Saddleback Boot Leather iPhone case review

REVIEW – I have been a Saddleback Leather fan for years. Their gear is handmade by old world artisans from thick, rich leathers all backed by SBL’s 100 year warranty. In addition to their bags, SBL creates device specific cases and accessories for a select few of the latest and greatest tech devices. This mixing of old and new, not only provides your smart device protection but a stylish, unique look and feel as well. For this review, Saddleback has sent their Boot Leather iPhone X case to checkout.

What is it?

The Saddleback Boot Leather smartphone case is form fitted for the iPhone X. The vegetable tanned leather is cut and then shaped by hand using an ‘ancient’ wet-forming process. And while this slim case is only as thick as the leather itself, it provides decent protection without adding much bulk or weight to the sleek, tech-sexy iPhone X.

Design and features

The Saddleback Boot Leather iPhone X case’s slim, form-fitting design wraps your smartphone in a thick layer of high quality leather. According to Saddleback, the leather’s natural and undyed color will patina and darken beautifully with age and use…which I am looking forward to since I prefer darker leathers.

Each Boot Leather iPhone case is handmade with no two the same. Saddleback craftsman form each piece of leather by hand and once set, takes 10 hours to cure. This ancient process wet-forms the leather with no need for an inner plastic liner many/most of the other manufactures use. After a few wks of use, the case has not given up any of its shape or form as it breaks in.

There are press-through notches for the volume buttons and a cutout for the mute switch on the left side of the case.

The right side has a single press-through notch for the power button. All of the press-through buttons are taking time to wear in and initially required a good amount of force to actual press the button.

The top of the case completely covers the corners and top of the iPhone X.

The base of the case has a large single cutout allowing access to the lightening port and speakers while still protecting the corners.

As you can see, the ‘boot’ leather is thick, fine grained, and gorgeous. The case wraps around the curved edges and corners of the iPhone. The raised edging surrounding the screen provides additional protection, allowing you to set the smartphone on a surface facedown without touching.

I was a little worried about what the stiff leather case did to my (very nice) InvisibleShield screen protector. Initially the bottom corners pressed on the screen protector edge causing the glass protector to come away from the iPhone screen. I was able to press the InvisibleShield back onto the face of the smartphone…no harm, no foul. The same thing happened when I pressed the side push-through buttons but like the edges, the screen protector settled back into place. As the case has worn in and become a bit less stiff, this has become less of an issue.

The cutout for the camera is the least fitted/precise part of the Boot Leather case. Seems like Saddleback could have cut this closer to the edges of the camera bulge. Several pictures on their website show similar gaps around the camera. That said, the larger cutout does not lessen its protection of the camera assembly.

The boot leather Saddleback uses has a great, supple feel to it, adding grippability to the slippery glass and stainless steel iPhone. I typically go case-less, trusting in my sure hands to not let gravity and hard surfaces damage my tech-toys. But Saddleback’s Boot Leather case is very tempting indeed…leaving it on @least until the next case I have to review 😉 . I want to see the patina long-term use will bring.

What I like

  • Handmade from high quality full grain leather
  • Perfectly fitted for the iPhone X
  • Gives an old world style and feel to the slick smartphone
  • Adds protection and grippability

What needs to be improved

  • Takes a bit of use before the push-through buttons to wear in
  • Camera cutout could/should be more precisely fitted

Final thoughts

Preferring to use my smart devices naked, I’m a bit surprised how much I like the Saddleback Boot Leather iPhone case. Its style, design, and feel are unique in the world of nearly endless mass-produced iPhone cases. It is well made with high quality leather and old world craftsmanship all-the-while providing solid protection to your very breakable smartphone. Definitely worthy of consideration if you’re in the market for a new iPhone X case.

Price: $79.99
Where to buy: Saddleback Leather
Source: The sample of this product was provided by Saddleback Leather.

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