Riding Grade: Refers to the tanning process and animal skin complying to a standard of strength suitable to withstanding a slide on the asphalt with minimal damage to the skin of the rider. Animal hides considered to be riding grade relevant to this site are buffalo and cowhide.
Premium Leather: Also known as Corrected Leather, or “Top Grain”. The second best tanning process from a riding grade perspective, premium cowhide or buffalo leather maintains the strength necessary to protect the rider, but may exhibit a certain stiffness that requires a breaking in period.
Premium Light Weight Leather: The same tanning process as premium leather used on a variety of thinner, lighter weight animal skins. Lambskin and sheepskin are examples of light weight leather and are not considered riding grade. More comfortable in warmer climates, it has been said that any leather is better than no leather, from a protection point of view.
Soft Milled Cowhide: Premium cowhide that goes through an extra step in the tanning process. Rolled in a drum one last time to simulate the breaking in period, hides are softened up, the end result more resembling naked leather than top grain.
Naked Leather: Sometimes referred to as “Ultra” on this site, naked leather is as good as it gets, both in protection and aesthetics. Without embellishment, the grain (epidermis) of the hide is left 100% intact to provide for ultimate strength, and nothing is added but the dye. Hides are hand picked for uniformity and lack of blemishes, resulting in about 10% of all leather being naked. Naked leather is soft and buttery to the touch from the git go, and requires no breaking in period. Naked cowhide is the heaviest, and can (but don’t have to) reach up to 1.5 millimeters in thickness.