Boot Care Tips
Wipe off the Dust
Remember that leather is skin and will react the way skin does so the most important thing you can do in caring for any piece of leather footwear is to keep it free of dust. Dust will settle into the creases of boots. The dust acts like sandpaper cutting the finish with every step you take. Sooner or later it will cut through not only the finish but the fiber itself and the leather will split. So, wipe off your boots often, not just before you shine them, but every time you take them off. Wipe the dust off with anything you have handy, you do not need a special brush or cloth. You do need to make this a habit, you cannot wipe them off too often.
Wash off Loose Dirt
Boots need a good cleaning and conditioning every so often. Begin by removing loose dirt and dried mud with a damp cloth, followed by a good brushing of the boot.
Apply a Quality Conditioner
While the leather is still moist, apply a leather conditioner. Once it has dried, it should be buffed with a soft cloth. The final step is to apply a boot cream to the boot and buff. As a pointer on the boot cream color, choose a cream a shade or two darker then the color of the boot. Leathers fade slightly as they age and this will return them to their original color. You should use a matching color cream with new boots. Never mix brushes! Keep brushes for each color of polish with that particular brush.
Exotic Leathers especially reptiles have deeper textures that do not absorb conditioner and cream as quickly. Apply these in several thin layers rather then all at once. Apply conditioner to snakes gently against scales then rub down with scale direction. You should never let snakeskin boots to dry out.
Harder surface exotics like lizard and alligator require a little more time in keeping dust and dirt out of the tiles especially in the folds as boots age. The life of the boot is greatly extended by keeping them clean and conditioned. Be sure to brush conditioner all the way to the sole line. Many people forget that area of the boot and it can cause the boot to crack and pull away at the sole. If the boot has a leather sole, it should also be conditioned. This increases the life of the sole because it restores moisture, which deters cracking.
Stubborn stains may require a little extra work to remove. Sticky spots such as dried soda or alcohol can be removed by using a solution of equal parts of water and vinegar. Most scuffs and marks can be removed with a pencil eraser. It is important to remember that when conditioning or if the boots get wet, you need to allow them to dry away from direct heat.
Boot wax is not really necessary except where a spit shine is needed. The wax can be applied over the cream. You can use saddle soap if you do not let it dry on the boots and you do not rub it in. Saddle soap should be wiped off wet. Mink oil is another product frequently used. It will waterproof the boots, but also seals the pores and eventually causes cracking. It is not recommended for boots.
One final thing to remember is that wax is water based and will dry out boots. A coat of cream should always be applied first.