When you are buying western boots, you will have to choose between leather vs rubber sole cowboy boots.
So, which is better between the two types of soles? Well, it is all about preference. No manufacturer worth his salt is going to release a bad product to the market.
But since these two materials (leather and rubber) have different characteristics, it is best to look at each on its own merits and demerits.
Perhaps one is better at handling water while the other is good at responding to your gait and posture.
Here, we have a bias for rubber, so for us, it is definitely rubber soled boots.
Read: How to hide cowboy boots under jeans
In the market, there is a bias for rubber, well, because it is the Holy Grail of footwear soles. Also, many people wrongly think that leather soles are slippery and that they wear out faster.
However, you could unknowingly be too harsh on leather soles.
Leather vs Rubber Sole Cowboy Boots: Pros & Cons
Cowboy boots will come with either rubber or leather soles. Some might come with synthetic soles, but most people find themselves with rubber or leather soles.
So, what is really better for your western boots? We shall look at the pros and cons of leather and rubber soles. That way, you do not have to choose blindly.
Pros of leather soles for cowboy boots
Leather soles are softer than rubber soles – This is a fact. Where rubber is tough and hard, leather is soft, supple and flexible. In fact, the softness is one of the reasons that many people buy western boots with leather outsoles. In addition, they are better at absorbing impact so your knees and ankles are guaranteed protection.
Leather soles are easier to break in – The material used to make a pair of shoes determines how quickly you can break them in. In this case, leather is soft so it breaks in easier than most of the other types of soles in the market. Leather is generally a very supple material. Thus, it takes a shorter time for it to start conforming to the shape of your feet. This reduces the break-in period considerably.
Better at heat resistance – Leather is better at heat resistance than rubber. Thus, it contributes to keeping your feet cooler and comfortable throughout the day. When you are a cowboy spending many hours on horseback in the range, you need all the comfort you can get!
Cons of leather soles on cowboy boots
Leather soles make more click-clack noise – Today, most people wear cowboy boots and jeans for fashion rather than for work. If the boots have leather soles, they will make more click-clacking noise on hard floors, announcing your presence where you go.
The soles wear out faster – the leather outsole is sewn onto the leather upper. If you are caught in the wet too much, the water is going to start weakening the thread used to sew the soles to the soles onto the upper.
Pros of rubber soles on cowboy boots
Rubber soles last a long time – Rubber soles are going to last a long time, longer than the leather soles. Rubber is tougher and harder than rubber and it requires minimal maintenance. Experts say that given the same amount of use and conditions, cowboy boots with leather soles might need to be resoled after every two years. Rubber soles can last up to 10 years.
Rubber is more resistant to water – Rubber is more water-resistant than leather. Thus, rubber soled western boots are best for use in tough and wet working conditions.
Cheaper to buy – Fancy that! Rubber soled western boots are cheaper to buy yet they last longer. Experts say it takes less work to attach the rubber soles to the boots so this makes the boots cheaper to buy.
Good traction on wet surfaces – Rubber soles offer better traction on wet surfaces as compared to leather soles. For this reason, we consider rubber soles to be safer for work than leather ones.
Cons of rubber soles for cowboy boots
They are bland when it comes to style – If you are wearing western boots for culture and style, rubber is not ideal for you. Less craftsmanship goes to the styling of these boots.
They take longer to break in – Because rubber is harder and tougher, it takes longer to break in. Therefore, you might spend a week or two with the stiff discomfort but once broken in, they will be very comfortable.
Do leather soles wear out quickly?
When it comes to leather vs rubber sole cowboy boots, most people worry about the durability of leather. And indeed, this is a good question because the best western boots cost a good amount of money.
To make leather soles, the manufacturers use layers of leather. In this case, the more layers the soles have, the longer they will last.
However, do not expose the soles to water because the thread joining them to the uppers will swell and break.
If you ask whether leather soles wear out faster than rubber soles, well, the answer is yes. They do wear out faster, say, by a couple of years.
If you do not expose leather soles to water too much, they will not wear out too fast. Even if the boots are exposed to wet conditions, make sure you dry them. You can use a boot dryer for that or just air-dry them.
Leather vs Rubber Sole Cowboy Boots: Final Thoughts
If you are just after making a fashion statement with your cowboy boots, get the ones with leather soles. They make a sound (literary) fashion statement and since some craftsmanship goes into their making, there is some pride in wearing these boots.
If you are looking for cowboy boots for work, well, rubber is the real deal! It is tougher and more durable, which is exactly the kind of combination that you need for your work shoes.
So, between leather vs rubber soles for cowboy boots, well, rubber wins any time. But leather is for class and sophistication so if that is what you are looking for, get it.