During Part 1 of this series, we discussed choosing your leathers based on occasion. However, today we are going to come at it from a different vantage point. I want to discuss what feel you are going for in your custom boots. Soft and malleable? Sturdy and tough? Or even soft, yet durable! (Yes, you can have both!) I will preface this by saying that all of our handmade cowboy boots are custom fit to your size, and should be comfortable on your foot, as well as durable. Quality custom cowboy boots should last you approximately 10 years, and many last a lifetime. Therefore, this series is all a matter of preference, and worth exploring.
To begin, let's start with the people who are looking for that soft, and pliable leather. This is great for individuals with foot issues such as gout, bunions, excessive swelling, and/or prior foot injuries. By far, our most popular leather in this category is our Italian Kangaroo. Although I don't have many issues with my feet, I tend to like kangaroo for it's light weight feel. It has this great "barely there" aspect that makes them really easy to wear.
Another skin that falls into this category would be our traditional calf skin. Many would argue that it doesn't scuff as easy, and I would have to agree with that statement. Many of us are tough on our custom made boots, and in this case I would recommend calf over kangaroo. It won't be as lightweight but it will give you a similar feel in terms of pliability. Additionally, they look almost identical from an aesthetic standpoint, with calf having slightly more grain to it.
Now moving into the hides known for their durability such as bull hide, bison, shark, and elephant. These make for great working cowboy boots that can also be shined up for formal occasions. For several reasons, a popular choice these days has been bull hide. For starters, it comes in a variety of colors unlike bison which tends to be available in 4 standard colors, black, and 3 shades of brown. Additionally, it takes a great shine with availability in both high gloss and matte.
Bison, elephant, and shark are all great options as well. Bison has been a fan favorite for custom cowboy boots due to its deep grain and rich tones. However, some say it tends to give a little more than your average leather. So if you are looking for a looser fit over time, or something that "grows with you," bison could be the perfect choice. Elephant on the other hand has grown in custom boots popularity due to its wide variety of tanning options and ability to "take a beating." We have access to matte, vintage, safari, and suede as shown below.
Lastly, I want to take a look at ostrich and all its glory! Ostrich is known as one of the all time most comfortable handmade cowboy boots leathers, especially in the exotic realm. Not only does it mold to your foot with its extreme pliability, it is also very durable. Additionally, we have a large library of colors from bright turquoise to muted saddle tones. You name it, and we can find it!
I know not all leathers were covered today, so I encourage you to leave a comment on this post if you have additional questions. The world of leather is endless, making it overwhelming at times. Please remember we are here to help, we make it our job to know everything there is to know about this subject matter.
In the meantime, be on the lookout for our final post in The Language of Leather series where I will be discussing exotics, a category of leather in a league of it's own. Here we will discuss several things such as what leathers are considered exotic? What are the pros and cons of certain exotics? And even more important, price points!
For a look at all our leather options, click here: http://www.paulbondboots.com/pages/boot-anatomy