7 Common Myths About Leather Chaps Debunked

7 Common Myths About Leather Chaps Debunked

When shopping for leather apparel, you may stumble upon leather chaps. They’ve been around for over a century. In the past, cowboys and ranchers wore leather chaps while on horseback. Leather chaps, however, aren’t limited to horseback. You can include them in your outfits regardless of whether you ride a horse. But there are several common myths about leather chaps that you shouldn’t believe.

#1) Same as Trousers

Leather chaps aren’t the same as leather trousers. They are essentially leg coverings with a built-in belt. Leather chaps feature large sections of leather material that cover the front and back of your legs when worn. While leather trousers are joined at the crotch, though, leather chaps are not. They have an open crotch area and an open back area.

You can wear leather chaps with leather trousers, or you can wear them with a pair of jeans. They are designed to be worn in conjunction with a separate pair of trousers or jeans. After putting on a pair of trousers or jeans, you can pull the leather chaps over your legs. Leather chaps are simply leg coverings made of leather, whereas leather trousers are complete pants.

#2) Originated in the American West

Many people assume that leather chaps originated in the American West. After all, they are commonly associated with cowboys. In the Wild West, cowboys were often spotted wearing leather chaps. But leather chaps didn’t come from the American West. They actually originated in Southern Spain before making their way to the continental United States.

Spain had its own cowboys and ranchers, many of whom wore leather chaps. They didn’t refer to these leg coverings as “chaps.” Instead, they referred to them as “chaparreras.” Regardless, leather chaps originated in Southern Spain. Spanish cowboys and ranchers originally wore them, after which leather chaps made their way to Mexico and then the American West.

#3) Worn Strictly for Fashion Purposes

Leather chaps are undoubtedly stylish, but they aren’t worn strictly for fashion purposes. With their unique design, there are other reasons to consider wearing them. Riding horseback, for instance, can cause discomfort as your legs rub together. Many horseback riders experience chafing on their thighs. Leather chaps offer a solution. They will create a padded layer between each of your legs that protects your thighs from chafing.

Riding a motorcycle can cause similar chafing. Fortunately, leather chaps are available to protect your thighs from motorcycle-related chafing. Whether you ride a horse or motorcycle, you may want to wear leather chaps. Of course, you can wear them in other outfits — regardless of whether you ride a horse or motorcycle — but don’t assume that leather chaps are worn strictly for fashion purposes.

#4) Only Available in Full- and Top-Grain leather

You can find leather chaps made of different types of leather. Some of them are, in fact, made of full-grain or top-grain leather, but others are made of split leather.

There are various tiers of leather, with each tier representing a different level of quality. The highest tier is full-grain leather. Full-grain leather consists of animal hide with the entire grain intact. Below full-grain leather is top-grain leather. Top-grain leather is produced by shaving or sanding down the outermost layer of the grain. And below full-grain leather is split leather. Split leather is produced by separating the top grain from the hide itself.

Full-grain leather is the highest quality, whereas split leather is the lowest quality. Top-grain leather, as you may have guessed, falls somewhere in the middle. Regardless, leather chaps are available in different types of leather. Some leather chaps are made of full-grain leather. Other leather chaps are made of top-grain or even split leather.

#5) Don’t Feature Pockets

While some leather chaps don’t have any pockets, others do have pockets. They feature one or more pockets constructed directed into the leg coverings.

Pockets are a useful feature on leather chaps. You may not be able to easily access the pockets on your trousers while wearing leather chaps. The leather chaps will cover your trousers, making pockets difficult to access. The good news is that some leather chaps have their own pockets. They feature one or more pockets on the leg coverings, which you can easily access.

#6) Universal Style

Think all leather chaps are the same? There’s no universal style in which leather chaps are made. Leather chaps are available in many different styles, each of which features a unique design. One of the most popular styles of leather chaps is shotgun. Also known as stovepipe shaps, shotgun chaps are characterized by straight and narrow leg coverings. They were popularized in the 1870s, and you can still find shotgun chaps today.

Another popular style of leather chaps is batwing. Batwing chaps consist of the same leg coverings as other styles, and they feature a built-in belt. Batwing chaps, though, are distinguished form other styles by their flared design. Batwing chaps flare out at the bottom. They run narrow through the legs, but they flare out at the bottom of the legs.

One of the oldest styles of leather chaps is armitas. Armitas chaps feature short leg coverings. Unlike other styles, they feature a joined crotch. Therefore, armitas chaps are worn like most other trousers and pants.

#7) Difficult to Maintain

Leather chaps aren’t difficult to maintain. They typically require the same maintenance as other leather garments, such as leather trousers. You don’t need to wash them. Instead, you just need to spot clean your leather chaps.

You can spot clean your leather chaps using a damp washcloth and some gentle dish soap. Take the damp and soapy washcloth and blot the surface of your leather chaps until they come clean. Spot cleaning offers a quick and easy way to restore the appearance of dirty leather chaps. If your leather chaps are visibly dirty, you can clean them with little effort. All you need is a washcloth and some dish soap.