We consider leather armor as a protective tool of the middle ages when war was going on everywhere. They were cheap and available all over the world. Even in this modern era, leather armor has a pretty vast area of usage.
Leather armor is mainly used to protect an individual from serious injuries. In the past, they were used widely for military purposes as an additional protective layer for warriors. Leather armors were also helpful as a replacement for metal armors. At present, leather armors are seen in craft shops because they need such tools to work with dangerous materials. Some hobbyists also like to keep these in their collections.
All in all, leather armors have aroused a great deal of interest among collectors nowadays. Besides the usual historical context, cosplayers have also expressed fascination towards leather armors owing to some cultural phenomena and references.
What Is Leather Armor?
Leather armor is a type of armor or garment that’s designed to protect its wearer from getting injured. The armor is made of leather and provides a soft touch with minor irritation compared to metal armors.
The armor uses several layers of leather to protect your vital areas such as the chest, legs, arms, etc. They were used as an inner layer of metal armor to absorb the shock and energy from a strike.
They are pretty popular because of their lightweight and flexibility. Nowadays, artisans use them in craft shops to protect their skin from harmful materials and vast amounts of heat.
The variation of leather armors increased when several advanced methods were introduced. Although many innovations are included in creating leather armors, they are not as expensive as metal armors.
Is Leather Armor Any Good?
You shouldn’t think that leather armors are not useful. Because if not, human civilization wouldn’t have had extensive usage of these armors for ages. To put it simply, the leather armors serve their intended purpose.
Their primary purpose is to protect the wearer from being cut by accident or unintentionally. They also absorb some physical energy if the hits are not at 90-degree angles. A lot of time, lather armors can also reduce the impact of a blow and disperse the energy equally before reaching your body underneath.
They are also necessary tools for blacksmiths or artisans while working in their shops. That’s because they can resist massive amounts of heat that no other material can do.
So, yes, leather armors are valuable tools to any craftsman today. When working in a heated workshop or dealing with flammable sources of heat, leather armor can be of great use for safety and precautions.
Was Leather Used As Armor?
If you notice carefully, in the early middle ages, leather armors were one of the most popular ones to be used as armor. Well, the reason is that leather was available around the world. Because of that, they were very cheap too.
On top of that, it was effortless to make leather armor because it didn’t need any plate or ring mail to create the shape. If you need one, you could make your own pairs.
But when new battle gears were introduced, such as metal armors, leather armors faded as battle gears. Later on, they were placed inside the metal armor to increase comfort and protection for the wearer.
So, yes, leather was definitely used as armor but not in its most literal sense. Instead, it was an additional wearable besides standard metal armors in wars.
Types Of Leather Armor
You will be surprised to know that even leather armors have several types. Each of the leather armors has its unique design and purposes. Here is detailed information on the armor types.
Studded Leather Armor
In studded armor, several layers of leather are used to provide extra protection. And those separate layers are combined by metal studs. So, the whole armor gets covered with a metal stud that adds some durability to the armor.
However, these extra studs put some weight on the armor, and the wearer has to bear the excess weight all along. Though the studs create some additional protection, they can’t stop a straight arrow or a direct strike from a sword. The empty place between the studs is vulnerable to any strike.
But no evidence is found as proof of the existence of studded leather armor. The structure is also poorly designed compared to other types.
Female Leather Armor
You can guess the function of this armor by its name. This type of armor is specially made for women on the battlefield or in any other sector. As males and females have different body shapes, female leather armor needs more accuracy, fitting, and thinner counterparts compared to men.
It’s very rare to find female leather armor in history. Even if you find some of them, you will notice a bra-shape molding on the chest area. However, it can do the job of protecting the wearer perfectly.
At present, female leather armor is more of a fantasy to us. This type of armor is primarily used in cosplay or other plays to portray any historical character.
Boiled Leather Armor
You can say that the boiled leather armors were the most technically advanced models in the middle ages. It’s because the leather is specially processed in paraffin, water with extremely high temperatures, and bee wax to increase its durability and lifetime.
The exact theory of creating boiled leather armors has not been discovered yet. But without a doubt, the final product is a viable replacement for standard leather armors.
Several procedures are found through some research, but they don’t have much similarities with each other.
