Leather boots are a must-have in your shoe closet, as well as an investment. A good pair of leather boots can cost a pretty penny, but with the right care, will last for many years. This doesn’t mean you have to sit your boots on a shelf and only wear them a couple times a year. Instead, wear them all you want, but take the proper steps to preserve them to keep them in good condition.
Brush off any mud and dirt that has dried on your boots after each wear. Wipe the boots with a damp rag or soft brush. Debris can get trapped into the pores, causing the leather to dry out.
Deep clean your boots as needed. Remove road salt stains with a rag soaked in equal parts water and white vinegar. For general cleaning, use a damp rag and saddle soap to thoroughly wipe down the boots. In both cases, finish the job with a damp rag to remove any residue of vinegar or soap. Let the boots dry completely away from direct heat.
Give your leather boots a rest every once in a while. Try not to wear the boots two days in a row. Instead, let them rest for a day to allow sweat and moisture to dry out.
Waterproof your boots periodically. Leather boots need to be waterproofed when water seeps through the leather rather than beading up. Use a high-quality leather waterproofing product and follow the manufacturer’s application instructions, as this may vary among products.
Apply leather conditioner to your boots as they begin to dry out or lose their color. Conditioning the leather helps prevent damage such as cracking and flaking. Apply evenly using a soft cloth. Wipe away the excess conditioner with a clean cloth, and let the boots dry overnight.
Store your leather boots on a cedar shoe tree when you’re not wearing them. The cedar helps to absorb excess moisture, and also maintains the shape of the boots. If you plan on storing your boots in the shoe box they came in, don’t leave them in the box for any extended period of time, as this can cause the leather to deteriorate.