The seasons can be rough on leather, especially when you have a pair of boots that have gone through a wide range of weather changes. As a natural material, leather will age and can get dry, just like our own skin, and as such, needs to be taken care of to keep it in good condition. Don't get us wrong! We love a well-worn and well-loved pair of boots, with every scuff and every mark telling a story that is unique to you. But there's a way to keep the individual look of your pair while giving them shine and protecting them against the elements. We're here to show you the perfect product to help you achieve that.
We've put together a breakdown of some of the products we carry and how they're best used, whether you're trying to protect them against snow, rain or just inevitable age.
We've got you covered.
CLEAN, MOISTURIZE + RESTORE
Maybe you don’t need waterproofing but understandably you don’t want to buy a bunch of different products to take care of your boots. Since leather is no longer living skin, it can't produce natural oils anymore so it needs you to help prevent drying and cracking (a major life-shortener for quality footwear). Blackrock Leather N' Rich is a great all-in-one product that has you covered from cleaning scuffs to adding much needed moisture, and adding moisture adds shine, giving leather a freshly restored look. This product is all natural and goes on clear, maintaining the original color after application and helping to preserve and prolong the life of your boots.
What's in it: carnauba wax
How to apply: on completely dry boots, remove any dirt or debris with a rag or horse-hair brush. Apply a layer of Blackrock with a rag and buff until no longer visible. Reapply as often as needed.
If you're lucky enough to live in an area that rarely experiences any inclement weather (California, we're looking at you) then you may not think about leather care products as often. That doesn't mean your boots don't get dirty and Otter Wax Saddle Soap can take the worry out of keeping them office or dress-presentable. It easily removes any buildup on the surface of the leather, from dust to dirt to sand. Removing particles that have attached themselves to your boots can make them more durable and revive them to their fresh-out-of-the-box glory. Another plus to this product – the Otter Wax products are all-natural and go on clear, so after they have dried, the original color will be untouched.
What's in it: all-natural beeswax, castile soap + essential oils
How to apply: With a damp cloth, apply saddle soap to the leather, until a foam appears. Continue to administer until surface layer of dirt and grime has been removed. Wipe clean with a dry cloth.
MOISTURIZE + CONDITION
If you're starting to notice that the leather is getting dry or even cracked, this just means it needs some added moisture and conditioning. This can happen regularly over time or in extreme cold or heat. Certain oils (like the DIY olive oil trick that you may see on the internet) can soak into the leather and resurface as spots or stains once they have settled. This is an unpredictable result that you don't want to risk when trying to care for a quality pair of boots. Otter Wax Leather Salve will protect and nourish the surface layer, helping to avoid any of those unforeseen side effects that other, more oily products may produce. Conditioning means shine, so while you give back some much needed moisture to your leather, this salve will add some sheen and luster while you're at it.
What's in it: shea butter + carnauba wax
How to apply: Use a dry cloth or rag to administer, leaving to dry after application. (The more cracked or dehydrated the leather, the more you will need to use.) Once dry, there will be a cloudy or waxy layer which you will then buff to a shine with a horsehair brush or dry rag. Darkening may occur while the salve fully settles into the leather, but this will disappear within a few days.
So maybe you live in an area that experiences a bit more rain or even snow. Protecting against unwanted cuts and scratches is still important, but the elements can really start to take a toll and, while salt is great for making sure you don't go sliding around on the ice, it's not that kind to leather. A lot of weather-proofers can change the color of a boot, and inorganic ingredients can prevent the leather from breathing. What you want is a barrier between the leather and wherever the moisture is coming from, but it will still need to expel anything it has naturally absorbed. Manmade materials tend to bar this much-needed evaporation. Otter Wax Boot Wax will protect (not smother) the leather, hydrating and repelling any water or unwanted elements. It's long lasting, but a great way to tell if you need to reapply more is once the water is no longer beading on the surface.
What's in it: beeswax + lanolin leather sealant
How to apply: use as often as needed or when water stops beading on surface of leather. Use a clean, dry rag to administer a layer to the entire surface of the boot as well as around seams or at eyelets where water could get in. Buff leather afterwards with horsehair brush or soft rag and allow to dry. You may notice temporary darkening that will subside within a few days and after fully drying.
CLEAN, POLISH + CONDITION
Formulated in 1905 and the first American made shoe cream, Venetian Leather Balm is a product that has been been trusted for over 100 years. Restoring shine and luster to a favorite pair of boots, it also conditions and protects, prolonging the life of the leather. Have a pair of our boots with a white sole? (The Hunters, Ives, Kleins, etc.) Venetian is great for removing scuffs and dirt and isn't damaging to the rubber, making them look revived and new. While it may darken leather initially, after a couple days and drying completely, the leather will return to its original color. If you're worried about how it will look after applying, you can test a small area on the inside of the boot for a better idea about any color variation.
photo by truman boot co. blog
What's in it: petroleum distillates + turpentine
How to apply: Remove any dirt from surface before applying. With a clean rag, apply small amounts to areas with scuffs or marks to remove or, if shining, apply a thin layer to leather before buffing with a soft cloth or rag. Leather may darken slightly and should return to original color within a few days.
Suede boot owners, we haven't forgotten you! A lot of people can get steered away from this material because of the climate they live in, since suede and water do not mix well. We're here to tell you that you don't have to narrow down your options. If waterproofed with the right product, leather rough-out and suede can be just as much of a fashion staple as leather. Otter Wax Fabric Wax is a great product for this, adding a protective layer between your favorite footwear and all the elements that could damage it. While applying a layer of waterproofing wax can alter the look of the nap slightly, it will also ensure that you have control over the look rather than leaving it up to chance or having to dodge every drop of water that comes your way. Just like the other Otter Wax products, its made from all-natural materials since suede, just like leather, needs to breathe too. Need a great tutorial from the company itself? Click here to see exactly how to protect your suede footwear this upcoming season.
photo by otter wax
What's in it: beeswax, plant-based wax + oils
How to apply: After cleaning or removing any excess dirt with a horsehair brush, rub bar back and worth on surface to warm up wax. When surface is coated, smooth out with fingers to create an even seal. Appearance of suede or rough out will be darker as the nap will now be flattened and sealed.
Remember, your boots are between you and the rocky ground or hard pavement so they take quite a beating on a daily basis. We also don't always switch styles daily, so the same pair of boots might be with you on a regular basis, day in and day out, season after season. This is why they need added care. The great thing is, boots will always return the favor. If you protect and care for them, they are able to protect and care for your feet for even longer.
Although we tried to keep this post relatively short, maybe we left out a detail that you want to know. Have a question about application or maybe we didn't mention a certain result that you are looking for? Just let us know! Shoot an email over to firstname.lastname@example.org and we can answer any questions you have.