RFB Viking Leather Armor
The acronym RFB defines Ready For Battle. This type of leather armor is made of heavy woven leather using the same technique as the brigandine. The metals plates are attached to the woven leather parts, and combinedly they make durable and robust leather armor.
The protection ability of this armor increases manifolds because of these extra layers. Also, the design makes the Viking armors more tough and sustainable.
The armors are also adjustable to any individual, which includes protection of your torso and other parts. That’s why they were famous on battlefields, and even now, they are on the priority list of collectors.
Functional Leather Armor
You will notice several types of armor-making techniques in the design of functional leather armor. For example, you will see that the armor is multi-layered. Also, the armor is partially or fully covered in studs and bonded with several layers.
So, you can say that the concept of functional leather armor is a mixture of several types. The designs are combined to form a new kind of leather armor.
The armor has all the specifications that are needed to be in a battle. It would support and hold up the soldier longer than any standard leather armor.
Even nowadays, these armors are made with the same technique and accuracy to maintain their delicacy.
Custom Leather Armor
Yeah, it means that you can order a customized leather armor based on your favorite design or any other from fictional characters. There are many shops and online platforms that take orders of customized leather armors.
However, this is not a new invention of the modern era. Even in the middle ages, custom leather armors were made especially for kings, princes, and members of royal families. General people couldn’t get their hands on it because the prices were too high, and only royals could pay for it.
The concept is also applicable at present because customized leather armor will cost you two or three times more than standard leather armor.
Medieval Leather Armor
It refers to the types of armors developed in the middle ages like leather garments between metal plates, boiled leather, etcetera.
The middle-age is considered the peak point of the development of leather armors. That’s because, in this era, people develop their knowledge in the armory and figure out that only leather can’t protect them from external harm.
So, they used the leather as the middle part between metal plates and your body to maximize the heat and impact absorption. This is also known as medieval leather armor.
Leather Armor Historical
This explicitly indicates the armor that was used in history. In the early middle ages, leather armors were very popular to use in wars. But later on, metal armors were introduced to the general mass.
So, those armors still have historical value. That’s why whenever there is a play to perform historical characters, those armors are used.
Though the real ones are in the collections of some hobbyists, several copies are made just for the plays or some other sectors.
Leather Armor For Cosplay
In the cosplays, several historical tools are recognized, and leather armor is one of them. The armors are used to distinguish the specific characters like what they look like during wars.
That’s why they reproduce the leather armors by keeping in mind the structures of those armors. As leather is a bit costly nowadays, manufacturers don’t build the armors with it most of the time. Instead of that, they use EVA foam, plastics, faux leather, etcetera.
The primary purpose of these cosplay armors is to look alike. So, they aren’t functional or best in quality.
Leather Armor Suit
The leather armor suit gives you full-body protection. This means from head to toe, every part of your body is protected through a leather cover.
A full-body leather armor suit isn’t trendy because it can’t provide enough protection from directly thrown arrows or swords. However, they are pretty helpful in avoiding unintentional scratches or small strikes. That’s why people wear a leather armor suit as an inner layer underneath a metal armor suit.
Wearing a full-body metal suit would protect your body from a stroke. But if the soldier wears a leather suit and the metal ones, the damage protection would increase manifolds.
Leather Armor Buying Guide
If you want to buy or make leather armor, you need to consider some facts. It will be helpful to choose the perfect armor. Here are the things you need to know before getting your personal leather armor for cosplay.
Design is anyone’s personal preference. You should get leather armor according to your choice and your body type.
That’s because the body type should be compatible with your design, or else it won’t fit. If you want historical leather armor, you have options of Celtic armor, roman armor, medieval armor, etcetera.
If you want to use leather armors in cosplays, you can get inspired by games, movies, or other cultural references. They won’t be protective, but they will have stylish looks.
Greaves are made to protect the lower part of the body, such as your legs and knees. In the early middle ages, leather greaves hadn’t been invented yet. But after some generations, people discovered its necessity and began to build a pair along with the armor.
The greaves are not heavy and are easy to wear compared to the metals. So, make sure you have a pair of leather greaves and whether they can protect your legs and knees or not.
Leather vests are helpful to protect your chest and allow enough air to pass through your arms. If you wear a leather vest with the armor, it will provide extra protection to you. It can also resist more heat combined with the armor.
