Leather boots are footwear that are built to handle any conditions. That's why we sometimes decide to spend upwards of $200 for a quality pair. If they can do it all, we might as well make the investment right? Right. However, like any other investment, we want to protect them and ensure their longevity. That being said, winter can be the sworn enemy for our leather footwear.
Here are some tips and tricks that can help you fight the harsh elements.
Consider Your Boot Use
Before we offer any more tips, first consider what you want to use your boots for. Assuming you're looking for winter weather, know that leather boots are not waterproof on their own. If you're going to be trekking through the deep slush and salt, be aware you will need to protect your footwear. A stain and water repellent should add that extra layer of protection to offer some relief.
To guarantee waterproof performance, you'll want to consider boots that are water lined (think Gore-Tex, or others). That being said, be aware that water lined boots don't breathe as well, so take extra precaution of perspiration that may develop inside.
Clean Your Boots
Cleaning your boots is important to prevent the leather from getting clogged, dried out and cracked. Normally this happens when there is a build up of dirt, mud and other clogging contaminants. Remember that leather is a skin, so pores need to be kept clean and open to remain soft and supple.
To clean your leather boots, always use a brush and a leather cleaner. These are designed to gently clean the hide with formulated ingredients. Remove the laces and apply the cleaner to the surface. Gently scrub away any build up of materials that may have accumulated over time.
Moisturize the Leather
After cleaning, it is very important to moisturize and conditioner the leather. Failing to do so will leave the leather prone to clogging and will shorten its lifespan. You can use a simple leather conditioner and soft rag to condition. Simply apply the conditioner to the surface of the leather and rub it in with the rag in circular motions.
Consider Seal or Waterproofing Wax
As mentioned above, leather is not waterproof by nature. You can use a stain and water repellent for a base level of protection, but a waterproofing wax take it a step further. Something like a mink oil can easily provide a layer of weather protection, as well as condition. They normally come in tins, and can easily be applied with a rag. This ensures the best of both worlds, as you get a little waterproof protection while also hydrating the hide.
Throughout the winter, it is a good idea to repeat the above steps. This is obviously dependent on how much you use them and how harsh the winter is that year. If you find yourself wearing the same pair daily, take extra care and pay attention to the condition of your footwear. Cleaning and moisturizing multiple times can only benefit leathers that see harsh conditions.
Leather boots are a necessary investment. They have so many uses and can come in handy in many scenarios. To protect this sometimes expensive investment, you need to take the proper care steps. Cleaning, moisturizing and waterproofing are all simple and easy tasks that ensure your boots stay healthy in the winters. These steps are necessary to ensure your footwear lasts and stays healthy for years to come.