How to Take Care of the Leather for Red Wing Shoes

by Erin Legg

Caring for the leather of your Red Wing shoes extends their use.

Hilary Brodey/Photodisc/Getty Images

The Red Wing Shoe Company has been making durable footwear for more than 100 years. Its leather footwear line includes work boots, work shoes and motorcycle boots. These shoes are found all over the world, withstanding a variety of conditions. Understanding the different types of leather and the different requirements for its care can extend the life of the leather.

Items you will need

  • Warm water
  • Stiff shoe brush or 120 grit sandpaper
  • Waterproofing paste
  • Soft shoe brush or toothbrush
  • Clean cloth
  • Leather protector
  • Suede cleaner bar
  • Silicone
  • Leather cleaner
  • Boot oil or mink oil

Caring for Waterproof Leather

Step 1

Clean the leather using warm water and a stiff shoe brush to scuff away any dirt or mud.

Step 2

Condition using seal paste. Apply using a soft brush to ensure all cracks and seams are treated. Let penetrate overnight in a warm location, then wipe dry.

Step 3

Protect by spraying leather protector. This keeps dirt, water, and salt from getting into the leather and makes it easier to clean.

Caring for Suede

Step 1

Clean using a suede cleaner bar. Follow up by scuffing with a stiff bristle brush to reengage the nap. A 120 grit sandpaper can also be used to loosen the nap when the suede appears shiny.

Step 2

Condition using silicone. Be sure to test an area first, as silicone may discolor the suede.

Step 3

Protect by applying leather protector.

Caring for Other Leather

Step 1

Clean using leather cleaner after wiping the surface with a damp cloth.

Step 2

Condition oil-tanned leather with boot oil or mink oil. Both products weatherproof and condition the leather, but mink oil is safe to use on any type of non-suede leather, including waterproof. Condition dry-tanned leather with silicone.

Step 3

Apply leather protector spray to the shoe.

Tips

  • Cleaning Red Wing shoes regularly will keep dirt and dust from damaging the leather. This must be done before conditioning or weatherproofing.

    Conditioning helps prevent the leather from drying out, cracking or tearing. Conditioning should be done weekly if the boots are used in harsh, wet environments, and up to monthly where it is drier.

    Protecting the shoes helps keep dirt, moisture and salt from penetrating and staining the leather.

    Shoe cream can also be used to protect the shoes, and helps bring back the original color of the leather while offering a shiny finish.

Warnings

  • Always apply shoe care products according to label instructions.

    Do not use Red Wing Leather Cleaner on suede or waterproof leather.

Photo Credits

  • Hilary Brodey/Photodisc/Getty Images

About the Author

Erin Legg has been writing professionally since 2004. Her research and academic writing was featured in the award-winning anthology "The Encyclopedia of Saskatchewan." Legg earned a Bachelor of Arts in political science from the University of Saskatchewan.