What are Leather Chaps?
Leather chaps are pieces of clothing that have been around automatically forever. While they can be quite stylish in certain scenes, they also have their purpose, dating back to the days of the wild, wild west. There are two different kinds of chaps, both intended to give a better grip. Here is a look at the two types as well as what their specific uses are.
Short Leather Chaps
The first type is the half chaps that wrap around the part of your leg from the start of your ankle to the area just below your knee. This allows the material to cover your leg to make it look and feel like long boots might if you happen to be wearing short boots instead. They are not intended for wear with jeans, but instead garments like breeches are preferred in this instance. If you do ride a horse in jeans, half chaps do stop the leg of the jeans from spinning about and becoming uncomfortable. Half chaps are excellent for keeping your pants, whatever the type, from riding up and away from your boots. If you are familiar with riding pants, you will notice the little area of material by the knee area. This is to substitute for a lack of chaps by allowing better grip if you find yourself without them.
Full Leather Chaps
The second type of chaps is known as full chaps. Full chaps substitute for tall boots as well. They keep the rider in the saddle with great ease while keeping the rider's pants clean free of dirt and other elements while out riding. While they are excellent in preventing the wearer to maintain a great grip, they are also more protective than their half counterparts. Full chaps allow for protection against many of the uncomfortable factors attributed to riding or working in the wild. This includes things like sticks and branches in the harsh brush, injuries from vegetation such as sagebrush, mesquite and various cacti. Not only do full length chaps serve as a great protective barrier, they also help in other ways. When you put them on over top of your usual clothing, full chaps work to ensure that you are warm in the winter and dry when it is wet out, and they also reduce any chafing you may experience from riding for an extended period of time. They also work to ensure that your legs are not rubbing against the leather to avoid things like chapped legs or small abrasions from the friction. Long chaps can be worn atop anything, including both jeans and breeches, making these long alternatives a bit more versatile than their shorthair counterparts.
In short, leather chaps come in two main forms, and each one serves their own unique purposes, including maintaining grip. One of the common threads between half chaps and full chaps is that they work to protect one who is riding a horse from the elements, both in the sense of staying warm and dry, as well as in the sense of protecting the legs from vegetation that may be abrasive.