Cow leather is a much more familiar material than the kangaroo leather I discussed in an earlier post. I’m sitting on a leather couch as I write this, so it feels more normal to be talking about the material and its use in soccer cleats.
In this post, I’ll just be covering the basics about good old fashioned cow leather.
In general, cow leather is heavier and less form-fitting than kangaroo leather. It’s more durable though, and is a cheaper material, which is why you often see it in lower-tier soccer cleats.
There are two basic kinds of leather that you’ll see listed as materials in soccer cleats:
- Calfskin leather.
- Full-grain leather.
Calfskin Leather Comes From… Calves of Course
Calfskin leather is just what you’d expect it to be: leather made from the hide of young cows. The younger animal’s hide is typically stronger and has higher tensile strength (that is, it can stretch more without damage) than leather made from the hides of older animals. check buying guide on best soccer pop up goals
Calfskin leather is a very common in lower-priced soccer cleats, along with some mid-level choices.
Full-grain Leather Means It Comes From a Single Cut of the Material
When manufacturers say their shoes are made of “full-grain leather,” that simply means the leather that made the shoe came from one single piece of hide. The “full-grain” part of it means the material will be stronger, since it doesn’t have seams in it, as it would if two or more pieces had been joined together.
The confusing part is that sometimes soccer shoes list their material as “calfskin leather” and other times they list it “full-grain leather.” So what’s the difference?
In truth, all natural material soccer cleats are made of “full-grain” leather. So it might very well be that your “full-grain leather” shoes could also be made of calfskin. Thus, if a manufacturer chose, they could list the material as either “calfskin leather” or “full-grain leather,” and either choice would be an accurate description.
In either case, you’re probably looking at a second-tier cleat, at best.
In a future post, we’ll cover the fancy new hybrid materials that are on the market now, including Taurus and Galeo leather, along with with Kanga-lite and a few others.