Full-grain leather refers to hides that have not been sanded, buffed, or snuffed (as opposed to top-grain or corrected leather) to remove imperfections (or natural marks) on the surface of the hide. The grain remains allowing the fiber strength and durability. The grain also has breathability, resulting in less moisture from prolonged contact. Rather than wearing out, it will develop a patinaduring its expected useful lifetime. High quality leather furniture and footwear are often made from full-grain leather. Full-grain leathers are typically available in two finish types: aniline, semi-aniline. This is the type of leather used in Cosmas leather fire boots. The only other brand that uses this type of leather is Haix.
Top-grain leather (the most common type used in high-end leather products) is the second-highest quality. It has had the “split” layer separated away, making it thinner and more pliable than full-grain. Its surface has been sanded and a finish coat added to the surface which results in a colder, plastic feel with less breathability, and it will not develop a natural patina. It is typically less expensive and has greater resistance to stains than full-grain leather, so long as the finish remains unbroken. This is the type of leather used in most of the other leather boot brands.
Corrected-grain leather is any leather that has had an artificial grain applied to its surface. The hides used to create corrected leather do not meet the standards for use in creating vegetal-tanned or aniline leather. The imperfections are corrected or sanded off, and an artificial grain embossed into the surface and dressed with stain or dyes. Most corrected-grain leather is used to make pigmented leather as the solid pigment helps hide the corrections or imperfections. Corrected grain leathers can mainly be bought as two finish types: semi-aniline and pigmented.
Split leather is leather created from the fibrous part of the hide left once the top-grain of the rawhide has been separated from the hide. During the splitting operation, the top-grain and drop split are separated. The drop split can be further split (thickness allowing) into a middle split and a flesh split. In very thick hides, the middle split can be separated into multiple layers until the thickness prevents further splitting. Split leather then has an artificial layer applied to the surface of the split and is embossed with a leather grain (bycast leather). Splits are also used to create suede. The strongest suedes are usually made from grain splits (that have the grain completely removed) or from the flesh split that has been shaved to the correct thickness. Suede is “fuzzy” on both sides. Manufacturers use a variety of techniques to make suede from full-grain. A reversed suede is a grained leather that has been designed into the leather article with the grain facing away from the visible surface. It is not considered to be a true form of suede.
Not many fire boot manufacturers offer full grain leather, so it is important to ask the question when purchasing your boots. Do not be fooled by marketing gimmicks of manufacturers calling their leather quality by other names. The only recognized way to objectively evaluate leather is the four levels described above.
When choosing a leather fire boot, choose a boot that has full grain leather. This is the best guarantee that your boots will last longer and protect you better. Another very important factor to consider when looking at leather quality is the thickness of the leather. The thicker the leather, the better the protection it offers. When choosing a fire boot, choosing a boot that has the thickest leather possible
Cosmas leather fire boots offer a leather thickness of 2.4mm to 2.6mm. This is the thickest leather you will find in any leather fire boot on the market today. There are a few other manufacturers that offer a similar leather thickness, but they are not many. Most of the leather boot manufacturers make their boots with leather that is 1.8mm to 2.2mm thick.
It may not look like much, but the difference between a 2.4mm to 2.6mm thick leather and a 1.8mm to 2.0mm leather can be up to 25% ! This has a major influence on the waterproofness, puncture resistance, cut resistance and overall durability of the boots you want to purchase.