Cowboy boots have been around since the late 18th and early 19th centuries, starting with the needs and ideas of peasants.
Farmers in the wild west of America needed were affordable, sturdy and safe shoes to support horseback riding. Also, the materials for these shoes should be easy to make and easy to find. For that reason, cowboy boots were born.
In the early days, cowboy boots were made almost exclusively from cowhide. However, over the centuries of existence and evolution, cowboy boots were made from many different leather materials.
Each cowboy boot material has its own strengths and weaknesses. And this is also what we discuss today.
Besides, we also show you the most durable leather for cowboy boots.
Now, let’s get started!
- What kind of leather are cowboy boots made of?
- Cowboy boots made from cowhide
- Cowboy boots made from ostrich skin (exotic leather)
- Cowboy boots made from crocodile skin (exotic leather)
- Cowboy boots made from lizard skin (exotic leather)
- Cowboy boots made from shark skin (exotic leather)
- Cowboy boots made from stingray skin (exotic leather)
- Cowboy boots made from horse skin
- Cowboy boots made from kangaroo leather (exotic leather)
- Cowboy boots made from snakeskin (exotic leather)
- Cowboy boots made from goat skin
- Cowboy boots made from elephant skin (exotic leather)
- What is the most durable leather for cowboy boots?
- What is the best leather for cowboy boots?
What kind of leather are cowboy boots made of?
Cowboy boots are made from a variety of leather, but we will try to list the most common ones for you, and also highlight their pros and cons.
Here are 11 skin types commonly used to make cowboy boots.
Cowboy boots made from cowhide
Cowhide leather was the material easily found in the western United States in the late 18th century. Cowhide was affordable, durable, sturdy and safe.
For these reasons, early cowboy boots were mostly made from cowhide.
Despite centuries of development, cow leather is still the main raw material for most cowboy boots on the market today.
Cowhide boots can be used for various purposes, from office work, fashion, to outdoor work and outdoor activities …
Cowboy boots made from cowhide leather are usually affordable.
However, it is very important to have proper care methods for cowboy boots made from cowhide leather so that they can be shiny, soft, comfortable and retain their original color for a long time.
Cowboy boots made from ostrich skin (exotic leather)
After cowhide, ostrich leather is the skin you mostly see on the cowboy boots market today.
The ostrich cowboy boots have a very unique look with bumpy leather. However, these boots are not 100% ostrich leather. Ostrich skin is only at the foot, while the shaft is usually made from cowhide.
Ostrich cowboy boots have a sophisticated, luxurious and elegant appearance. Besides, ostrich skin is soft, comfortable and easy to maintain.
Cowboy boots made from ostrich leather usually cost more than cowhide.
Cowboy boots made from crocodile skin (exotic leather)
Crocodile cowboy boots are mostly made from caiman crocodile skin.
After ostrich and cow leather, it can be said that crocodile skin is the next favorite material for making cowboy boots.
The number of crocodile cowboy boots is limited as they are handcrafted. That explains why cowboy boots made from crocodile skin are often quite expensive.
You can find cowboy boots made from caiman crocodile skin at handcrafted brands such as Lucchese, Tony Lama …
Possessing a luxurious and strong look with rich and deep color, crocodile cowboy boots give the wearer a masculine aura.
One interesting thing is that if you look at the top 10 most expensive cowboy boots in the world, there are many boots made from crocodile skin. Evidence is that a pair of Lucchese cowboy boots made from Nile blue alligator leather can cost thousands of dollars.
You can feel the high class of alligator leather cowboy boots.
Cowboy boots made from lizard skin (exotic leather)
In addition to crocodiles – the common reptiles to create classy cowboy boots, iguana or ringtail are two species of lizards that are also favored by boot makers.
Most cowboy boots are made from the belly of a lizard where the patterns are the most uniform and beautiful.
Cowboy boots made from lizard are quite expensive and the number of boots is also limited.
Cowboy boots made from shark skin (exotic leather)
Shark skin is not used too much, but is also one of the materials for cowboy boots.
This type of skin has rough, ragged characteristics that can resist scratches well. This skin type stands out from other leather because of its waterproof ability.
However, cowboy boots made from shark skin are not breathable, which can cause heat and discomfort for the wearer.
