Did you know that chaps date back as far as the 17th Century? The earliest form of chaps were a protective leather garment used by mounted riders who herded cattle in Spain and Mexico and were called armas, which meant "shields."
Shotgun chaps, sometimes called "stovepipes", were so named because the legs are straight and narrow. They were the earliest design used by Texas cowboys, in wide use by the late 1870s.
‘Batwing’ chaps are cut wide with a flare at the bottom. Generally made of smooth leather, they have only two or three fasteners around the thigh, thus allowing great freedom of movement for the lower leg.
‘Chinks’ are half-length chaps that stop two to four inches (5 to 10 cm) below the knee, with very long fringe at the bottom and along the sides.
‘Woolies’ are a variation on shotgun chaps, made with a fleece or with hair-on cowhide, often angora, lined with canvas on the inside. They are the warmest chaps, associated with the northern plains and Rocky Mountains. They appeared on the Great Plains somewhere around 1887.
‘Zamorros’ somewhat resemble batwing chaps, in that the leggings are closely fitted at the thigh and flare out below the knee, but unlike batwings, the leggings extend far below the boot with a distinctive triangular flare.
Chaps worn by ‘campinos’ in Portugal during the 1950s were sheepskin or goatskin with the wool or hair on and of a "drainpipe" style, while in Spain, chaps were without hair and feature intricately worked designs called "poker-work. In Spain today, ‘rejoneadores’ wear smooth chaps attached with a single strap behind the knee.
And nowadays, we just love our own half chaps range in so many materials, colours and styles.