The vest also protects your back. So, when you are getting leather armor, make sure you add a leather vest.
Weight is one of the most significant factors to consider while getting any type of armor. The weight also depends on the wearer’s body part.
For example, heavy-weight armor is perfect for the shoulder, but the arms should be lightweight. A medium-weight armor is compatible with the limbs because you need to move without any hindrance. If you are going to use the armors in cosplay, they need to be lightweight.
But if you use them for protection, you will need genuine leather with heavier materials from the core to the outer part of the armor.
Not all leather armors are made battle-ready. Only if the armors are manufactured with accurate materials, tools, and techniques, will they be battle-ready.
If you are going to participate in some sort of play, you will need those historical tactics in the leather armors. When the armor has metal studs, they become more durable and thicker. Then, they can even provide higher protection. But in cosplays, you won’t need any battle readiness.
The protection and longevity of leather armors can vary according to their materials. For example, boiled leather and woven leather can provide more excellent protection compared to standard leather armors. If the armors are studded, then their defense will be comparable to metal armors.
Leather can be collected from various sources and hardened by different types of processes. Typically, 12 to 13-ounce leather is of the best quality. But the 8 to 9-ounce leather can also be used in armors, and they will be lightweight.
While getting leather armor, you should ensure the size according to your body. If you are ordering one or buying one, you will need the exact measurements to make the armor fit your body. So, measure your body size and then order one.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
1. How to dye leather armor in Minecraft?
Dyeing the leather armor in Minecraft games is pretty straightforward.
First, you have to collect some leather. You can make some leather armors at the crafting table or collect some of them from zombie villages.
Then, you have to place the cauldron and get some water with a bucket and fill the cauldron up. When you have enough water, it’s time to add some of your selected dye to the cauldron.
After that, select your leather armor and add it to the cauldron. You will see a fashionable look in your armor instantly.
2. Is studded leather armor real?
No, there is no physical evidence of studded leather armor. Theoretically, this type of armor is made of a thick layer of leather combined with metal studs. But when we look into reality, there’s no such armor that exists.
However, some types called brigandine have a similar mechanism. It means they use metal studs to keep the metal plates at their places. But they are not covered with metal studs, as the theory says.
So, there’s no studded leather armor that could exist in reality.
3. Can leather armor protect you?
According to the manufacturers, the leather armors can provide protection of 7 armor points. But metal armor can provide 15 armor points.
Every armor point signifies a 4 percent damage reduction. It means leather armor can reduce 28 percent damage while metal armor can reduce 60 percent damage.
But the leather armors have massive energy protection compared to metal armors.
4. Is leather armor better than metal?
There’s no argument on which one is better between leather and metal armor. Obviously, metal armor is better. That’s because metal armors have more excellent damage reduction capability compared to leather armor.
Leather armors can protect you from scratches or other minor injuries. They can provide protection from huge impacts or arrows that are directly thrown at you.
But leather armor is your best choice when you are working in a place where protection is needed from massive heat energy.
5. Where did the idea of leather armor come from?
If we look at history, leather armor was first used in the 13th and 14th centuries in Europe. The Europeans learned about the brigandine, which was a type of leather armor from the Mongols.
As they invaded Europe, people first knew about such kinds of armors that could be used on the battlefield to protect themselves. Then people develop leather armor to protect their elbow, shoulder, chest, and rest of the upper part of the body.
What is boiled leather?
Mainly, boiled leather refers to a particular material used in the armor-making process. An armor made from boiled leather is tough and rigid. The term from French “cuir bouilli” refers to boiled leather.
The leather is soaked in a boiling paraffin and beeswax mixture, which is very smelly and flammable. After the treatment, the soaked leather becomes rigid and takes a tangible form. You can form it in any shape before it hardens, and it will stay like that till its decomposition.
Leather armors have substantial historical significance. Even in this era, leather armors are used in various sectors such as cosplays, craft shops, etcetera.
Their effectiveness had been proved again and again against any kind of blows and scrapes. But their best usage is inside the metal armors to increase the impact resistance and comfort for the wearer.
Hopefully, our buying guide has proved helpful to you. And whenever you get leather armor, you should be able to select the best one. Represent the golden history of leather armors with more delicacy!