When it comes to durability, leather is the best material for boots, whether for work, adventure, or casual wear. Among different leather types, full-grain leather is the one with the finest quality, and so are the full-grain leather boots, which are considered top-of-the-line.

Due to their weather endurance, waterproof capability, or long life, full-grain leather boots provide you with the best wearing experience. Understandably, they will be expensive. Likewise, it is not just leather, rather you need good manufacturing, quality control, and care at the end of both shoemakers and end-users.

Before jumping onto full-grain leather shoes directly, let us review some important facts about leather types.

What is Full-Grain Leather?

It is a type of leather that is made from whole animal hides, whether it is cow, sheep, or some other animal. The full-grain leather comes from the outermost layer of the animal hide and is the most durable one. It is primarily used for heavy-duty items, including work boots, furniture coverings, bags, gun holsters, etc.

Full grain leather comes with a smooth, and lavish outlook which has very few flaws. You can expect natural spots on it as it is an unprocessed form of leather. However, it is strong and durable, yet breathable. As the natural patterns and outlook are preserved, thanks to no processing, every item is unique.

Different Kinds of Leathers

Besides full-grain leather, there are other kinds such as top-grain leather, genuine leather, pull-up leather, suede leather, etc.

Top Grain Leather

The top-grain leather, although the name may be confusing, is different than full-grain leather. The outermost layer of animal hide is full-grain leather, whereas the top-grain leather is the second layer.

Genuine Leather

Likewise, the term ‘genuine leather’ does not necessarily mean to differentiate natural leather (whether processed or non-processed) from synthetic leather. It is another name for corrected or split leather, which is low-grade, thick, processed leather.

Do not confuse it with ‘genuine’ vs ‘synthetic leather’ as there is more to just being ‘original’ or ‘real’ when you see genuine leather products (i.e., genuine leather boots).

Pull-up leather

This one, also known as waxed leather or oil leather, is a kind of finished leather that gives a vibrant surface tone and color to make it visually fascinating. As the name suggests, it is finished using different waxes and oils.

It is a kind of variant for full-grain leather that is used in making work boots as well. When you want to shop for full-grain leather boots, but need some bright shiny surface, shoes made with pull-up leather would be your solution.

Suede leather

It is a kind of leather that is made from the innermost layer of hides (the one closer to flesh). Although it is used in all kinds of leather products, including shoes, it is quite different from other types.

It is prone to absorbing water and getting stained. The noticeable difference between full-grain leather boots and suede ones would be that the latter will be softer and thinner, although not as strong as the former.

Best 5 Full Grain Leather Boots - Reviews

Now that you understand various kinds of leather, and you want to get a pair of full-grain leather boots, let us help you by providing a few good options.

1. Dr. Martens Wax Full Grain Chelsea Boot

Featured by black waxed and chestnut brown waxed color options, these full-gran leather boots are the only ones on our list that are unisex. With a good rating of 4.6 (from 5) on the official website and Amazon store, these shoes offer an easy on-and-off elastic ankle closure.

They come with smooth leather which is lightly textured and has a soft sheen. A few customers have indicated that they can be snug and bulky, which you may not like.

2. Timberland PRO 6 Inch Steel Toe Work Boots

Made with anti-fatigue technology to provide comfortable wear, these Timberland shoes are made with rubber soles that are heat, water, oil, slip, and abrasion resistant.

A few customers may have complained about them being heavy and stiff, but 90% of them liked the boots as comfortable and durable. The overall rating is 4.5/5.0 from 7000+ reviews.

3. Ariat Heritage IV Zip Paddock Boots

Designed specifically for women’s fit, these full-grain leather boots are made with 4-layer rebound (4LR) technology. They provide comfort along with stabilizing the foot and enhancing performance. The breathable lining keeps them dry.

They have a good rating of 4.4 out of 5 by customers praising their quality and comfort. Keep in mind that there are also some people complaining about them being torn away and some complaining about them being tight.

