process, right down to the fingerprints of the artisans who made each bag. You’ll also find a single interior zip pocket for securing small items, but this full-grain leather tote is lightweight and unadorned, so it’s easier on your arm. Plus, it can be packed down flat in a suitcase.
A helpful review: “This bag is a few months shy of a year old and is one of my go to bags. It was beautiful in the beginning and has remained so. If you happen to like/love leather that shows its unique quality through natural markings you will love this bag for the long-haul. I have used it as an everyday purse as well as a day bag on vacation in Mexico toting my towel and essentials on a boat and in a rain storm and it dried beautifully and maintained its sturdiness.”
Available Colors: 2 | Material: Full-Grain Leather
This Cheap AF Faux-Leather Tote With A Serious Cult Following
I own this bag and I’m here to tell you that the hype is real: this
faux-leather tote is a fabulous value for the money. The faux leather is thick and sturdy with a minimalist design that looks like a high-end bag — the only thing I’d change would be to soften the straps. It’s deep enough to contain a large purse organizer and an extra pair of shoes, and wide enough for my 15.6-inch Macbook. A single large pocket inside is perfect for holding keys and other small necessities with room to spare. And it comes in a ridiculous range of colors and multiple textures, at a price that could make them a seasonal update. Don’t believe me? Over 34,000 shoppers gave it a perfect five-star rating.
A helpful review: “I purchased this bag in grey to use for recent travel. It is so much nicer than I anticipated and I love it! Seems very durable and well made…it is not only beautiful and fashionable, but also light weight and easy to carry.”
Available Colors: 100+ | Material: Faux Leather
An Oversized Leather Carryall In A Luxe Croc Embossment
stylish leather tote bag comes in a few lust-worthy croc embossed finishes, though the richly marbled options in the same listing are equally luxurious. Whichever you choose, they’re all built from full-grain leather and offer a roomy, open main compartment that secures with a snap. The lining is made of quick-drying polyester that protects the leather exterior from damage. There are two pockets inside for sunglasses and a phone, and a large exterior zip pocket on the back keeps other items accessible yet secure. Five metal feet on the bottom keep it elevated, so you can set your bag down without a second thought.
A helpful review: “I purchased this bag as an attempt to consolidate my work purse and tote in an attractive, yet reasonably priced bag. I wanted something that I wouldn’t be afraid to USE day to day. So far, this bag is perfect. The size is great! I can fit my medium sized purse contents, medical bag, 6”x9” daily planner, and normal sized wallet. The shoulder strap is a good size to carry the bag on your shoulder or in your hand. I would recommend this bag!”
Available Colors: 9 | Material: Full-Grain Leather
A Spacious, Faux-Leather Laptop Bag With A USB Charging Port
faux-leather laptop bag is a high-powered option for work or travel — literally. The polyurethane leather is water- and scratch-resistant, and has a faux-Saffiano finish that adds luxe texture. It also comes with a matching zip pouch for a cohesive look. The covered USB port hooks up to your power bank so you can charge up throughout your commute, and there’s a padded laptop sleeve that protects the rest of your tech. In addition, it features a divided interior for day-to-day organization with lots of extra pockets and a dedicated umbrella sleeve. The bottom is reinforced so it won’t buckle under the load, and four metal feet protect the finish if you need to set it down.
A helpful review: “Absolutely obsessed with this bag! I’m a college student and I got tired of lugging around a heavy backpack every day to travel on campus. […] Somehow, I put the same items that I would in my backpack in this little bag right here and it feels WAY better!! I barely feel it at all. I can store a Macbook Air, a notebook, an iPad, textbooks, a pencil case, an umbrella, small items like lip balm, and my 40 oz water bottle. And I could probably squeeze some more small items in if I wanted to. It also comes with pockets and neat dividers. Don’t underestimate how much this thing can hold!”
Available Colors: 4 | Material: PU Leather
A Deep Bucket Tote With Comfortable Shoulder Straps
leather bucket tote is a trendier take on the carryall with just as much cargo space, and you may find that the wide shoulder straps make it more comfortable to haul. This top-grain leather tote is technically unlined, and comes instead with a removable zippered pouch — which seems odd until you realize how easy it will be to keep everything ultra-clean. That little bag has plenty of pockets to help you stay organized, and it also allows you to keep everything tucked away safely in the open-top bag. For days you want to shake up your style, it comes with a second shoulder strap in a bright, colorful geometric pattern.
A helpful review: “This tote bag/purse is very high quality & just beautiful. I love that it has outside pockets & all my makeup & stuff goes in the inner bag. Then when I’m reaching for my wallet, the bag is the only other thing I fumble with.”
