If you’ve never conditioned your leather boots and you toss them in a heap after you wear them, listen up! This winter, make sure your favorite boots get the TLC they need. Here’s how to keep your fancy footwear looking great.
Goodbye, snow and rain
Each time you take off your boots, give them a quick wipe down. Use a soft cotton cloth to remove lingering snow or raindrops. This reduces the chances of water spots and staining on the surface. Then, let the boots finish drying naturally. Setting them on a furnace vent or next to a space heater is a recipe for disaster. The boots will get overly dry, which can cause the leather to crack and look dull. Instead, place the boots on a rug near the door to air-dry after you wipe off obvious moisture.
Although it seems silly, after removing moisture, it’s a good idea to hydrate the boots. Use a creamy leather conditioner to soften and protect the boots from nasty winter weather. Salted sidewalks and snow drifts can wreak havoc on even the sturdiest pair of boots. Plan to condition the boots just before the winter-wearing season and once more before you pack the boots away for summer.
After a long day–or night–in your boots, give them a chance to recuperate. Make sure the tall leg-covering area is stretched straight so it can rest without wrinkling. Use a boot caddy or carefully lay the footwear on its side. Prop open the tops of each boot so they can air out. If your feet get sweaty, the inside of the boots need to air-dry.
Did you spill a drink on your boots or walk through a mud puddle? It’s OK. Leather can take it. Just try to wipe away the mess as soon as possible. Use a water-moistened cloth and a little elbow grease to remove the stain. The protective layer of conditioner you applied at the start of winter helps repel stains.
When warm weather rolls around, it’s time to tuck away your favorite boots for next season. Give them a wipe down and apply leather conditioner. Stuff each boot with tissue paper to help them keep their form. Keep the boots in a climate-controlled area, such as your bedroom closet. Avoid tucking them away in a garage or attic where the hot, dry weather can damage the leather boots.