Leather is one of the most ancient materials. Our ancestors made clothing and shelters from it, and we, now, make a plethora of items, such as boots, bags, wallets, furniture, and the list goes on. Leather separates itself from the rest of the materials, whether because of its beauty, comfort, or durability.
Leather boots can stand the test of time, but only if you take good care of them. That’s why we prepared this extensive guide for you. Learn how to keep your leather boots looking good and feeling their best, and they’ll serve you for years to come.
Leather Boots Can Last a Lifetime with Proper Care
You need to understand that leather is skin, and like all skin, it’s resilient but fragile at the same time and needs care and protection to stay at its best. Unlike alive skin receiving nourishment from the body, the leather on your boots only gets what you give it. That means it can easily be damaged but can’t repair itself unless you prevent that by caring for it properly.
If you don’t, leather will lose its moisture and natural oils, along with flexibility and fibrous interweave. That will cause it to crack and eventually break down. To prevent that from happening, follow our advice and learn how to care for Caterpillar work boots, fancy leather boots for a night out, and any other type of leather boots you have.
Strip the Built-Up Layers of Wax and Polish
The goal of stripping is to remove built-up layers of wax and polish over your boots. So, if you have never treated them, skip this step. However, this step is crucial for treated leather because built-up layers will start flaking and cracking. That will, in turn, ruin the aesthetic appeal of your leather boots.
To strip the layers of wax and polish, you’ll need a stripping agent. It will dissolve all build-up on the leather, so you can wipe it easily without damaging the original finish.
Apply a small amount of the stripping agent onto a cotton rag and wipe your boots, adding more as needed. Leave it on for about 15 minutes, and then wipe it off with a clean rag, and there you have it. Quality stripping agents can also clean accidental stains and damaging substances from low-quality boot care products.
Clean Your Leather Boots
Before starting to clean your leather boots, you’ll want to remove the laces (if they feature them) and insert the shoe trees into them. They will provide a firm surface. That way, you can apply care products easily. The knob can also help you handle the boots and get to the hard-to-reach areas.
Once you prepare your boots for cleaning, you can start cleaning off the dust and dirt accumulated in the crevices of the leather. Use a brush, preferably from natural materials such as a horsehair brush. After you’ve done that, polish them with a separate brush unless you want your polish layer to look dull.
Brushes made of natural materials are always better for leather boots because synthetic fibers can leave micro-scratches on your shoes. If you don’t care about these tiny scratches, you can use any brush you want.
However, if you have to wash your leather boots, do so with a clean, damp cotton cloth and a saddle soap. If you don’t have one close by, you can use a mild dish or hand soap too. Allow them to dry out naturally, but don’t leave them too long in direct sunlight. It will discolor your boots and damage leather in the same way it harms your skin.
Use a Cream or Ointment
Many people understand the value of keeping their leather boots soft and supple but use questionable products promising increased lifespan while breaking down the leather.
Avoid chemical polishes as they typically contain additives that break down the natural leather fibers and create moisture barriers. That will prevent the future applications of high-quality conditioners from doing their job.
However, not all-natural products are excellent for leather either. For example, the chemical composition of vegetable oil eats away and breaks down leather almost instantly after you apply it.
Go for specially formulated leather conditioners, ointments, or creams as they soak into the leather to protect it. Your leather boots will absorb them the same way your skin absorbs moisturizing products. Doing that will bring the suppleness back into the leather, protecting it from drying out and breaking down.
Add a Layer of Water Resistance
Leather loses many essential oils when water penetrates it and then evaporates. That’s why it’s vital to add a layer of water resistance to make your leather boots last. Wax polish is one of the best products to protect them from water. Moreover, it fills scratches on the leather and creates an exceptional base coat for shine.
Choose the same or similar color to your boots and apply a thick coat of wax over the boot with a rag or applicator brush. Allow it to sit for at least an hour, and then polish it with a polishing brush for shine, and you’re all set.
You can also use waterproofing spray for instant protection, but be extra attentive to its ingredients. Most of them contain silicones, which can leech the leather’s natural moisture.
Keep Your Leather Boots Dry and Breathing
Leather needs to breathe, so ensure you keep your boots moisture-free, dry, and exposed to air as much as possible. Air naturally passes through leather, allowing the moisture to evaporate while softening the leather and protecting it from drying out.
That’s why you should avoid sealing them up in plastic bags. It will dry out the leather fast and cause it to prematurely age, the same thing that can happen to your skin.
Your Leather Boots Deserve Care
Quality leather boots are something to hold on to. They are stylish, durable, and comfortable. No other material is quite as exceptional as leather. And now that you know how to take care of them to make them last a lifetime go and show them some love. They deserve it.
Remember, before using a conditioner, strip the built-up layers of wax and clean them as described in this article. After conditioning, ad a layer of water resistance for maximum protection. There’s no need to do this every day. But once in a while, they need this nourishment only you can provide.