Chaps, which is short for chaparajos, is an item of clothing that is worn over top of your pants or work pants to protect your legs from various types of hazards. Chaps are designed to protect the legs of men and women who work with cattle and horses from contact with daily environmental and occupational hazards. They help to protect people from things such as the thorns of cacti and other types of vegetation, and they also help to keep the dust, mud and other types of dirt off of their pants. Chaps are also ideal at protecting your legs against rope burns and falls from your horse. A specialized version of chaps that is known as a shoeing apron is designed to help protect the legs of farriers from getting scratched and while shoeing or treating the hooves of horses.
Leather chaps often invoke romantic images of a cowboy on the wide-open range, perhaps playing his guitar, swinging a lasso or wielding a six-shooter. Chaps are made out of tough cowhide or supple and soft leather. Chaps are also worn by motorcycle riders for overall leg protection. There are two basic types of chaps that are available, which are called batwing and shotgun chaps.
Batwing chaps are often worn by cowboys, cowgirls, and by other people who ride horses for a living or for pleasure. These chaps allow for greater freedom of movement since they have only two or three fasteners around the thighs and fit loosely. This makes it more comfortable for mounting and dismounting the horse. Batwing chaps also give you more air circulation and help to keep you cooler in hot weather.
Each leg of a pair of shotgun chaps is cut from a single piece of leather and they fit snugly around the legs. They can be zipped up along the length of the legs and are often worn by motorcycle riders. They are called shotgun chaps because the legs are straight and narrow, like the barrel of a shotgun. These chaps are designed to keep you warmer in the cool weather.
Leather chaps can be worn as tough items of work wear and as casual wear. They are available in different leg lengths and a variety of colors such as: black, tan, beige, brown, white, and red, etc.