Classic brands like Ariat and Double H make western boots that are about as tough as they come, but when it comes to getting mileage out of your cowboy boots, the most important thing is that you properly clean and maintain them.
Cowboy boots are predominantly made from leather, which is a porous, absorbent, flexible natural material that is prone to rot, warp, cracking, and decay when not properly maintained.
Your cowboy boots take care of you; take care of them with these basic tips.
Water is one of the killers of leather. Understandably, your boots are going to get muddy and wet. They may even get soaked through.
Still, it’s how you treat them after they get soaked that will determine how well they’ll hold up in the long run. Repeated rapid wetting and drying cycles can really take a toll on leather.
Now here’s the thing. You don’t want your boots to stay wet but you also don’t want to dry them out too rapidly or the leather will warp, crack, or delaminate.
Boot dryers are alright, but never place your boots in front of a fire or a powerful heat source. Instead, you want them to dry out steadily – not too quickly or slowly.
If you don’t have a boot dryer, one trick is to stuff them with dry newspapers and place them in a location with plenty of ventilation.
Change out the newspapers every two to three hours until your boots are dry.
Whether or not you clean your boots first or dry them will depend on whether they were just wet or dirty and wet, so these steps may not be in sequence.
Nonetheless, when your boots are dry, use a horsehair or nylon bristle brush to dislodge dirt from the stitching of the uppers and around the welt. Pay close attention in these areas where dirt can cake up and stick pertinaciously.
For stains, marks, scuffs, and stubborn mud feel free to use a damp (but not wet) rag. You can also use saddle soap, which is specially formulated for leather.
Conditioning leather is one of the most important aspects of leather care.
Conditioner is intended to replace oils that are naturally occurring in leather and which help keep it supple.
It is especially important after your boots have gotten wet, as when they dry they will lose additional moisture.
There are a wide range of leather conditioners on the market. Consult a western wear store near you for recommendations and use one that appeals to you.
Work a small amount of the conditioner into the leather and give the leather some time to absorb it. Less is more here. You don’t want to apply too much or it can discolor the leather or soften it too much.
After conditioning, your boots will have a little extra protection against water, but some people go one step further and apply a special waterproofing agent.
Some waterproofing treatments contain beeswax which is not only waterproof but naturally nourishing to leather.
Using waterproofing or not is your choice, but it will give your boots added protection against water damage and can help keep your feet dry.
Looking for More Boot Care Tips? Visit a Western Wear Store Near You
Looking for a western wear store near you where you can get a boot brush, leather conditioner, and other leather care essentials?
Visit Jackson’s Western Store in Wayland, Michigan. They have Michigan’s largest collection of western wear and cowboy boots (with over 4,000 pairs in stock) and offer free fitting, stretching, and break-in services with purchase.
And, even if you’re not in their area, you can shop their vast collection online at JacksonsWestern.com.