Cowboy boots originated in the 1800s in the American southwest and had since remained very popular. They are now worn by both women and men worldwide and are available in different styles, colors, and shapes.
The classic western, roper, western work, buckaroo and stockman designs are the main design options available nowadays for cowboy boots. The boots are worn with collared shirts, close-fitting dark jeans, dress trousers, and jackets.
Those looking for an authentic western look can add leather belts with decorative buckles and hats to their outfits. Men’s cowboy boots are however not all similar. One of the primary differences between the boots is the leather used to make them.
The following are the leather types used for cowboy boots currently.
Cowhide or Calfskin Leather
This is the original leather used for cowboy boots owing to its availability on ranches where the boots were mostly used. Cowhide and calfskin leather remains the standard mark of durability and comfort for cowboy boots. Calfskin leather has a tighter hide compared to cowhide, but it is as fine as the latter.
Both types of leather are however prone to scuffs and cuts, and proper maintenance of the boots is hence vital. Polishing, moisturizing and cleaning as well as rinsing your boots after use are essential tasks in their maintenance.
This is mostly similar to cowhide leather but is tougher compared to the latter. It is hence generally used for boots that will be worn in demanding labor. Though expensive, horsehide leather is more durable than other types of leather and requires minimal maintenance.
This is imported from Australia and renowned for its tightness and thickness which makes it the strongest leather used for cowboy boots.
The toughness is attributed to the closely intertwining fibers of kangaroo leather which crisscross several directions. Its texture is similar to that of cowhide leather and requires occasional maintenance.
This has gained popularity for cowboy boots recently because of its toughness. Alligator leather retains the hardness attributed to the connection of its soft membranes between scales when properly treated and can last for ages. Crocodile leather closely mirrors the properties of alligator leather but is more expensive than the latter since it is not readily available.
This is harvested from rattlesnakes, anacondas or pythons. The properties of the leather differ according to the type of snake it is gotten from. Python snakeskin is, for instance, the strongest while that from the rattlesnake has a tough finish.
Leather from water snakes is delicate and generally used for dress boots. Snakeskin leather irrespective of its origin is durable but yellows with age. The yellowing can, however, be slowed down with proper long-term care.
All the above types of leather need conditioning after you clean and dry your boots to keep them shining. Disregarding leather conditioning allows the accumulation of dirt and dust into the leather which dries out its fibers and compromises the boots’ durability. The best conditioner to use is a lanolin-based one since it also prevents the fading of your boots.