Cowboy boots made from stingray skin (exotic leather)
Besides the shark, another marine animal, the stingray, is also in the target range of boot makers.
With tough, scratch-resistant and water-resistant properties, stingray skin is common in western work boots.
However, because of the tough skin of the stingray, the boot makers have a lot of difficulty in machining, so the number of cowboy boots made from stingray is not much.
Cowboy boots made from horse skin
Much like cowhide, horsehide is also a popular material used by boot makers to create beautiful cowboy boots.
Horse leather is typically stiffer than cowhide, so it is often used to build cowboy boots for heavy duty jobs.
Besides, horse leather has high elasticity, good durability and does not need much maintenance like cow leather. Along with that, horse leather cowboy boots are also more expensive than cowhide cowboy boots.
Cowboy boots made from kangaroo leather (exotic leather)
Kangaroo’s skin is one of the materials that make cowboy boots very strong and tough.
Kangaroo leather boots are durable, supple and flexible. This skin type is lighter than cowhide.
Many bulletproof materials are designed based on Kangaroo’s skin structure.
Many athletes use cowboy boots made of kangaroo leather to enhance performance.
However, Kangaroo skin still needs regular maintenance to keep its quality intact.
Cowboy boots made from snakeskin (exotic leather)
Cowboy boots made from snakeskin are becoming more and more popular.
A pair of cowboy boots can be made from many types of snakes, most notably rattlesnakes and python.
This is an exotic leather, so it stands out by having unique and different textures. You will get the beauty that few other cowboy boots can have.
However, to maintain a snake-skin cowboy boot requires a lot of effort and technology, you should learn carefully about these methods.
Cowboy boots made from goat skin
Goat leather is an interesting skin. It has a beautiful and luxurious appearance, but it is not expensive at all.
Besides, this type of skin can help your feet easily breathe by the texture of many pores. I easily feel annoyed by heat so goatskin cowboy boots are really my savior.
With the design of many pores, goat skin can breathe, making them soft and flexible. Another plus is that the goatskin is very durable.
Boots makers also love goat leather because this skin is easy to work with, easy to dye or print.
However, if you often work outdoors or do heavy duty jobs, this skin type may not be safe enough to serve your job because it is quite soft.
Cowboy boots made from elephant skin (exotic leather)
Unlike many other skin types, elephant skin is very valuable because of their rarity. As one of the preserved animals, brands are only allowed to use the skin from elephants that have died of natural causes – strictly tested against different standards.
For that reason, elephant leather cowboy boots are often expensive and rare. And they are really worth your money.
With high toughness, good durability and good scratch resistance, elephant skin is a very good choice for western work boots.
What is the most durable leather for cowboy boots?
Cowboy boots are made from a variety of leather including snake skin, cow skin, crocodile skin, ostrich skin, kangaroo skin, shark skin, elephant skin… And each skin type has its own advantages and disadvantages.
However, to choose the most durable leather for cowboy boots, we would like to pick the Kangaroo leather cowboy boots. They are the most durable, powerful and toughest.
The characteristics of Kangaroo leather are perfect.
The kangaroo leather structure consists of many tightly interwoven fibers and crisscrossed in many directions. This type of structure is almost comprehensive for cowboy boots to be durable, strong and tough that no other skin type has.
In fact, a lot of the manufactured bulletproof materials have a texture based on the sample texture of kangaroo leather.
What is the best leather for cowboy boots?
What type of leather is best for cowboy boots depends on your purpose, cowboy boot types and beauty perception.
Subjectively, if you need multi-purpose cowboy boots (go to work, go out), affordable, diverse models to choose from, cowboy boots made from cowhide are the best.
But if you’re someone who works outdoors and often faces sudden rains, then use cowboy boots made of fat or stingray skin. These are the 2 skin types with the best water and scratch resistance.
Or if you need highly safe, durable and tough western work boots, cowboy boots made from elephant or kangaroo leather are ideal companions.
In general, depending on your needs and goals, each skin type will work best one way or another.
Do you have your own answer yet? If you’re looking for the toughest and most durable cowboy boots, we think kangaroo leather cowboy boots are the best.
However, each skin type will have many different advantages and disadvantages, you should carefully consider what your purpose is to make the right decision when choosing boots.
Anyway, good luck!