1-520-281-0512 Leather Selection – Paul Bond

Leather Selection

Thinking about ordering a pair of custom boots but not quite sure where to start? Well you have come to the perfect spot! Here you will find everything you need to know about leather selection in regards to the custom boot making process.

Check out our wide variety of leathers below, and if you have a question along the way, we are a chat box (lower right hand of your screen) or phone call away!

Before we dive in, it is important to keep in mind that no two leathers are exactly the same. This is because each boot is handcrafted specifically for you and your needs. So while you may reference a photo you like, keep in mind that we will do our very best to match it but we cannot guarantee that the color, grain, and consistency will match exactly to our catalog options, or other photos.

This is what makes your custom boots one of a kind!

The two most basic leathers are Calf and Kangaroo which can be used both on the vamps and tops.

Types of Calfskin:

Basic calfskin cowboy boots are a great place to start because they are durable, affordable, and come in a wide variety of colors. Additionally, you can opt for a matte or high shine finish.

Rough out is created simply by turning the calfskin leather inside out. Many people like to think of this like suede. Some rough outs are “harrier” than others, the choice is yours!

French Wax Calf is used on all of our working cowboy boots. This leather is actually a rough out material with a layer of burnishing wax. This wax is used to protect your cowboy boots from all the elements a working cowboy fights every day – water, dirt, mud, and brush.


Italian Finesse Kangaroo is the kangaroo of choice for Paul Bond Boots. It has similar characteristics to calfskin yet it is lighter in weight and better suited for dress boots. It is also great for tops with extensive inlay work. Keep in mind, kangaroo is slightly more expensive and has a tendency to scuff if you are not careful.

Durable Leathers:

Bullhide is available in both matte and gloss finishes. It is popular among the more durable leathers due to its wide range of color options.

Bison is known for its deep grain and beautiful rich tones. Although our leathers are pre-stretched, bison tends to give a little extra over time. It is typically available in chocolate brown, cognac, and black.

Shark is an unbelievably tough leather with linear striations throughout. However, due to certain fishing methods, it is very difficult to source at the moment. When available, it comes in brown and black.


Lizard is ideal for providing an exotic, elegant feel, yet at a more affordable price point than some of the other exotic leathers. It is known for its scuff resistant tendencies, large color varieties, and high gloss finish.

Python and other snakeskins are exotic leathers with a wide variety of patterns and color variations. Yet, keep in mind, regular maintenance is required to keep this leather looking fresh.

Stingray is the most scratch and abrasion resistant of all leathers. However, stingray has very little give in it. Because of this factor, it has a tendency to feel snug particularly in the ball and instep. We recommend opting for stingray once we have your fit perfected with your first pair of custom boots.

Ostrich is known for being extremely comfortable and durable. It comes in a wide variety of colors. Additionally, you can opt for a full quill, half quill, or smooth finish.

Nile crocodile is similar to American Alligator. However, the scales tend to be smaller and more consistent in nature than American Alligator which some find lends itself to a more professional look.

American Alligator is the top of the line exotic choice. It is known for being soft, yet durable. The scales tend to be more square shaped and can be larger than crocodile. Additionally, these hides have a unique feature, the umbilical scar, like a belly button. Some opt to showcase this while others prefer to have it slightly more hidden.

For more information on leather selection, take a peak at our Language of Leather blog series!

1) What occasions are looking to use your boots? Work, play, or combination?

2) How do you want your boots to feel?

3) The pros and cons of exotic leather.