How To Identify The Highest Quality Leather Cowboy Boots

26 February 2015
 Categories: , Articles

Cowboy boots can make great fashion accessories and they can also be used during equestrian sports. Cowboy boots traditionally feature high shafts, square heels, and pointed toes. The footwear is generally constructed out of leather materials as well. If you are in the market to purchase a pair of cowboy boots, then you should make sure the leather is good quality. High quality boot materials will last longer, wear better, and offer the best protection for your feet. Keep reading to find out what kind of things you should look for when inspecting leather cowboy boots.

Find Perfect Leather

Leather goods manufacturers will work with large cow hides to make leather during a lengthy process. Salting, soaking, liming, pickling, and degreasing will all occur during the process with materials like salt, water, lime, acid, and chromium. Once processing is over, the leather is laid flat and inspected for imperfections. Large areas of perfect materials are then cut out and used to make high quality goods. Leftover leather may be stitched or pieced together and some of these imperfections will show up across the surface of cowboy boots.

If you want the highest quality boots, then make sure that imperfections are not noticeable. The following blemishes may be seen.

  • Branding - Areas where livestock markings that feature letters are left on the hide.
  • Flea bites - Freckles or small dots where the cow was previously bitten by insects.
  • Scars - Long and deep scratches within the leather where injuries to the skin occurred.
  • Fat wrinkles - Flat areas of leather where natural striations or grains are interrupted.

Look for Full Grain Hides

When leather is processed, it is sometimes cut or shorn so that a single piece of leather can be used to make three or four different products. The different cuts are referred to as grains. The best leather is not trimmed and called full grain. This leather contains the entire thickness or striated hide that has been separated from the flesh and suede material underneath.  

Top and split grain leather are created by separating full grain leather into two pieces. Top grain is made from the top of the hide and split grain from the bottom piece. Top grain leather is higher quality than split grain, but it is not nearly as durable and breathable as full grain materials.

To make sure that your leather cowboy boots are made out of full grain leather, inspect the leather for good thickness. The material will be somewhat rigid, as well, and striations will appear deep. There may be shade variations across the material too, that indicate that sanding and cutting did not occur.

Inspect the Dye

Leather hides are dyed or pigmented in a variety of different ways to add color and protection to the surface of the material. When increased scratch and scuff protection is required, then polymer pigments are used. These pigments are sometimes added as well to cover up imperfections and poor quality leather hides. The dyes sit over the grain too, and they feel unnatural when felt by the skin. Pigmented leather is acceptable for vehicle and furniture applications, but it is not ideal for cowboy boots.

Aniline dyed leather is best for cowboy boots. The dyes that are used are water soluble and soak into the hide of the leather so the natural grain and texture are retained. You can tell if cowboy boots are aniline dyed if the leather is slightly rough to the touch and the grain is still highly visible.

If you want to purchase leather cowboy boots for yourself, then you need to make sure that the leather used during the manufacturing process is high quality. The tips in this article can help you to identify the best leather materials.

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