Your guide to leather

Leather guide

At R.M.Williams we select only the best leathers for our boots. If the quality required is not available, we will not make the boots until it is. Our commitment to sourcing the finest leather from around the world and placing it in the hands of the country’s finest craftspeople ensures a product that will go the distance.

Whether you’re searching for the right leather to invest in for your next pair of boots, or wanting to understand your favourite pair a little better, our Leather Guide will outline the key qualities of each type.


Burnished

Burnishing is an intricate, artisanal process in which coloured dye is applied to crust leather by hand. The result is a natural patina that develops over time, with each boot having a unique colouring.

Care: clean lightly with a damp cloth. Polish and protect with R.M.Williams Natural Stockman Polish. Do not use any cleaner or conditioner. 


Crocodile

Rare and luxurious, crocodile is a leather synonymous with Australian style. Natural, intricate scaling patterns ensure each boot has a unique look and feel.

Care: wipe over with a damp cloth or clean with leather cleaner. Apply leather conditioner and R.M.Williams Stockman’s Boot Polish.


Desert kip

A heavyweight leather suede, with a chrome tanned finish.

Care: before initial use apply suede protector. Suede cleaner can be used for light stains. Maintain and prevent stains with suede protector every three months.


Distressed / crazy horse

A full grained, heavyweight leather seen across a range of dress and work boots.

Care: before initial use, apply suede protector. Use warm air to level colour contrast – a hair dryer at low heat level and continuous movement. 


Greasy kip

A heavyweight, chrome tanned, leather with a durable finish. The leather is infused with oils during tanning to make it water-resistant.

Care: wipe over with a damp cloth or clean with leather cleaner. Condition with saddle dressing or leather conditioner.


Hi shine

The leather surface is varnished and coated to give it a high-gloss finish, perfect for dress boots or those looking to smarten up their daily look.

Care: clean with damp cloth.


Kangaroo – black, chestnut

Kangaroo leather is the strongest for its weight in the world and polishes up well for a stylish boot. This, combined with its unique markings, makes it a favourite for fine craftwork.

*At R.M.Williams, providing you with high quality leather products is a top priority and so is minimising our impact on the environment. By accepting kangaroo leather that has minor imperfections caused by scratches or abrasions that occur in the animal’s natural habitat, we’re using significantly fewer skins and markedly reducing the amount of wastage incurred during processing.

Care: wipe over with a damp cloth or clean with leather cleaner. Apply leather conditioner and R.M.Williams Stockman Polish.

Note: tanbark kangaroo leather is an aniline finish so do not apply leather conditioner to this colour. See below for more details. 


Kangaroo - tanbark

Kangaroo tanbark leather is a little more prone to water marks and stains than other kangaroo leather colours.

Care: clean with damp cloth. Apply R.M.Williams Natural Stockman’s Polish for natural shine and protection. Do not use any cleaner or conditioner as it will alter the appearance of the leather.


Metallics

Metallic leather offers a bolder look and higher sheen, achieved by applying a foil with metallic optics to a smooth leather.

Care: clean lightly with damp cloth. Metallics are designed to age with wear.


Nubuck

Made from the top grain of the hide, nubuck leather is sanded on the grain side to create a velvety appearance. Nubuck is susceptible to environmental factors such as mud, dirt, and grit.

Care: clean with R.M.Williams suede cleaner and maintain every three months with suede protector.


Oily fern

Oily fern leathers are crafted by applying wax and oils to a full grain leather surface that has been smoothed out. Natural marks and shade variation should be expected. This leather is durable, strong and weatherproof, with a unique look and feel.

Care: wipe over with a damp cloth or clean with leather cleaner. Minimal application of leather conditioner can be applied, though it will darken the leather for a short period of time.

 

Ostrich black

Lightweight yet strong, Ostrich leather is one of the most exotic leathers in the world. It has a distinctive quill pattern and soft feel.

Care: wipe over with a damp cloth or clean with leather cleaner. Apply leather conditioner and R.M.Williams Stockman’s Boot Polish.


Ostrich brown

Care: clean with a damp cloth. Apply R.M.Williams Natural Stockman Polish for natural shine and protection.

No leather cleaner or conditioner.


Rough-out suede

Rough-out leather is suede with a rough finish that has been treated with oil and wax for a fashionable aged and worn look.

Care: designed to age therefore no maintenance is required.


Suede

Suede is made from the underside of the animal hide and is soft and pliable, with a napped finish.

Care: before initial use apply suede protector and reapply every three months for maintenance. Suede cleaner can be used for light stains.


Veal calf

An extremely fine-grained leather. Veal calf has a superb high shine finish ideal for dress boots.

Care: wipe over with a damp cloth or clean with leather cleaner. Apply leather conditioner and R.M.Williams Stockman's Polish.

 

Vesta

Vesta leather is known as a pull-up leather. It is designed to develop a vintage patina over time. It’s water-repellent and highly durable, with a matte finish.

Care: wipe over with a damp cloth or clean with leather cleaner. Applying conditioner will darken the leather and even out the appearance of the pull-up.


Willow

A chrome tanned, aged ox hide, characterised by its heavyweight and durable finish.

Care: wipe over with a damp cloth or clean with leather cleaner. Apply leather conditioner and R.M.Williams Stockman Polish.


Yearling

A versatile fine-grained leather from yearling-aged cattle. It’s chrome tanned, making it very supple, ideal for dress and light work boots.

Care: wipe over with a damp cloth or clean with leather cleaner. Apply leather conditioner and R.M.Williams Stockman’s Polish.

 

Yearling rum

Our yearling leather in rum is an uncoated (aniline) dye leather that shows unique surface characteristics of the animal hide. As a result, you can expect some natural marks and shade variation.

Care: wipe over with a damp cloth or clean with leather cleaner. Leather conditioner can be applied, however it will darken the leather for the short term. Use natural polish to offer a shine and protection.


Yearling nutmeg

Our yearling leather in nutmeg is designed to age naturally and will develop character with wear. 

Care: clean with damp cloth. Apply R.M.Williams Natural Stockman Polish for natural shine and protection. Do not use leather cleaner or conditioner.


Boot care guides