Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Differences on Skins of Cowboy Boots

Once again, Google brings interesting questions that drive some visitors to my website.  In this case, the question is, "what is the difference between lizard skin boots and alligator skin boots?"

The answer to that question is simple: alligators are alligators and lizards are lizards. Two different animals whose skins were harvested and treated to fit over molds (called "boot lasts") and sewn onto leather soles, had leather vamps (rear part of the foot) and shafts attached ... and voi-la! They became boots that are called "alligator skin" or "lizard skin."

These type of cowboy boots fall into the general category called "exotic skin" boots. "Exotic skins" means anything made of an animal that is not an animal from which traditional leather products are made.

This gets a little complicated, but leather is made from more types of animals than cows. While cowhide is the most common, leather can (and is) also made from goats, deer, bulls, lamb, elephants, and even horses. When another kind of animal has its skin removed and used to make boots, then the resulting boots are called are called "exotic skin boots."

There are a number of exotic skins that are used to make boots. The most common are ostrich, teju lizard, and python. Each of these animals is "farmed" (that is, grown specifically to produce skins from which to make boots and other products). Other animals with skins that make interesting boots are alligators, crocodiles, cobra, rattlesnake, eel, shark, and sting ray. There are probably more.

I have a variety of cowboy boots with exotic skins. I think they look cool. While most of these skins are durable and strong, some are not. Especially snake skins. Boots made with snake skins can be easily damaged by scuffing as well as by getting wet. Snake scales on boots will curl when they get wet and will not "uncurl" when they dry. So it is important to wear those boots only in dry weather, and not in the rain.

You can see the variety of exotic skin cowboy boots that I own here, on my website.

Life is short: wear boots!

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