Just like red lipstick, whisky sours, and that butter they put on movie theater popcorn, good things never really go out of style. That’s why our boots are made to last, with rubbery traction, waterproof leather and full-zip sides—the rest of your wardrobe decisions may end up in the “what was I thinking” pile, but leather boots are here to stay. And we think that’s a pretty solid reason for taking extra good care of them.
Why? Every time you wear your boots, little traces of dirt and grime can creep up into the leather and fabric, sucking the moisture out of the fabric, destroying the waterproofing, and breaking down the soft and sturdy feel. But it’s easy to hit the right stride between wearing and caring for your footwear—here’s your guide to giving cracked leather and soaked socks a swift kick this season.
Always: Brush them off
Brush off your boots after every use with a soft bristle brush or old rag, making sure to dig out debris from the grooves in the tread on the bottom of the boot.
Sometimes: Give them a bath
Leather needs to be kept clean inside and out for a long life span. A simple wash down with a mild soap (no bar soaps or harsh detergents), warm water, and a rag every few weeks will get the job done, but you can also buy leather care kits that come with special soap, soft brushes, and leather conditioning balm. Make sure you rinse the soap off completely.
Never use heat to dry your boots. Ever. It will literally “cook” the leather. All you have to do is remove any footbeds, laces, and tassels and allow the boots to dry naturally at room temperature. If you’re in a rush, stuff newspaper into the boots and change it every hour.
Every So Often: Treat them right
When water stops beading up on your boots, it might be time for a treatment. Treating the leather is totally optional, but it will help extend the life of your boots. Remember a little bit goes a long way, and you’ll only want to apply the conditioning or waterproofing treatment to the smooth leather of your boots and avoid any rough fabric (conditioning will take the texture away).
Too much of a good thing will darken your boots or make them feel tacky and actually cause the leather to break down, so use sparingly. A good rule of thumb is to only condition when the leather appears dry or cracked, and only waterproof when water stops beading up on your boots.
Store boots dry place where the temperature and humidity stay consistent (stick to storing holiday decorations—not boots—in your attic, basement and garage).
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