Available Colors: 24 | Material: Top-Grain Leather
A Leather Tote Bag With 2 Types Of Straps For Extra Style Mileage
If you want the option to carry your tote as a shopper or a shoulder bag, this top-grain
leather tote bag offers multiple stylish options. Thick curved handles slip easily into the crook of your arm, and the detachable, adjustable shoulder strap allows you to go hands-free, either by slinging it over your shoulder or across your body. Inside is a soft fabric lining with a divided interior separated by a full-length zippered compartment, plus a few interior pockets for things like your phone and keys. It comes in two practical sizes (Large, listed here; and Small, which costs slightly less), depending on how much you carry in a day.
A helpful review: “I have many high end handbags that I have spent a lot more for. This bag is very beautiful. It is a bit larger than I expected but not a lot. It has tons of room, an inside zipper section and 2 large pockets for your cell phone and a side zipped pocket as well. Love the choice of straps and handles. I will use this a lot. I ordered the Small in burnt orange and it is a rich color perfect for all season!! Mine smelled like wonderful leather, no bad smell!!”
Available Colors: 5 | Material: Top-Grain Leather
A Designer Leather Tote With Just Enough Attitude
A touch of goth-chic hardware and a minimalist tassel adds Rebecca Minkoff’s signature uptown edge to this soft pebbled
leather tote. Its spacious, unlined interior can hold a laptop and more with a simple snap closure. In terms of organization, this open-pocket bag has one large sleeve pocket on the inside and one on the outside, so you can keep smaller items within easy reach, without needing to dig through multiple compartments.
A helpful review: “I took a chance & this purse did not disappoint! I was so excited when I received it & it was such great quality! The leather is super soft yet durable, and the purse is big and very roomy. I can easily carry the essentials plus my 23 oz water bottle inside the purse without a problem. It gets heavy at times but I still love it! Awesome purse & great buy! Highly recommend.”
Available Colors: 3 | Material: Genuine Leather
This Travel-Ready Leather Tote With A Dedicated Compartment For Shoes
leather tote bag is a convenient option for every day, but where it really shines is on the road thanks to a few travel- or commuter-ready upgrades. The zippered shoe compartment is just big enough for an extra pair of flats, some toiletries, or even your lunch, and the exterior zippered pocket hides a built-in trolley strap that slides over a suitcase handle for added convenience through airport security. Inside is a padded laptop divider that will hold screens up to 14 inches, and plenty of pockets besides. An optional shoulder strap gives you the ability to carry hands-free. For a roomier option, consider this imitation leather weekender from a different brand with a larger shoe compartment.
A helpful review: “I love this computer bag! […] The bottom zipper area is perfect for shoes, or, if you’re like me, the ‘necessities’ […] all the things I think I might need from time-to-time. I can fit my ear bud case and iPhone in one of the inside pockets, the other holds sunglasses. I love the design of the bag. Even if you don’t choose to use it as a computer bag, you can use that area for an iPad or other fragile items, because it’s padded. Can’t say enough good things about this bag! It’s absolutely perfect!!!”
Available Colors: 1 | Material: Top-Grain Leather
A Braided Leather Tote At A Price That’s Too Good To Pass Up
braided tote bag has earthy good looks and the materials to match. The genuine leather is vintage-washed in ultra-rich hues, including moss green and deep lapis, with a hand-woven braided panel in the center that adds even more depth and texture. Its interior is lined in natural cotton, and it offers good, all-purpose storage: a single large compartment with a few pockets, plus an exterior zip pocket tucked in the back. And don’t sleep on that price — it’s not often you can score a genuine leather tote for well under $50.
A helpful review: “Just the right size – bigger than my usual purse, but not by too much. (Leather smells good too.) And very good looking! I’m pleased to have found what I needed at such a nice price.”
Available Colors: 5 | Material: Genuine Leather
Also Nice: A Faux-Leather Tote That Converts Into A Backpack
Sleek yet functional, this
faux-leather convertible backpack has tons of versatility. Wear it on your back for a hands-free commute, then convert it into a shoulder bag when you get to the office. Headed out for happy hour later? Two minimalist top-handle straps carry like a modern bucket purse. The single large exterior sleeve is great for essentials, and there’s a security pocket that rests against your back so you can find your phone without unzipping the top. The lined interior has a padded laptop compartment (it’ll fit screens up to 14 inches), as well as several smaller sleeve pockets, including a few pen loops.
A helpful review: “Love my new tote bag/purse! It is extremely durable and well made. The leather is soft and cleans well. I love the three different options of carrying it. Holds my laptop and other necessities well. Very pleased with my purchase.”
Available Colors: 3 | Material: Faux Leather
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