Cowboy Boots- Leather vs Rubber Sole

There has been a lot of controversy concerning cowboy boots and the soles that they use. The discussion has centred on the durability, elegance, comfort, and other wonderful attributes of leather vs rubber sole cowboy boots.

Both leather and rubber soles have benefits and limitations. You may select between rubber and leather soles depending on your needs.

Leather is frequently considered as a rigid material that does not allow for cushioning or comfort, but when mixed with cork, it may produce an extremely soft and flexible foot bed.

Leather vs Rubber Cowboy Boots Sole

However, people frequently find a rubber sole to be flexible and comfy from the first wear as rubber naturally absorbs more stress, so you don’t feel the hardness of the pavement when walking.

Rubber is also incredibly weather resistant, making it ideal for everyday wear, such as walking to work or commuting in all weather conditions.

Let us check out the history of both Leather and Rubber soles. 


The leather sole cowboy boots were manufactured in the late 18th century. The most crucial point is that leather boots were first manufactured way before rubber boots. Because there was an abundance of cowhide at a modest cost back then. 

Furthermore, leather boots are often known as riding boots since they were originally handcrafted for horse and cattle riders. 

Rubber soles, on the other hand, have only been on the market for a few decades. This was the year that square-toed cowboy boots first appeared on the market. However, the soles have grown in popularity and now dominate the market. To summarise, leather soles are older than rubber soles.

Let us now look at the parameters through which we can come to a conclusion: 

1.) Leather vs Rubber Sole- Durability

Rubber soles outlast leather soles in terms of longevity. Cowboy boots may endure for up to ten years. But it’s a different story when it comes to their soles. 

If you use your cowboy boots frequently and they have leather soles, you should resole them every two years. When a partial sole emerges, holes occur, and nails begin to protrude, it is a sign that you need to resole your leather sole. 

However, if your cowboy boots have rubber soles, you don’t have to worry about resoling for at least up to 4- 5 years. Rubber soles are twice as durable as leather soles. 

2.) Leather vs Rubber sole- Safety

Cowboy boots with rubber soles are fairly common, they are the boots that provide great safety and comfort since they have rubber soles. 

Rubber soles are more resistant to wear than leather soles. They are resistant to water, snow, and external power and can protect you from small snake fangs

Because few people work on horseback these days, cowboy boots with non-slip rubber bottoms are more popular than those with leather soles, as they give superior balance and stability.

3.) Leather vs Rubber sole- Functions

Cowboy boots with rubber soles give comfort and great safety as they are more resistant to water, external power, and snow. The soles can also protect your foot from tiny snake fangs. These are qualities that are not available with leather soles, which are not resistant to water or the other materials listed.

The leather soles will allow you to comfortably put your feet into the stirrups while sitting properly on the saddle. 

And if you prefer to wear riding motorbike cowboy boots, the rubber soles’ high traction will come in handy. 

Rubble soles are superior to leather soles for keeping your body balanced and steady while working on construction sites or farms. Furthermore, rubber soles are less impacted by water, making them more durable than leather soles.

4.) Leather vs Rubber sole- Traction

Unfortunately, while leather soles are fashionable, they are unsuitable for regular use. Leather outsoles are naturally slick, and when wet, they may get damaged. 

Rubber soles are more grippy than leather soles. They are supple and provide dependable traction in both warm and chilly temperatures. 

Rubber of high grade may also give traction when exposed to oil and water. So, if you want to avoid slipping and falling, a natural rubber outsole is the greatest anti-slip alternative for shoes. At the end of the day, comfort is also dependent on mental tranquillity.

5.) Leather vs Rubber sole- Comfort

Leather soled boots are created from natural materials derived from animals such as cows and crocodiles. It gives a great level of comfort to your feet within the shoes for an extended amount of time. 

However, they are not flexible since cowhide is hard and difficult to form. You should take time breaking in your leather boots by wearing it on a regular basis for a number of weeks to receive the greatest effects in terms of comfort. 

Rubber-soled boots are more flexible, and you may wear them straight away. They will not, however, absorb foot moisture since the rubber cannot breathe, and hence will not feel as pleasant when worn for extended periods of time.

6.) Leather vs Rubber sole- Design 

The cowboy boot style is determined by your personal tastes. Experts suggest that boots with leather soles look to be far superior than those with rubber soles. The outsoles of the sole leather carry the brand’s emblem and signature, making the cowboy boot stand out. 

If you want a cowboy boot with the charm of a traditional cowboy boot design, leather soles are the ideal option. However, if you want a cowboy boot that is both functional and comfortable, rubber soles are the preferable choice.

7.) Leather vs Rubber sole- Cost

Leather-soled cowboy boots often cost more than rubber-soled boots since the boot requires more experience and craftsmanship. Also, leather costs more than rubber. 

Leather boots, however, are resold an infinite number of times, as opposed to rubber, which has reached the end of its life when the soles have worn away. 

Let us have a quick look at this comparison chart:

Parameters Leather soles Rubber soles
Durability Okay, lasts for 2-3 years before it needs resoling.  Excellent, will last for at least 5-6 years. 
Safety Quite safe, but can be slippery in some terrains.  Extremely safe and sturdy. 
Functions Riding horses, walking short distances.  Riding bikes, walking or hiking on rough terrains. 
Traction Okay Excellent
Comfort They are more comfortable, have good sweat absorption, and are breathable. They are balanced, adaptable, and steady.
Design The designs are lovely and unique, and make an intriguing sound when walking on smooth surfaces.  They are not really fashionable, rather, they are more alike to labor boots.
Cost They are fairly pricey because they are handcrafted.  They are reasonably priced.


Can you wear them all year long? 

Cowboy boots are popular all year, whether it’s spring, summer, autumn, winter, or rainy days. And cowboy boots with rubber soles are ideal for rainy weather since their soles are waterproof and feature grooves with a high grip, making them less susceptible to water damage than leather soles. 

However, leather soles are more breathable. As a consequence, they might make your feet feel more comfortable in warmer seasons, such as summer. 

Yes, water is the most serious enemy of leather, thus wearing leather soles in wet conditions, such as winter or rainy weather, is not a good idea.

Applicability in all kinds of terrains. 

Terrain is another major consideration for many individuals when deciding between rubber and leather soles. 

To be honest, a rubber sole may be used for more terrain than a leather sole. 

Cowboy boots with rubber soles, as previously said, provide better traction. They are more durable, stronger, and absorb stress better than leather. Rubber soles are therefore the superior choice for walking all day in diverse terrain with your cowboy boots. 

See also: 11 Best Material For Cowboy Boots

Our Verdict

Well, the decision between leather and rubber soles completely depends on how and where you want to use it. Both have their share of advantages and disadvantages, so you have to look at the specifics of both soles to understand where they will be more useful. 

However, considering the cost and the features, rubber soles seem to be winning as it provides ultimate protection against dangerous work environments and is also slip resistant. 

Also, if you need a cowboy boot for outside tasks such as construction labor or farming, you should consider twice. Rubber soled boots are ideal if you operate in an area where you will be exposed to water during the wet or rainy season. 

Although they appear to be identical, the fundamental distinction between the two soles is based on what they give. 

Stephen Luettgen
I have 12+ years of experience in construction, inspections, handy work, and currently working as a Construction Site Manager. In today’s day we spent a significant part of our time at workplace and a right work gear can have significant impact not only on your safety but also work quality.

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