How to Care for Leather Boots

Do you think caring for leather boots is a massive fuss?

You may think that caring leather boots takes a lot of time, and is more difficult since they are larger than shoes.

A photo below; before(left) and after(right) caring.

The boot on the left looks sloppy, but the boot on the right looks clean with a bit of shine without any dust or dirt.

Does this make you want to clean and condition your leather boots? Here is the article for how.

STEP 1: Insert Shoe Trees

First, remove shoelaces and insert shoe trees in your boots so it helps to keep your boots in shape.

This step also helps to smooth any wrinkles around the instep so that the dirt and dust can be removed easily.

You might want to keep the shoe trees in your boots after everything is done so they can keep their shape.

Tool used in this procedure “Shoe Trees”

“Shoe Trees” are made of wood or plastic, and they can keep your shoes and boots in shape.

Shoe trees are generally for shoes with the smaller and lower back piece, as shown in the picture below.

Example of “Shoe Trees” for shoes

For maintenance of boots, it is recommended to use shoe trees especially made for boots with lager and higher back piece, as shown in the picture below.

Example of “Shoe Trees” for boots

If you don’t have the shoe trees for boots, put some crushed paper to stabilize around the ankles.

STEP 2: Brush with a Horsehair Brush

Brush the boots with a horsehair brush to remove dust and dirt on the surface.

A tip for effective brushing is to put light pressure.

The edge of outsole is a spot where the dust and dirt remained, so be sure to brush this part with more attention.

Do not forget to brush a part called “Tongue” that holds the instep, too.

Tool used in this procedure “Horsehair Brush”

Horsehair is soft and flexible, so brushing with a horsehair brush can wipe away dust and dirt like a broom.

You might want to get a brush with large handle as shown in the picture below for a better grip.

Example of “Horsehair Brush”

STEP 3: Wrap a Cloth & apply Cleaner

Wrap a cloth around your fingers, and apply a cleaner.

You want to use the cleaner after you shake it because the components separate in the bottle.

Then, put the cleaner on the cloth, but when you do, press tightly so that the cleaner does not get splattered around.

Tool used in this procedure “Cloth” and “Cleaner”

The cloth can be used to wipe off dust and dirt with the cleaner, and it also can be used to polish at the end.

Or, a worn out T-shirt instead.

Example of “Cloth”

The cleaner helps to remove any dust and dirt remaining on the boots after using the horsehair brush.

In this article, “Stain Remover” is used which is a standard leather shoe cleaner.

Stain Remover is a water-based and leather-friendly cleaner that can remove dust and dirt without damaging the leather.

Stain Remover

STEP 4: Wipe off with the Cloth

Wipe off dust and dirt on the surface of leather boots with the cloth.

A tip is to wipe gently, because the leather may get scratched when you wipe strongly.

It is hard to wipe the whole surface at once, so apply the cleaner 3 to 4 times for cleaning the surface all over.

If the cloth gets dirty, re-roll and use the clean side of the cloth.

STEP 5: Moisturize with Cream

Now, it is time to apply cream (which contains water) with a shoe dauber.

Take a small amount of the cream (about 1 grain of rice) on the dauber and apply it in a circular motion.

It is hard to apply the cream to the whole surface at one time, so re-apply it on the dauber 3 to 4 times.

Tool used in this procedure “Dauber” and “Cream”

The dauber is a small brush which is used to apply cream without getting your hands dirty.

Also, the dauber makes it easy to apply the cream evenly on the whole surface.

Example of “Dauber”

You could find various types of creams, but you might want to get an emulsion cream which includes a bit of water.

By applying cream and moisturizing the leather, you can prevent cracking and fading of color of the leather. It also adds a bit of shine.

We used “Beaute de Cuir Cream” from Saphir.

Beaute de Cuir Cream is a standard emulsion cream which is relatively cheap and is easy to use especially when you care for leather shoes for the first time.

Saphir Beaute de Cuir Cream

STEP 6: Brush with a Pighair Brush

Brush with a pighair brush to rub in and spread the cream evenly, so your boots become beautiful at the end.

Tool used in this procedure “Pighair Brush”

The pighair is hard-bristled so the cream can be spread by brushing with it.

Get a brush with large handle so you can grab it firmly.

Example of “Pighair Brush”

STEP 7: Polish with the Cloth

Wrap the cloth around your finger and gently polish the whole surface.

Polishing the surface makes a thin layer of wax contained in the emulsion cream, so boots become slightly glossy at the end.

When you do, use the clean side of the cloth.

Tool used in this procedure “Cloth”

The cloth used in this procedure can be the same as one used in “STEP 4”.

STEP 7: Clean inside with Sanitizing Wipes and Deodorant Spray

Now, clean the inside with sanitizing wipes and deodorant spray.

Boots can be humid more than a pair of shoes, so it means it gets problems such as odor and mold.

Before you get those problems, use deodorant spray and sanitizing wipe

Tool used in this procedure “Deodorant Spray” and “Sanitizing Wipes”

The sanitizing wipes can remove bacteria which causes of mold.

Example of “Sanitizing Wipes”

The deodorant spray is mainly used to prevent odor.

It is better to use a spray that is both antibacterial and deodorising effect in order to prevent mold and odor.

Example of “Deodorant Spray”

Frequency of Caring for Leather Boots

It is best to care for your boots once a month to keep your boots clean and neat anytime.

If you think it is bothering to care for your boots once a month, you might want to brush them every time you have worn, so they last longer.

Before long-term storage

Make sure to care for your boots before storing them in a closet if you do not want your boots to be full of mold!

Wrap it up

You may feel caring for leather boots is difficult and there are so many things to do, but you can easily make your boots looks much better with 7 steps.

Not only do conditioned boots look great, but you may enjoy them for longer due to great condition of the leather.

Enjoy your beautiful leather boots!

About the author

Ken Kataoka

Hi, I’m Ken Kataoka, based in Tokyo Japan. I’m fascinated by leather shoes and shoe care. Also, I make bespoke shoes. I write articles on shoe care & tools, shoe brands and more from my experience.

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