4. Thorogood Heritage Steel Toe Work Boots

It is one of the most popular series on Thoorogood. Featured by a removable footbed, these shoes are designed for industrial and outdoor use. The footbed provides shock absorption, slip resistance and a steel toe works best for safety when working in harsh environments and any wet or muddy surfaces.

With an average rating of 4.6 out of 5 for its high-quality and comfortable features, there are still a few people criticizing it as being narrow, not waterproof or not insulated.

5. EverBoot Tank Soft Toe Full Grain Leather Boots

These boots offer maximum comfort with pain-free soft oil full-grain leather, reinforced stitching, supple nubuck, and excellent arch support. Their stylish design suits any occasion, making them perfect for both work and everyday wear. Tank boots are your go-to choice for long, tough workdays and are built to last.

With a rating of 4.7/5.0, most customers appreciate its style and find it comfortable for workwear. However, some buyers complained about its fit. Make sure to check the size and choose the best one for you.

FAQs About Full Grain Leather Boots

While you might already have an understanding of the ins and outs of full-grain leather boots, here we have answered some of the frequently asked questions (FAQs) for you. If you have any more questions, please ask them in the comments section below this post.

  1. Is full-grain leather waterproof?

The raw full-grain leather is not waterproof. However, waxing and other treatments make it water-resistant.

  1. How to clean full-grain leather boots?

One of the easiest ways to clean stains from full-grain leather boots is to use vinegar or lemon juice. After removing stains, you may dry it with a clean cloth. Another commonly used method is to use alcohol swabs or wipes.

  1. How to identify full-grain leather?

One of the easiest ways to differentiate full-grain leather from other types is by inspecting its surface closely. The full-grain leather will NOT have a refined surface. It would rather have natural imperfections, i.e., scar marks, spots, or lines.

  1. Does full-grain leather scratch easily?

No, the full-grain leather does not get scratched that easily compared to top-grain leather. That’s because full-grain leather is the outermost layer which comes in contact with the environment directly. Thus, nature has designed it to be scratch-resistant technically.

  1. How to soften full-grain leather?

The use of oil, conditioner, and even water as well as brief exposure to sunlight can help soften the full-grain leather. However, always test a small area with a light application to experience the effect it brings. If soft leather is your choice, you may opt for full-grain leather made from sheep hides, although they are delicate and do not last longer as compared to the one made from cow hides.

  1. Is full-grain leather real leather?

Yes, full-grain leather is ‘real’ leather as it comes from the skin or outermost part of an animal hide. However, do not be shocked when someone says that full-grain leather is not genuine leather. The word ‘genuine’ here means something different, as explained earlier.

  1. Which is better: top grain or full grain leather?

Full-grain leather is the best one in terms of durability, scratch resistance, and overall quality. However, it is more expensive than top grain. Top-grain leather is thinner than full-grain leather, and if you prefer that, then top-grain leather may be your choice.

  1. Can full-grain leather get wet?

Yes, it can get wet if it has not been made water-resistant by treatment with oils or sprays. Even when it is water-resistant or waterproof, it is not a good idea to intentionally use it in water for a prolonged time. On getting dry, you may have to get it finished.

  1. How long does full-grain leather last?

Generally, you can say a full-grain leather product can last 10-15 years. It depends on what kind of product you have (furniture coverings can survive a lifetime, and shows can go 20-30 years). Well, durability generally depends on care and also what animal hide was used. The cow leather is the most durable one.

  1. What is the disadvantage of full-grain leather?

It is hard and not so flexible, so one may not use it for products that need flexibility. Also, the natural stains and spots may look clumsy, and some people may not prefer it. Lastly, it is one of the most expensive types of leather.


While there are several kinds of leather, full-grain leather stands out from others as it is a high-grade and the most durable type. Boots that are made of full grain leather can last for several years and are suitable for various use conditions, i.e., walking, mountaineering, doing industrial and laborious work, etc.

However, these kinds of shoes are quite expensive and need extra care to maintain them. For boot care tips, please read more from our blog here: Tips to Make Your Boots Last Longer.

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