Caring for Your Working/Hiking Boots
Your boots do a lot for you, including keeping you warm and dry in the worst conditions. To keep those boots looking their best and doing their job, all you need to do is take care of them. We’ve unlaced a good pair of work boots to show you the proper technique for cleaning, waterproofing, and conditioning your leather boots.
We unlaced our favorite pair of Danner boots, gave them a good cleaning, waterproofing, and conditioning in just a handful of steps.
Step 1: Remove Laces and False Tongue (Brush Guard)
Yes, it’s important to remove the laces, but you also need to remove the false tongue or brush guard. It’s that frayed bit of leather that lives between the boot and your laces just behind and on top of the toe. If your laces look at all frayed or thin, get a replacement pair.
Step 2: Clean Boots
We used a dusting brush to clean dirt from the leather pores. Specialized brushes often use pig hair to reduced damage to the leather as you scrub away the grime. If there are oil-based particles that won’t come off, use a cleaning gel. Just be sure to use it sparingly, wiping away any excess and allowing it to dry completely before going to step 3.
Coastal tip: Too much heat too quickly can damage leather boots. Never dry your boots using a hairdryer, open flame, space heater, or wood stove.
Step 3: Apply Saddle Soap
Even if your boots have a waterproof liner, it’s important to protect the leather from water damage. Saddle soap and other waterproofing products help protect leather and avoid water spots. Apply your choice of product with a clean rag. Work it into the leather as much as possible. Then allow the boots to dry for up to 10 minutes. Wipe away the excess and move on to step 4.
Step 4: Dress the Boot
You can avoid cracks and flakes by conditioning your full-grain leather boots regularly. The rule-of-thumb is, if your boots look dry add some dressing. Just choose the color or tone for your boots (black, brown, or other) and apply plenty of the dressing to the leather with a clean cloth. Rub the conditioner into the leather, wipe off any excess and leave your boots to dry overnight.
Step 5: Lace Your Boots and Re-attach Brush Guard
After a night of drying, you’re ready to lace up and go to work.
Recrafting is Sometimes Necessary
The soles and stitches of any good pair of boots will eventually wear down. It happens to the best of them. You can get a new pair, or get them recrafted. Depending on the bootmaker, most manufacturers offer recrafting services. Or bring your favorite pair of trusty boots to Coastal and we’ll point you to a local cobbler, also known as a boot doctor.
Perfect for Mountains, Worksites, and Workshops
Your nearby Coastal Farm & Ranch has the largest selection of boots and boot care supplies in the Pacific Northwest. Come by and try on your next pair. We have over 2,000 in stock from names like Danner, Timberland, Wolverine and more. While you’re here, check out our full line of work clothes and gear to keep you warm and safe in any Northwest conditions.