My first set of cuffs was made of soft fabric, like fuzzy felt. It secured with velcro. It had a long length of grossgrain ribbon sewn onto it for securing to bedposts. I thought I was terribly sexy.
The first - and only - time I used the fabric cuffs on X, he strained so hard against them that he broke the ribbon from the cuff. I could have sewn it back on, but why? He'd probably just break it again. So he introduced me to leather cuffs.
Leather cuffs are good for a couple of reasons:
1. Try breaking them. I dare you.
2. Your sub will appreciate the strength of the cuff around his wrists/ankles.
3. Leather cuffs come with rings for attaching to ropes or to each other (best done with locks)
A good set of cuffs is an investment in your sexual future. They're easy-on, easy-off bondage material. You can strap them to the bedposts using ropes. You can cuff them to each other (think handcuffs) using locks. You may be wondering, why not just use handcuffs? They're certainly easy to get access to in any adult book store.
Problems with handcuffs:
1. They tend to dig in and hurt when you strain against them. Even the fuzzy ones.
2. The locks are cheap and either breakable or have release clips on them, which would allow your sub to get out on his own. And we don't want that.
3. They are always linked to each other, allowing for one basic shape. A pair of cuffs allows you to tie down your sub in all kinds of different ways.
4. Straining too hard leaves marks. You don't want to have to tell your sub to simmer down, so why set yourself up for that?
If you're looking for an intro kit, I recommend the Under The Bed Restraint System by Extreme Restraints (NSFW). It comes with cuffs for both ankles and wrists and has tethers long enough to go under your mattress - a perfect set up in case you don't have a good headboard and footboard to tie someone to.
If you're interested in trying something a little more expensive, but a worthwhile investment, I recommend the Strict Leather Premium Fur Lined Locking Restraints by Extreme Restraints (NSFW). They're the right width and diameter to hold pretty much anyone, the leather is incredibly strong, and the fur is incredibly comfortable. Everyone wins. Strain as much as you want, they won't break or leave marks.
Wearing cuffs can be a delightful start to foreplay. Leave your lover a note that says "put these on" and the cuffs for when he gets home from work. If you're a vanilla person who wants vanilla play, sometimes just wearing cuffs can give your spicier lover a little thrill, making him happier to play your way.
In short, cuffs belong in anyone's toy box. Get a set for yours.