A good pair of leather boots is a key investment piece for any man. Although the price point can be high, proper care and maintenance can lead to a lifetime of steady wear and enjoyment. We view every article of clothing, like a pair of shoes, as an opportunity to tell your story to the world. You treat them right, and that story will be told long after you are gone when your son is wearing these boots.
So now that you’ve taken the leap and copped that new pair of boots, it’s time to figure out how to make them last. Fear not, we’ve got you covered. Follow our step-by-step demonstration below to keep your boots from cracking and looking tired. Leather treatment is the perfect way to bring the hide back to life, while complimenting the small imperfections that make each shoe unique.
Although there is not a specific time frame for your first round of treatment (or those thereafter), signs of cracking, dryness or grime are good indicators it’s game time. Here we go.
Step 1: Remove laces, wipe down with dry cloth
Removing the laces issuers the boots get cleaned off entirely. The tongue is often one of the first places to experience dryness due to pressure and rubbing against your feet. Next, wipe away all surface dirt and dust with a dry cloth. If they’re drastically soiled, we recommend dampening the cloth for that hard to remove dirt. A smooth surface is best, with nothing blocking the leather from treatment. As far as the cloth goes, a show rag is best. Paper towel will leave paper fragments on the shoe, which you’ll want to remove before applying treatment.
Step 2: Apply Leather Cleaner/Conditioner
To save you time, and the potential of discoloring your boots, we’ve tested several leather cleaners/conditioners on our own shoes. All of them claim to care for your boots and protect them, and some perform better than others. In our humble opinion, the best product available is Blackrock Leather N Rich out of Nashville, TN. Thomas, the owner, still follows the original formula his grandfather created back in the 70s. Time and continued demand have proven the products ability outperform water repellents, soaps, oils and other treatments. Our favorite part? They’re still hand-making the stuff in small batches, a true family operation.
Open the can and stick your fingers directly into the treatment, it’s all natural and won’t hurt your skin like some products. Surface area is different for every shoe and size, so it’s hard to say exactly how much to use. Typically, we recommend enough product to create a thin layer across the entire surface of the boot, about a millimeter thick. The treatment will naturally darken the leather as it is applied, but this will fade back to normal as it dries. Work the product into the leather with your hand, rubbing in a circular motion. Avoid concentration on one area for too long, and don’t rub too hard. Set boots out to dry.
Step 3: Wipe Off Excess Treatment, Return Laces
After 3 to 5 minutes, take your shop rag and wipe off any excess leather treatment. This is a great way to avoid any areas of the boot looking discolored or darker than the rest. Once you have confirmed that the shoes are dry, feel free to lace them back up.
Step 4: Back in Action
Pretty easy, right? Now that your leather boots have been properly treated, we recommend waiting a few hours for them to dry completely. Don’t worry if they appear darker than when you started, it’s normal. You’ll see the leather return to its original color throughout the day. Blackrock works on all leather colors, and can be used on almost any real leather surface/product. Avoid any fake leather, painted leather and suede.
Throw them on and you’re back in action. Depending on how harshly you treat your shoes, expect to treat them 3-6 times a year. Extend the longevity of your footwear investment at a low price, and utilize these simple steps. You’ll be glad you did!