As you probably already know, cowboy boots come in many different styles, colors, toe types, heel type, etc… But one of the most talked about difference between boots is the leather they are made from. Alligator, buffalo, caiman, snake, the list goes on and on. You can categorize all of those boot materials as either exotic leathers or other leathers. The other leathers are usually calf, cowhide, goat, etc… I normally like to say that if it lives here in North America, it’s probably in the “other leather” category and if it’s overseas, it falls into the “exotic leather” category. There are some exceptions to this rule, but I think you get my point. Today I wanted to talk about one of the unique types of boots that falls in to the exotic category and that are some magnificent pairs of real elephant skin boots.
If you would like to learn more about the plight of elephants and more information of the taking of elephant skin here is a link to One Green Planet with some more info.
Granite Safari Elephant Boots By Rios Of Mercedes
I figured I would just start out with my favorite boot first. This boot basically is the wild west meets the plains of Africa or vice versa. I’m absolutely in love with the toe of the boot. It’s the new “TK” toe and it’s a new style that is in between a snip toe boot and a square toe boot. The best of both worlds in my opinion.
This boot is a combination of elephant skin vamps and black calfskin shafts with a cross cord pattern and gray stitching that highlights the vamps beautifully.
Material: Elephant skin and Calfskin
Color: Granite and Black
Details: Chain Stitching and Cross Cord Pattern on Shaft, Elephant Pull Straps, Toe Medallion
Toe type: Rios ‘TK’ Toe
Heel type: Rios ‘3 Short’ Heel
Insole: Leather with Cushioned Insoles
Heel Height: 1 3/8″
Shaft Height: 13″
Manufactured: Mercedes, Texas
One More Boot And It’s A Roper
I would say that you had me at “roper“, but you kind of got me at the Granite Safari Elephant boot above. I don’t know about you, but now I want to buy two pairs! My two favorite styles of boots are ropers and square toe. That’s why I’m listing those two here and if you want to see the other two, you can head over to Pinto and check them out.
Rios of Mercedes Men’s Chocolate Sueded Elephant Boots
A CHOCOLATE COWBOY BOOT FEATURING EXOTIC ELEPHANT AND CALFSKIN WITH A CUTTER TOE AND 1 3/8″ WALKING HEEL.
Material: Elephant Vamp, Calfskin Shaft
Details: Cording and Stitched Designs Form ‘X’ on Front and Back of Shaft, Pull Straps
Toe type: Cutter Toe
Heel type: ‘3 Short’
Heel Height: 1 3/8″
Shaft Height: 13″
Manufactured: Mercedes, Texas
I absolutely love these boots because because of the square cutter toe. These are a beautiful pair of boots made from some very tough and durable elephant skin that is ethically harvested. That is very important to me and I don’t want something that was obtained by poachers or something. These boots are amazing with a great story behind them.
These boots are also a combination of beautiful elephant skin and calfskin. The skin is a beautiful rich chocolate color and goes beautifully with the chocolate quarters of the calfskin shafts. Once again this is another pair of the highest quality western boots from Rios of Mercedes. You definitely won’t be disappointed.
The Argument For Or Against
If you are like me, one of the first things you might be thinking of when you hear the words “elephant skin” in conjunction with a pair of boots or any other products is “How is that possible?”. Unlike ivory, elephant skin doesn’t have much regulation on it. Just about anyone can buy and sell elephant leather as long as they adhere to the very lax regulations of the Convention of International Treaty of Endangered Species. It’s seriously a major loophole that people can easily get away with considering it allows you to buy or sell one part of an animal, but not another.
There are two sides to this story though. Ivory is downright illegal no matter what. There is no legal way to harvest it. Ivory is only obtained by poachers and buying or selling of ivory is illegal. Elephant leather on the other hand must be purchased only from sellers coming from legally culled (selectively slaughtered) elephants. I hated to use the word “slaughtered”, but I wanted to use the correct definition of the word.
Animals being “culled” isn’t something new. It happens all over the world and is even a common practice in the United States. A very common example of that is the deer population. A lot of times special seasons are created if the population becomes too dense and limits are adjusted for the same reason. I know of a similar instance for black bears down where I live in Florida. It’s basically a way of population control. This same practice goes for elephants also when the population becomes too large for a particular area and poses a threat to other wildlife or humans.
You will hear arguments either way for elephant skin products, so therefore I ask you to maybe do a little research and make an informed decision. You as a buyer may not know if the product you are purchasing is coming from a legitimately taken animal and this can cause some concern. Luckily I’m listing some great boots by Rios of Mercedes boot company that are sold by Pinto Ranch and all boots made from these majestic animals are legally and ethically obtained to the best of my knowledge.
Elephant, Not Many To Choose From
There aren’t that many pairs or styles of elephant skin boots to choose from. I would say that is definitely a sign that you know it’s exotic, but it’s the truth. From Pinto Ranch, you only have four pairs for men’s cowboy boots and I’m sorry to say, zero for ladies cowgirl boots.
On one train of thought I would say maybe this is a good thing because of the plight of elephants throughout the world. On another hand I would say too bad since these are some beautiful boots! Once again I cannot stress enough that the boots we are talking about here are from the legendary boot makers of Rios of Mercedes sold at Pinto Ranch. I cannot in good faith talk about other brands because I do not know how their elephant skin is obtained.
There might only be four men’s boots offered here, but they all have reviews and they are all 5 stars. These are some great boots that have the Rios of Mercedes name standing behind them. That means they are superbly made by the finest materials from the top of the shaft to the tip of the toe. The also are super comfortable and as every pair of boots designed by Rios, they look fabulous!
An Exotic Skin Boot That May Not Be Around Forever
I didn’t want to sound all doom and gloom here, but this may be the case for real elephant skin boots. The reason that this may true may be a good thing. Maybe there will be some tougher regulations out there to help protect these magnificent animals. I do get the whole idea about some elephants being legally culled, that is why I’m not totally against this leather being used. I definitely would like to see authorities cracking down on people illegally taking these animals and would also love to see more land being protected so elephants can increase in numbers naturally.
As I stated, do a little research if you are uncomfortable in a certain product. That stand for any kind of product be it cowboy boots or a leather jacket. A informed consumer is the best consumer in my opinion and I hope you feel the same.
Once again all of these boots mentioned here are made by Rios of Mercedes and they have more than 160 years of boot making experience. They only use the finest of materials that are legally obtained to create some most beautiful handmade boots in the industry.
If you have any questions, concerns, moans, groans or complaints, feel free to leave a comment below and let us know and I will be happy to try and help you out or maybe another viewer will have the answer you are looking for.