Tall leather boots add the ultimate fashion touch to any cool weather ensemble. If you’ve ever shopped for a pair then you know that quality tall boots don’t come cheap. Leather boots will definitely be an investment, but if you play your cards right they can last Winter after Winter. So let’s talk about what you can do to take care of them.
Step one is to waterproof them if they aren’t already. To do so, you need to know if your boots are made of oil-tanned leather or chrome-tanned leather. In case it doesn’t say on the box, contact the manufacturer to find out because it’s very important to know. Most reputable brands will have contact information on their web page.
Oil-tanned leather should be coated in an oil-based paste and chrome-tanned leather can be treated with a good shoe wax or silicone spray. These waterproofing products can be bought at most shoe stores or online. Even if the boots you buy say they are waterproof already, it never hurts to reapply of whichever kind of treatment your boots need. Sometimes whatever the manufacturer applied to the boot’s gets worn off during months of storage and transport.
It’s best to apply the waterproofing ointment before you ever wear them. The reason is you don’t want them to have any perspiration from your own body or condensation from wearing them outdoors on them, as this could mess up the waterproofing application.
Keeping Your Boots Dry
Step two is to keep your boots dry as much as possible. If after a day of showcasing your tall leather boots you see that they are dirty, you can try cleaning the outsides with a soft rag dampened with water. If your boots have laces, it’s crucial that you take them off the boots to wash them and have them 100% dry before returning them to the boots. Wet laces left in boots present the perfect breeding grounds for mildew as moisture will collect under them and sit. This is another time where knowing the material is so pertinent. Cotton and nylon laces can be washed in soapy water, rinsed off, and hang-dryed. Fabric laces should be sprayed with silicone after they’re completely dry to keep them from absorbing more moisture and rotting. Leather laces should be rinsed in cool water only, no detergent or soap. Let them hang up to dry thoroughly, then apply the appropriate waterproofing to them again.
Over time perspiration will get into the inside of your boots no matter how thick your socks are. Use a soft, moist rag to clean them by hand. A very soft toothbrush can work well for getting into hard to reach crevices. After the insides have been completely wiped down, place them on a clothes rack upside down to dry. Don’t let them dry near a fire place or take a hot hairdryer to them. Leather is essentially skin and too much heat over time will cause it to warp and look damaged.
Before wearing your boots again, inspect them for damage. If you have only washed them once and haven’t worn them in the rain much, most likely you won’t need to waterproof them again just yet. If you do see signs of wear like cracks, spots that are stiff, or whitish deposits, you need to re-apply the waterproofing treatment.
Rotate Your Boots
Step three would be to give them a rest. It’s not a good idea to wear the same pair of boots day in and day out. This doesn’t give them much time to breathe and air out. They need to have enough time to dry after sweating in them so they don’t house fungi or wash away the leather’s natural oil. Keep them out of direct sunlight when possible, as the sun can bleach out the color if they are exposed to it too much.
Wear & Tear
Step four is to recognize when your tall leather boots are aging. After boots begin to show signs of wear you’ll need to start making a few changes to how you care for them. As boots age, caring for them becomes a little different. For one, the pores of the leather are now probably a little clogged, so they won’t absorb waterproofing ointments as easily as when they were new. If the age on them is visibly noticeable to you, it’s important to saddle soap them.
This will help to clean out the pores and will moisturize the leather. This will stop your boots from cracking as easily. To use the saddle soap dip your boots in cool, clear water, then apply the saddle soap to them working it up to a soft, bubbly lather. Go slow on the soap, a little goes a long way. Again, do not use detergent; it will dry out the leather. Saddle soap was made especially for leather and won’t dry it out because it is oil-based.
It’s also a good idea to slowly warm your boots before applying the proper waterproofing agent. This can be done with a hairdryer on a low heat setting. The warmth with help a pair of worn boots absorb the treatment better.
Follow these steps and your leather boots should last for years to come!