The value of the leather footwear market worldwide was measured at $176 billion in 2020 and is expected to reach $202.30 billion by 2025. Women’s leather boots occupy a significant 37% of this market. It is considered a premium and rapidly growing segment. Better employment opportunities and an increase in the number of professional and upwardly moving women contribute to its increase in a major way.
How to determine the leather quality
High-quality pure leather should be the priority before buying leather boots. This can be decided by verifying the grades, quality, and ‘grain’ of leather before a purchasing decision is made. We have compiled brief and detailed information on these determinators to make an easy and informed choice.
Different grades of pure leather
The most prevalent type of leather used for making leather products is sourced from bovine or cattle hide. The hide is split into two parts, the upper or outer facing smooth hard side and the fleshy underside called Suede. Different grades of leather are derived from this to produce quality boots made of leather. These are elaborated below.
Full Grain Leather
Considered most valuable with the highest quality. This is sourced from the top layer of the hide just below the hairs. This should not be confused with top leather. Full-grain leather comes from the back and side portion of the animal which is generally free from imperfections and blemishes. “Full” means the leather is neither buffed nor sanded or treated with chemicals so to maintain its original look. This leather is tight, dense, porous, and extremely durable. The porous nature of the leather lets it ‘breathe’ and prevents moisture retention. Full-grain leather ages well and if the leather products of this leather are well taken care of, they maintain their shine and quality for many years. Premium women’s leather boots are specifically made of pulled-up leather, a type of waxed and oiled full-grain leather whose color lightens when pressure is applied on it.
Top Grain Leather
It is smoother than full-grain leather and prone to stretching and loosening over a period of time. This leather comes from the belly and the front portion of the animal which has blemishes like scars and stretch marks. These are removed by sanding and buffing and then a mid-layer of hide surfaces called Top-grain leather. This is further enhanced by dying and staining. A coating is also applied to make the leather more durable and stain-resistant and let it ‘breathe’ better. This process makes Top grain look like Full-grain leather but makes the leather thinner and a little less durable than the latter. It is the next valuable leather after Full-grain leather. Leather boots of this category are also considered premium.
Corrected Grain Leather
This is also called Genuine leather or Bottom Cut leather. This is the bottom part of the hide left after Full-grain and Top-grain leather are removed. It is sanded repeatedly to remove its imperfections and rough texture. It is spray painted and embossed to give it an appearance of higher grain varieties. The leather loses its natural ability to ‘breathe’ due to this process. The products made of this leather will last for three or four years if properly taken care of.
The underside or the fleshy part of the hide is sanded and buffed to create Suede leather. It is also called Split leather as it is the split part of the hide. It is softer and textured and has a nappy and velvet-like feel. Suede is a popular choice for making women’s leather boots though they require more care and gentle handling at the user end. Avoid wearing them during rains. Suede shoes are made from lambs and calfskin apart from bovine leather.
Popular leather boots for women
After discussing the quality and grades of leather, we move on to some popular choices of women’s boots. These are further divided into length and styles.
1. Types of boots based on length
- Below ankle boots
These are low-cut boots that end just below the ankle. These are usually close-toed and come with mid to high heels. They can be slip-on as well as lace-up.
- Ankle length boots
These boots end at the ankle and cover it fully. Can be paired with any type of dress. Chelsea boot is a popular style in ankle-length boots.
- Calf length boots
As the name suggests these leather boots go high up to calves. These are comfortable, keep the feet secure, and are stylish to boot, pun not intended.
- Knee-high boots
These are high boots going up to knees. Knee-high boots require practice before wearing as they may constrict movement due to them ending exactly at the knees. These are best paired with skinny jeans with boots over them.
- Thigh-high boots
These are high in length which goes over the knee and up to the thighs. Thigh-high boots have the longest shaft length among boots made of leather. Heels are kept short to compensate for the length of the shaft.
2. Types of boots based on style
- Chelsea boots
These are low-cut boots, also called ‘paddock boots’, made famous first by Beatles. Chelsea boots go just above the ankle with slightly pointed toes, short heels, and elastic sides. These boots come without laces, are pull-up boots, and look good with any type of clothing, be it jeans or formal wear.
- Cowboy Boots
The most recognizable boots. This style is timeless and still relevant. These are calf-high lace-less boots made of leather having pointed toes and slight Cuban heels angled inside towards the boot. Cowboy boots were primarily used for riding horses but everyone aspires to have one nowadays. The leather on these boots comes with intricately embellished designs.
- Jodhpur boots
These boots were specifically designed for Jodhpur-style narrow pants used for riding but now are a popular choice. The Jodhpur style trousers have been showcased by many designers and are in high fashion. Jodhpur boots are ankle-length boots with rounded toes and short heels and feature a buckle and a strap where the strap goes around the ankle.
- Fleece Lined boots
Fleece-lined boots are traditional Australian slip-on boots. These go above the ankles but are lower than knees and are fleece lined to keep feet warm. These are generally made of sheepskin. Fleece Lined boots have been turned into a brand name ‘Ugg’ by Brian Smith and are a favorite of celebrities. Jennifer Lopez, Cameroon Diaz and Blake Lively among others have been spotted wearing them.
We hope the above article broadens your understanding of leather, its quality, and grades and helps you in picking the right type of it for your products. A pure leather boot is a thing to treasure and will loyally serve you for many years to come.