Hide Boots are a craftable middle-tier foot armor piece in RUST and are available to all players as a default blueprint. The current iteration can be traced back to the implementation of Leather as a component as early as August 2015.
The most commonly associated item set when used in comparison for the hide armor set is burlap, requiring roughly the same amount of Cloth as hide requires leather. In the apples, to oranges, defensive statistical comparison, hide boots and Burlap Shoes put up comparable numbers with hide boots narrowly edging out burlap in the areas of bite damage reduction and cold protection.
Leather is considerably harder to obtain than cloth, which might offer some explanation to the stats deviation. However, players killing animals for Low Grade Fuel will quickly find themselves with excess to spare.
While in an ideal world there are plenty of resources for all in RUST, but on a small map during a fresh wipe day, you make gear from what is available. Finding cloth, in the beginning, can be a rare resource, and being able to fashion gear from leather instead might just leave you with enough materials to craft things like Sleeping Bags.