How to Harden Leather Boots

by Rebekah Brooks

Leather boots are hardened by applying several layers of paraffin wax. The wax creates a moisture-proof seal on the leather and stiffens the hide when it dries. Since leather is a natural fabric made from animal skin, it is soft and needs to be hardened to prevent damage. Hardening leather boots makes them waterproof and also protects them from scratches, scuffs and irreparable damage. The more layers of wax you add to the boots, the harder and more waterproof they become.

Items you will need

  • Paraffin wax
  • Sponge
  • Clean rags
Step 1

Remove the shoelaces from each boot, if your boots have laces rather than zippers. This makes cleaning and waxing the boots easier, and prevents getting wax on the laces.

Step 2

Clean the boots to remove soil, dirt and grime. To prevent water from getting inside the boot, hold the boot upside down under warm running water, and wipe off any mud or dirt with a sponge or clean rag. Once they're clean, turn off the water, keep the boot upside down and wipe the leather surface with a dry cloth.

Step 3

Allow the boots to dry thoroughly before applying the wax. Since heat dries out leather and causes it to crack, avoid placing the boots in direct sunlight or near a heat source. Instead, place the boots in a cool, well-ventilated area and allow them to dry overnight.

Step 4

Apply a thin layer of wax to the surface of the boot, with a clean rag. Work the wax into the surface of the leather using a small circular motion. Then apply a coat of wax to the seams on the boot, to make them more stable and prevent water from seeping into them.

Step 5

Allow the first coat of wax to dry for 15 minutes. Apply a second layer of wax with the rag, using the same circular motion. Wipe off any excess wax with a clean rag.

Step 6

Allow the wax to dry for another 15 minutes. Then apply the final layer of wax with the rag, using the same circular motion. Wipe off any excess wax with a clean rag.

Step 7

Allow the boots to dry thoroughly before wearing them.

Photo Credits

  • Brand X Pictures/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images