Beats Headphones: Why is the Leather Peeling?

Beats sweat damage

Beats aren’t cheap to buy but you probably already knew that.

They don’t have a brilliant reputation amongst audiophiles, either. Not for sound or build quality.  

Whether you think this is fair or not probably depends on how long you’ve owned yours.

We know people still regularly rocking a pair of Beats Solos from 2014.  

Others have bought Beats headphones and the leather has peeled within 12 months.  If Beats say it's down to wear and tear, then you’re not covered by warranty. The problem will be yours to fix and fund. 

Leather peels off most headphones at some point. 

One issue with Beats is that its headphones aren’t made from genuine leather but from a synthetic version so they’re not as durable as they otherwise might be.  Using synthetic leather isn’t unique to the Beats brand and neither is it peeling: Bose and Sony use it to with some of the same issues. 

And even then leather isn’t always as hard-wearing as you might think.  People have purchased Sennheiser headphones with real leather earpads and found that within a few years they’ve started peeling, too. 

We all expect that headphones will one day look their age.  But should it really be happening so soon with some brands? 

Why is the Leather Peeling? 

When we put headphones on our ears, they flex and this movement stretches the material on the earcup and over time can create weak spots that will eventually become visible as cracks or peeling strips. 

Moisture damage is one of the reasons why the leather could be peeling from your Beats headphones.  Sweat that sits on the cushion can penetrate inside and leave the earpad prone to cracking and peeling.  It looks ugly, and it can smell pretty gross, too. 

If you’ve been using anti-bacterial wipes regularly, then this might have affected the material, too.  If you are using liquid to keep the cushions clean and hygienic, then it’s important to wipe away any moisture when you’re done. 

We can all be careless with our headphones from time-to-time and that can affect the material on the earpads, too.  If you’re prone to throwing them onto the car seat or putting them into the bottom of a bag, then it could just be genuine wear and tear. 

Leather doesn’t last forever.  Most people suggest that it’ll be good for around 5-years before it needs replacing.  Synthetic leather can be made cheaply or it can be manufactured to a higher standard of quality and that will dictate the number of years you’ll be able to enjoy with it.  Depending on how many years you’ve owned them, it could just be that their lifespan is up.

Do Beats Have a Lifetime Warranty?

Beats do not have a lifetime warranty.  

They have a one-year warranty that protects them against defective materials or poor workmanship.  You may not recieve a replacement pair for peeling cushions as it could be considered as wear and tear. 

How Can I Stop the Leather Peeling on My Beats Headphones?

You can add moisture-proof covers to the headphone cushions.  If you wear your Beats headphones when exercising, then this is a good proactive way to prevent the leather from peeling.  Using moisture-wicking fabric, the headphone cover will keep sweat away from the cushion. 


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You can buy replacement earpads for Beats headphones.  They’re not official but they’re relatively inexpensive and there are videos on Youtube showing you how to do it quickly and easily.  This isn’t a bad idea but it’s worth remembering that the problem is only going to happen again. It might be worth re-thinking your storage and cleaning routine for your headphones.  It’s definitely worth adding moisture-proof covers to prevent the same thing happening over and over. 

You should wipe your headphones down after each use (or as near as) with a dry lint cloth.  If there’s a mark or stain on the earpad, then use a little warm water.  Sometimes the less is more approach pays dividends. Make sure they've thoroughly dried off before using them or storing them. 

Keep them out of direct sunlight and where possible in the carry case.  Unless you’re trying to reduce the clamping effect on a brand new pair, it’s probably wise not to store them stretched over something as the flex could weaken the synthetic leather. 

Avoid using leather cleaners as these have been known to damage and then crack synthetic earpads.  We’d also be wary of oils designed for fake leather as it’s hard to predict how these could react to the cushions.  

Should I Buy Another Pair of Beats or Ditch the Brand Entirely?

We’re not all audiophiles.

Not everyone wants a genuine wide sound stage experience from their headphones. People like what they like and a lot of people really like Beats headphones.  

And since Apple acquired them back in 2014, they now boast some pretty cool features -- including the fast-fuel function for iOS. 

If you’re happy with Beats headphones, then there’s no reason not to wear and enjoy them, but if the leather is peeling and you’re pissed off and unprepared to be out of pocket from it, then it’s probably time to look at other brands.  

But the build quality of Beats is frequently called into question by audiophiles.  Beats isn't known for the type of sound quality that you get with other similarly priced headphones.  

The New York Times ran an article back in 2015 that said a pair of Beats headphones only cost $14 to make.  That’s a huge markup. It might also shed some light on why the leather on your headphones has started peeling prematurely. 

That same year, according to, Time ranked Beats headphones as the 2nd worst headphones you could buy. 

It’s worth doing the research before you buy or replace your next pair of headphones.  Beats isn’t the only manufacturer to suffer from peeling earpads but it does appear to be the one most prevalent in Google searches. 

Fed up of your Beats headphones peeling?  Just bought a pair of Beats and worried the same could happen to yours?

EarHugz sweat-proof headphone covers are the only pro-active way to protect your Beats from peeling leather and sweat-damage. 


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