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Why Do Cowboys Prefer Cowhide Gloves? – 5 Reasons

Fact checked by Andrew Carnegie

why do cowboys prefer cowhide gloves

Chaps, sturdy boots, trousers, and leather gloves are all parts of the cowboys’ signature look. Their attire, which might look elaborate nowadays, comes from a long tradition.

Why do cowboys prefer cowhide gloves? What makes leather surpass other materials? Leather cowboy gloves protect their hands from rope burns, blisters, barbed wire, and sharp branches in the wild. They need a thick, tough, durable, and heat-resistant material, which only cowhide can provide.

5 Reasons Why Cowboys Prefer Cowhide Gloves


Cattle’s skin used to be a waste product until the ancient civilizations realized they could use it as a fabric. Since then, cowhide has become one of the most popular types of leather.

It is durable and elastic with an impressively smooth natural texture. Its thickness ranges from half an inch to an inch. It can be processed by multiple techniques, such as dyes, pigments, and colorings. Black cowboy gloves are a common color dye.

In addition, cowhide’s flexibility allows many different leather finishes. Full-grain, genuine, embossed, embroidered, nubuck, oily, split, pigmented, and suede – just to name a few.

If gloves come with fringe, it is made from the same leather. With cowhide’s flexibility, manufacturers can make the cowboy gloves’ fringe more flowy and unique.

On top of that, cowboys love cowhide for many other properties:

1. Durability

Cowhide is durable and not as prone to cracks and tears as other types of leather. It lasts five times longer than regular fabric and is abrasion-resistant.

Cowboys herd animals, ride horses, and perform many ranch-related tasks (e.g., care for horses, repair fences), all of which require tough gloves. Unlike other leather, the longer you wear cowhide leather gauntlet gloves, the more sturdy they will become.

The only leather that can provide similar sturdiness and strength is goatskin, but it is much more expensive.

2. Sun and heat resistance


Most cowboys come from Texas, where the weather is torrid and unpleasant most of the time. Cowhide resists sun and heat damage. It won’t wear out, lose the original color, or become brittle under the hot sun.

3. Good grip

Cowboys need gloves that can grip the bull rope during a ride. Cowhide leather provides just that. You might notice cowboys wearing a glove only on the non-dominant hand to ride bulls and horses, leaving the other hand free to carry out other tasks.

Pigskin gloves offer grip, too. But they are thinner, softer, and unsuitable for labor work.

4. Water and dirt resistance


Herding and taking care of cattle involve much work with wet grasses and mud.

Cowhide can repel dirt, dust, and water, making it easy to care for.

5. Availability

Cows are popular cattle. Their skin is also easier to manipulate, dye, and process. Thus, cowhide gloves are widely available at reasonable prices. They have a great value for their texture and safety properties.


There you have it – the answer to “Why do cowboys prefer cowhide gloves?” The cowboy attire emerges from many different cultures and practical needs. To learn genuine authenticity and dress like a real cowboy, you need to know why they wear what they wear.

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