If you are someone who needs to wear leather work boots every day for your job then it is necessary for you to take good care of the pair of boots. Your work boots are absolutely essential for your comfort and safety and with proper care and maintenance you can make them last you for a long time. You can expect long-lasting protection and comfort when you follow certain steps to maintain your work boots. A lot depends on whether the pair is new or old.
Caring for a New pair of Leather Work Boots
When you buy a pair of leather work boots, do not wear them to work right away. You have to give yourself some time to break in the pair.
Breaking in the pair
Start the breaking in process by walking around in the new leather boots at home. Do this for a week and make sure that you are keeping the boots on for a couple of hours each day.
If you begin to wear your new boots to work immediately, you are very likely to get blisters and sore spots all over your feet. During the breaking in period do not use a waterproofing agent. Also, try to use conditioner sparingly when you are breaking in the boots. Applying too much conditioner will make your boots greasy.
Cleaning the pair
A pair of leather boots that you have just bought is not likely to be very dirty but it is still good to spend some time to remove the loose dust or dirt that might be there clinging to the nooks and crevices. Take a water-based cleaning agent and use a nylon brush to lightly brush the pair. Make sure that the seams are cleaned and all the dirt has been removed.
Waterproofing the pair
The next step would be to waterproof your leather boots in order to make them resistant to water and to enhance their longevity. Try to use a water-based waterproofing agent as it comes with a number of advantages.
- You can apply a water-based agent on both wet and dry boots.
- Due to the absence of petroleum in such agents, you do not have to face issues like stretching of the leather altering the fit.
- Your boots will remain breathable and comfortable. When you use a water-based product, it does not clog the pores in the leather boots, damaging the ventilation process. Other products might block the pores and this will make your feet sweat even more.
- It is not mandatory to use heat to make the water-based agent penetrate the boots. So that means less harm is caused to the pair.
- It will attract less dirt and will make the boots more resistant to water.
Apply the waterproofing agent to wet leather boots. This will make sure that the penetration is even and no white streak or spot is left. Always wipe off the excess amount after 3-5 minutes. Now, allow the leather boots to dry naturally. When it is dry, brush gently with a nylon brush to restore the original color of the boots. You can apply 2-3 coats to get better results. You may or may not use a dryer to dry the boots. Always stuff the boots with newspaper when it is drying to prevent accidental shrinking and distortion.
Caring for an Old pair of Leather Work Boots
Your old pair of leather work boots are extremely comfortable for you and you would want them to last forever. Follow the given steps to clean and maintain them properly.
Remove the boot laces and shake off the dirt
When you start to clean your old pair of leather boots you have to begin by removing the laces. You can wash them separately with soap and water. Let them dry while you clean the boots.
Now, knock the boots together, rubbing the heels against each other to make the loose dirt, caked-in mud, soil, and stones fall off. Do this step out of your home to prevent the dirt from getting onto the floor of your home.
Clean the leather boots
You can get a cleaning gel that comes in an aerosol can to clean the leather boots. Spray the gel onto the leather of the boot so that every part of the boots is covered. Let the boots sit like this for an hour to act on the dirt and grime. Now take a soft cloth rag and use it to rub off the cleaning gel from the surface of the boots. The dirt will come off in the rag along with the cleaning gel. You might have to use a few cloth rags to get all the dirt off your leather boots if they are too dirty.
You can mix 1 part vinegar with 1 part water to make a cleaning solution if you do not want to use the spray can. An all-purpose saddle soap can also be used to clean the leather boots.
Rinse and dry the leather boots
Once you have cleaned the dirt off the boots, you have to rinse off the leather boots using a garden hose. You can also rinse off the leather boots in the bathroom tub or sink. Do not leave the leather boots soaking in the water, just use water to remove all traces of soap or cleaning gel and take the leather boots out.
Drain off the excess water and stuff the boots with old newspaper to ensure that all the moisture is getting sponged off to aid the drying process. Leave the pair of leather boots in a dry and airy place to let them dry out for at least 24 hours. You can also keep your boots outside to air-dry if the weather is dry and sunny.
Condition the leather boots
You can use conditioning oil to condition the leather boots when the pair has dried out fully. The conditioner for the leather boots is like thick cream so you can take it out in your fingers in a quarter-sized blob and rub it all over your clean leather boots. You can hold the boot from the inside with one hand and use your other hand or an applicator brush to apply the conditioning cream.
This step of conditioning will help to keep the leather smooth and supple for a long time. You can use mink oil as the conditioner on your work boots. But do not use it on hard hiking boots, as mink oil softens the leather a bit too much. Never use a conditioner with lanolin as it is not suitable for work boots
Waterproof the leather boots
The waterproofing agent can come in a tin or in a plastic container or you can also get waterproofing agent in a spray can. It is better to use the waterproofing wax from a container. Use a clean rag to apply the waterproofing wax in all the exterior surfaces of the leather boots.
If you are spraying the waterproofing agent on to the leather boots then let it sit for a few minutes and then buff with a clean rag to get a polished and shiny finish. Some sprays work instantly and do not need buffing at all. Always air dry the boots fully before you start to wear them again.
When you keep your leather work boots in good condition, they will be more comfortable for your feet and will serve you for much longer.