Dr Martens has been known for their quality leather footwear and accessories for over fifty years. Almost all of the hides used are sourced from North and South America, coming in a variety of textures and looks, ranging from soft to stiff, shiny to matte, polished to distressed and smooth to grained or pebbled.
But not all leathers are the same. For example, full grain leathers are the strongest and most durable, whereas Nappa and Virginia leathers are the softest and can easily be dyed or painted.
Different leathers change the look and feel of the boot. And choosing the right leather for you and your preference can go a long way in finding your perfect shoe, and if you don’t know your Smooth Leather from your Crazy Horse, then this blog is for you.
The Classic Smooth leather is Dr Martens most widely known and used leather and is used in the majority of the Core and Originals collection. This leather is most famous for its stiffness and durability and takes some time to wear in, but once broken in, it moulds to your feet and becomes the most comfortable shoes you’ll own.
Shoes and boots in this leather can be polished to a dapper shine, or artfully scuffed up depending on your preference and style, with it coming in a wide variety of styles and colours.
The Patent Lamper leather is a fine grain leather which is coated to give a high shine, glossy finish. Not quite as stiff as the smooth leather, it still requires some breaking in and care to maintain its glossy shine, with no need to polish.
Nappa Leather is a soft, supple and pliable leather with a smooth texture. This leather is easily broken in and immediately comfortable. The matte look of the leather also sets it apart from the classic Smooth Leather.
Greasy leather is a soft, lightweight leather that has an oily coating, giving it a waxed, greasy look and feel. This matte look is a great alternative to the shine of the Patent Lamper and Classic Smooth.
Quilon leather is the heavyweight, vintage version of the classic Smooth leather, recreating classic styles from the Dr Martens archives, with a slightly grained effect and a contrasting brown colour on the inside.
This leather is used for all the vintage Made in England Collection styles and is highly sought after. This leather is thick and stiff and requires quite a bit of breaking in but is extremely durable making it well worth the pain of wearing it in.
Virginia Leather is a soft, fine grain leather that has been treated to feel incredibly soft and supple to the touch. This leather is often dyed in a variety of colours and requires almost no breaking in as it stretches easily and is comfortable from the first wear.
The Carpathian leather is Dr Martens Premium, full-grain leather that has an oily, natural tumble texture. Using only the best quality animal hides, this leather is extremely durable yet soft.
Arcadia is a smooth, glossy leather, with a rub-off surface that’s given a special treatment, creating a polished two-tone effect revealing a lighter colour underneath, usually at the heel and toe area.
Crazy Horse Leather, is a brown full grain, lightweight leather that has a distressed, worn look, but also a natural, waxy look and feel. This leather is soft and durable and can be wiped to have a more solid colour and a less distressed look.
Antique Temperley leather is a full grain smooth leather that has been treated in the final stages of the shoe making process to give it an antiqued, two-tone finish without the high shine of the Arcadia leather.
Grizzly Leather is a soft yet heavyweight leather that has a grainy, pebbled like finish. This leather develops a patina, which means it gets darker as it ages, rather than distressing like other leathers.
Suede Leather has been treated to have a long pile and while being soft also has the added benefit of being water resistant. This leather, however, does need extra protection against dirt and stains.
Brando leather is a full grain leather with a waxy finish starting off somewhat smooth, then changing appearance creating a more distressed look with wear.
Soft- T leather has a soft, smooth feel and is made from a full grain leather, giving it a natural look and feel. This leather is often used for the styles with detailing such embroidery or embellishments, like with the Amy-Lee 1460 and Vonda 1914 boots.
Ajax leather is a somewhat stiff leather with a PU coating, that’s matte surface is lined and embossed with a fine geometric design that gives it a unique look and feel.
Buttero Leather is a premium soft full grain leather that is supple with a subtle, satin gloss sheen and has a broken-in comfort.
Dr Martens has also included a vegan option, which is made from synthetic materials (a combination of Polyurethane and Polyamide/Nylon).
The red Cambridge vegan leather has a glossy, two-tone finish, while the black and oxblood vegan leather has a soft matte look and feel.
Dr Martens also has a wide range of other leather free, vegan options. Like canvas, tapestry, and velvet among other materials.
For their wellington style Drench and Shower boots, they’ve used vulcanised rubber.
Whichever leather you choose, with Dr Martens you know you’ll be getting the best quality and a shoe that’s timeless and that you’ll love for years to come.