Examining the Leather in Chippewa Edge Walker Work Boots [Haystack]

I purchased the Chippewa Edge Walker Boots so that I could test the effectiveness and comfort of these boots. In this article I want to focus specifically on the quality of the leather by examining it’s thickness, water-repellency, durability, and comfort.

If you are interested in the full review of this boot, visit my Chippewa Edge Walker Review or watch the full-length video below. In this article I focus more in-depth on the leather.

Reviewing Chippewa Edge Walker Haystack Leather


The leather is what makes these boots very unique. It is a high-quality leather that is very soft and good at repelling water, but it is thinner than other boot leathers. Usually a thinner leather means it’s a poorer leather.

That’s not the case with these boots. Let’s discuss why in the sections below.

What Type of Leather Does Chippewa Use?

My Chippewa Edge Walker Boots are made using a cowhide “Haystack” full grain leather. This leather is tumbled, which makes it feel soft and flexible straight out of the box. It is also heavily infused with oils which adds to the softness and makes it very water-repellent.

Here I am wearing my Chippewa Edge Walker Boots:


There’s a little trick you can use to see how oiled the leather is. If you bend the leather and crease it and it dis-colors, that is from the oils shifting away from the crease.

As you can see below, when I crease the leather on my Chippewa Edge Walker Boots it dis-colors as the oils shift away from the crease (the color returns to normal as you even out the leather):


How Thick is This Chippewa Leather?

The thickness of this Haystack leather is one of the most important issues to discuss. This is a thinner leather. As you can see below, I measured the leather thickness on the shaft of my Chippewa Edge Walker Boots at 2.16mm.


When I recently tried 11 different types of waterproof moc-toe boots, the thickness of this leather put it near the bottom.

Here is how the thickness of the leather on the Chippewa Edge Walker compares to the other boots I tried:

BootLeather Thickness (mm)
Carhartt WP Moc Toe2.59
Thorogood 19572.48
Irish Setter Wingshooter2.36
Carolina Ferric2.30
Timberland Pro Gridstone2.30
Red Wing Traction Tred 4052.22
Rocky Outback Hiker2.20
Chippewa Edge Walker2.16
Brunt Marin2.12
Keen Cincinnati2.02
Ecco Track 25 Hiker1.51

As you can see, this leather is thinner than most boot leathers.

But this is where it gets interesting – this is not a bad leather. Most work boots that use thin leathers are using a cheap leather. That is not the case with these boots.

I found this leather to be more water-repellent than all but one of the other boots (meaning it was heavily treated with oils, much more than other options). Also, my pair of heavily used Chippewa Edge Walker Boots does not show any signs of flaking or cracking in the leather, which gives me the confidence that despite being a thinner leather, this leather is resilient and long-lasting due to the premium treatment applied to it in the manufacturing process.


Now, to be fair, it won’t be as durable as some of the thicker, premium leathers, but the positive trade-off you gain here in these boots is weight (and that’s why I think this leather is unique).

This leather is a high-quality, dependable leather, but instead of positioning itself as thicker, ultra-durable leather, this leather is positioning itself as a dependable leather that is thin enough to also allow the boot to feel lightweight.

Is This Leather Heavy?

I own style 25341, which is the soft-toe, 6-inch version of this boot. My size 12 Chippewa Edge Walker Boot weighs 1.91 pounds per boot:


This is very lightweight compared to similar types of waterproof moc-toe work boots. Here is how the weight of Chippewa Edge Walker Boots compares to the other waterproof moc toe boots that I tried:

BootWeight (lbs)
Carolina Ferric2.33
Keen Cincinnati2.29
Thorogood 19572.20
Timberland Pro Gridstone2.14
Red Wing Traction Tred 4052.08
Irish Setter Wingshooter2.07
Carhartt WP Moc Toe2.05
Brunt Marin2.02
Chippewa Edge Walker1.91
Rocky Outback (Hiker)1.54
Ecco Track 25 (Hiker)1.49

As you can see, it was the third lightest in weight – but here’s the thing: the two boots that were lighter than this Chippewa Edge Walker Boots were both hiker boots. That means this Chippewa Edge Walker was actually the most lightweight if you look at just the boots designed specifically to be work boots.

If you hate heavy work boots, these are a great option for you.


Most of the time if a boot is lightweight, that just means it uses less and/or cheaper materials. But as we discussed earlier, I found this leather to still be high quality even though it was thinner than certain other leathers (we will discuss how the other parts of this boot impact weight as we proceed through the review).

Testing This Haystack Leather in Wet Conditions

The leather on these Chippewa Edge Walker Boots is very good at repelling water.

I will discuss this in more detail later in the waterproof testing section, but I drip-tested water onto the leather of these Chippewa Edge Walker boots to see if the leather would absorb or repel away the water. This is obviously an important issue for waterproof boots.


The leather on these boots repelled away the water and had no absorption. In the photo below, I tried to capture that the best I could, but I would advise you to watch the full video of me testing this in my Chippewa Edge Walker Review video at the top of the page.


To be effectively waterproof, it is important that boots not only have a waterproof membrane inside the boot (which keeps your foot dry), but it is also important that the boots have treated leather that repels away water. It does you no good if the membrane protects your foot but the leather itself becomes water-logged and heavy.

I recently tested 11 different types of the most popular waterproof moc-toe boots, and I was shocked to find that only two of those boots had leather that actually repelled all water. This Chippewa Edge Walker Boot was one of those two boots – the other was the Thorogood 1957 Series Boot (Chippewa Edge Walker vs Thorogood 1957 Boots).

For comparison, below is a photo of a different brand of waterproof moc toe boots that I tested. This other brand had leather that immediately began absorbing water when I drip-tested it:


This is a major benefit of these Chippewa Edge Walker Boots, especially if you are working in very wet conditions. The leather is very good at repelling water.

Here is a photo I took of these Chippewa Edge Walker Boots about two minutes after I poured the water:


As you can see, the leather is dry with no absorption. This leather acts as an effective first layer of protection against water.

Is the Chippewa Edge Walker Leather Hard to Break In?

The leather on these Chippewa Edge Walker boots is not hard to break in. There are four main reasons why this is the case:

  • Tumbled Leather – The Haystack Leather is tumbled which softens it and helps break the leather in before the boot is assembled. Here is a close-up look at the tumbled leather:
  • Oils – The oils in the leather also help give the boot a soft, comfortable feel straight out of the box.
  • Thickness of Leather – As we have discussed, the leather on this boot is thinner than many similar types of boots.
  • Materials Under the Foot – This boot also uses lightweight and flexible materials underneath the foot which reduces the break-in period (more on that in a bit).

Is This Chippewa Edge Walker Leather Worth It?

Yes, I think this leather is very high quality.

But because this leather isn’t as thick as other work boots, that brings the durability of this leather into question. Premium work boots using thicker leathers will obviously be a bit more durable.

However, I found the leather of these Chippewa Edge Walker Boots to be quite resilient even though it is a thinner leather. That is a testament to the fact that although this is a thinner leather, it’s not a low-quality leather. It has been treated during the manufacturing process to be resilient and long lasting.

Below are close-up pictures of the leather on my pair of used Chippewa Edge Walker boots. As you can see, the leather is not cracking or flaking in the natural bend spots (and the seams are also holding up well):


It is important to keep the leather oiled to prolong the life of the boot (I like to oil mine about once every 4-6 weeks).

Paul Johnson

Paul is a lead content creator for Workwear Command. He has had several blue-collar jobs which have provided him a wide range of experience with tools and gear. He also has a business degree and has spent time in business casual office settings.

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