You'll see a lot of leather products and especially leather boots advertised as "oiled leather." It's a very common term, but because it's so generic you might not understand what a fuller meaning of the term actually is.
It's very common material for leather work boots and heritage boot styles, so you might wonder if it's a good material or not.
"Oiled leather" is something of a catch-all term, but it does have a general meaning that's important when it comes to the actual product it describes.
One of the most significant parts of a pair of boots is one of the things you just don't see...namely, the footbed. Arguably, it's the most important aspect of construction, but it's the part that gets overlooked too easily.
Often enough, it's the footbed that sets the stage for the longevity and comfort of a pair of work boots and indeed, even casual boots. The support you feel under your feet has far more to do with what's under your foot than the leather that goes over it.
And it is also the footbed where most boot brands fall terribly short. If there is an area where a bootmaker should not compromise, the footbed is it...and that's where most of them do. So let's talk about why it's important and what goes into a good one.
What Is The Footbed?
Obviously, leather boots are offered at multiple price points. Whether it's work boots or more fashion-oriented boots you're looking at, you're going to notice a bunch of different companies' boots that look the same at various price points.
The best work boots will probably cost you $400 to $600. You might see some comparable boots in terms of how they look for a lot less...maybe even a tenth of that amount.
So what's the difference? What sets the top tier of boot makers apart...and what do the low and middle-tier of boots companies compromise on to meet their price point?
We can't speak for any one individual product, and we aren't going to say that they're ripping people off or giving anyone less than value for price paid, or that you can't find a very decent set of work boots that are affordable. What we can tell you is the differences in various aspects of construction and materials that are common to low- and middle-tier products.
Obviously, you don't want to go broke buying new pairs of work boots more often than you should. If you find a pair you really like, you want them to last as long as possible.
So which work boots last the longest? Well...that's very hard to say.
You see, you can read reviews until the cows come home and you'll get all sorts of stores from all sorts of folks. Those people may have had those experiences, but it's no guarantee your pair of those boots will.
However, the brands and designs that are known for lasting a long time tend to have a number of attributes in common, and <i>those</i> are the things you want to look for. Bootmakers that care about the build of their product will do certain things right, and that's what you need for work boots to last.
So...what makes a work boot last? Here are a few of those things…<!
Why are moc toe boots so popular these days? There are a few reasons - and a few influencers on various channels that helped - but mostly it's because moc toe boots are a near-perfect blend of style and substance.
Moc toe boots are made tough enough for work, supple enough to be comfortable, and usually with leather that makes a great appearance with minimal care.
So what made them popular?
Work boots that can be resoled are a better purchase than work boots that cannot. You can keep them longer, you'll spend less in the long run, it's better for everyone involved if you do.
It usually means you get a better quality pair of boots as well. While price doesn't always have everything to do with quality, it's also true that there aren't many cheap work boots that are very good.
So why worry about whether a boot can be resoled? Why pay more or go out of your way to get a pair that is? Here's why…<!
A lot of people wonder if there is a particular type of work boots to keep feet cool. While hot weather footwear is a thing (we'll talk about that) the answer is really to get better socks.
That sounds kind of convoluted, doesn't it? Don't worry; we're going to go over that a bit more.
The truth is your feet are going to get warm if you're wearing work boots in warm weather. They're going to also be warm if you're wearing work boots in cold weather and doing actual labor.
So why are socks the key to keeping your feet from getting too hot?
What's used to tan leather? Generally, there's vegetable-based and mineral-based compounds for tanning. The tanning method does affect the end product, so that's why "chrome-tanned" and "vegetable-tanned" leathers can be very different in appearance and feel.
Tanning is just one step in the process of making leather, as the process in and of itself is just a chemical treatment of skin to preserve it.
But...what does this have to do you with you and the pair of leather work boots or heritage boots you want to buy? How the leather is made impacts how your boots look, feel and what you need to do to keep them in top condition.
If you're going to invest in a seriously great pair of boots, you should get leather that looks how you want, feels how you want, and that you'll be able to keep for a very long time. So let's learn a little more about tanning.
"Quality" is a funny thing to talk about, because everybody has different aspects of quality in mind for different things, including leather goods. What's the best leather for shoes or boots?
It really depends on what kind of boots or shoes you're making with them. If you took the absolute best leather for making work boots and made a pair of dress shoes, a lot of people would think they were hideous.
If you took the best leather you could possibly get to make dress shoes and made a pair of work boots out of them...they wouldn't work all that well and no one would buy them.
That said, there are certain things that anyone in the leather goods industry agrees on as far as the best quality leather for making footwear or anything else.
Have you ever wondered how boots go from a few pieces of leather sewn together, to a pair of boots that comfortably fit your feet?
That process is called lasting.