Material SelectionOr: But leather's too expensive!
I recently received an email from a young man with a very good question. I spent a great deal of time working on an answer, because the issue he raised had simply never occured to me before. His question was:
How much vinyl should I purchase?
A simple answer, you might think, but there is a more important question underlying this one: can you use vinyl instead of leather to make a pair of fitted boots. Because the issue is so important, I include the text of my email reply:
Yes, leather is expensive, but it's expensive for a reason: leather is not a purchase, it is an investment. You can, with a little judicious searching, get lower prices in some places than others.
So, take a look at Hide and Leather House for their 4.5-5 oz. cowhide. Their "List 3" hides are reasonably priced and are exactly supple enough for boots: that's what I use. You might also check with a company called The Leather Factory - they periodically run sales on what they call "chap leather", which is thinner and even less expensive and is perfect for a first pair of boots. It's never listed on their web site (the online catalog is piss-poor), so call them and ask.