Cowboy boots are made from all kinds of leather, ranging from simply traditional to rare and exotic. Here’s a quick rundown of the most common leathers and unique features for each.
Jersey Calf Leather | Style: N9055-7/4
1. Cowhide Leather
There’s a reason that cowhide leather is considered the traditional cowboy boots leather, and is the most popular material used for boots. You’ll typically find cowhide leather used on a sturdy pair of work boots because is it extremely durable and difficult to tear or puncture. Those looking for a pair of boots to get messy or do work outdoors will choose cowhide leather because it is less expensive than exotic leather and will absolutely last. Cowhide leather is as flexible as it is durable— you can even have it printed to look like more exotic leather such as snake, lizard, or even crocodile leather!
2. Ostrich Leather
One of the most popular exotic leathers for cowboy boots is ostrich. Ostrich leather is a luxury product because of the extensive production process that it goes through, and simply because there is not as much skin on an ostrich as there is on a cow. Ostrich leather comes in a variety of different patterns, because it can be obtained by different areas on the animal.
Full Quill Leather | Style: M1607-5/4
Full Quill Ostrich
Full quill ostrich leather— the bumpy leather— is quite common and comes from the main part of the bird. The bumps appear where the feathers were plucked.
Ostrich Leg Leather | Style: GB9207-7/3
You can also have ostrich leg leather, which has a pattern of its own— it looks almost like scales, and is often mistaken for reptilian leather. Many people like ostrich leather because of its durability, as well as the fact that the leather is so soft. Ostrich leather also breathes very well and contains natural oils that help it resist cracking or drying.
Goat Leather | Style: N1547-5/4
3. Goat Leather
Goat achieves the delicate balance between a luxury leather and an inexpensive, yet durable, leather. This particular kind of leather features a lot of pores, making it a soft leather that is cool and breathable. Goat leather is extremely flexible and can be dyed in many different ways, giving you more style and color options. Goat leather softens over time and with wear, whereas ostrich leather is soft right off the bat.
Snake Leather | Style: A1017-5/4
Snake, although considered an exotic leather, is growing in popularity! (And not just boots but also handbags, clothing, and wallets.) A pair of snakeskin cowboy boots could come from a number of different snakes, most commonly from python or rattlesnake. What people love most about snakeskin boots are the unique and complex patterns that come from different snakes that can’t be duplicated by any other material. While snakeskin cowboy boots are indeed a thing of beauty, they do require a higher standard of maintenance and care. To keep the scales supple, it is necessary to regularly apply boot conditioner to this leather.
Elephant Leather | Style: M9547-7/4
5. Elephant Leather
This leather is rare, and valuable, because it is difficult to obtain by manufacturers. Strict regulations with the animals require that the leather can only be obtained from an animal that has died of natural causes— a standard that is closely monitored. Elephant leather is extremely tough and scuff-proof, a good choice for work boots, although it will require more care than the traditional cowhide leather cowboy boots.
Lizard Leather | Style: N8759-R/4
6. Lizard and Caiman Alligator Leather
Lizard and caiman alligator leather on cowboy boots are popular due to their distinctive tile pattern and typically have high-gloss finishes and rich, deep colors. Like snakeskin, lizard and caiman alligator require regular care and maintenance to ensure that the hinges between the tiles do not crack.
Caiman Alligator Leather | Style: L1456-7/4