A fitted, broken-in pair of cowboy boots offers comfort and support like no other. Once you’ve put a few miles in them, they can feel nearly as comfortable as slippers.
They may be tough, but you still need to provide them with a little bit of routine care and maintenance from time to time. Leather will break down without routine cleaning and conditioning.
Here’s a bare-bones breakdown of what you need to do to keep a pair of boots kickin’,
1. Allow to dry, slowly
Most cowboy boots are made with both leather uppers and soles. Leather is absorbent, but the worst part is that water can also damage leather.
However, mere exposure to water isn’t the kicker. It’s when the leather dries out too quickly. When leather absorbs water, it swells; when it dries, the swelling recedes, which can make the leather fibers delaminate, crack and warp.
If your boots ever become saturated with water, place them somewhere cool and dry. Don’t place them by a strong heat source that will dry them out too rapidly.
Once your boots are dry, it’s time to clean them. Since most cowboy boots lack laces, cleaning is pretty straightforward.
Use a dry or damp (not wet) cloth to remove mud, dust, and dirt. There are also special boot brushes you can buy to coax dirt out of hard-to-reach places.
Use this brush or rag to clean off the upper of the boot, before turning your attention to the stitching, which can tend to hold onto dust. Also take special care cleaning around the welt, where dirt can accumulate and break down the stitching over time. You want these areas as clean as possible.
If there’s any stubborn or residual dirt, use a gentle cleanser like saddle soap (in accordance with the manufacturer's directions) to remove it.
3. Condition (and apply waterproofing, if you choose to do so)
It is also a good idea to apply a leather conditioner to your cowboy boots, especially if they have become dry or are showing signs of wrinkling or cracking. Leather conditioner will restore the leather’s natural flexibility and strengthen its fibers against fatigue.
A small amount will suffice – no more than a dime or quarter-sized amount per boot. Apply it to a rag or sponge in small quantities, not directly to the surface of the boot, and then gently massage it into the leather.
Do not over-apply. Leather is absorbent and will continue to “drink up” more conditioner as you apply it. A little bit goes a long way. Your leather may darken slightly, but you don’t want your leather to look wet after application.
Conditioner serves another purpose: it helps to protect boots from water damage. Since leather is absorbent, by keeping it well-conditioned, the fibers will have less space to soak up water. Some conditioners can actually waterproof leather as well.
4. Polish (Optional)
You may also choose to polish your boots, especially if they look better with a bit of a shine. Apply polish in light layers using a polish applicator and buff until you reach the desired finish. Also be careful not to over-apply and, if you use a colored polish, that the color of your polish closely matches the color of your boots.
Get Your Tips Directly from the Source for Cowboy Boots in Grand Rapids, Michigan
Do you still have questions about leather care? Go straight to your source for cowboy boots in Grand Rapids, Michigan! Jackson’s English & Western Store, located in Wayland, Michigan, and with over 4,000 pairs of boots in stock, has the widest selection in the state.
Give them a call at 269-792-2550 if you have any questions about their inventory or need to know more about how to care for boots. Better yet, pay them a visit in Wayland, Michigan – the purchase of any pair of boots comes with free fitting and break-in services!