It’s fall in New England — tell me about boot and bootie maintenance

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    It’s been a minute since I’ve worn my black leather riding boots and they were looking a little stiff when I pulled them out of the closet. What product or routine should I be using to keep them fresh?



    This is just what I personally do:

    Quick brush with a horsehair brush before/after each wear.

    Shoe trees get inserted in between wears.

    Condition as needed when the leather is dry to the touch (it sounds like your boots need conditioning). I personally use Saphir because I’m in the advanced stages of shoe collecting and my shoes “deserve” luxury French care products but something like a Bick 4 or Lexol will do the job just fine.

    Generally at the end of the season I’ll do a full clean and condition, depending on the conditions you walk in, you may decide to do a cleaning mid-season or after a traumatic event, like someone vomiting on your shoes…(we are still friends but only barely). Again, you can use something like Lexol or Bick or Saddle Soap for a cleaner.

    Any scuffs that can’t simply be brushed away (you’d be surprised what a good brushing can do), or if any fading of the color is present you can use a black polish to bring the color saturation back up.

    Since your shoes are black you don’t have to worry about this as much, but in general be cautious of using intense waterproofing products which are often lumped in with more neutral conditioners since they can significantly [darken the leather]( These certainly have a place but, you know, there’s nothing *wrong* with getting leather wet and if you feel the need to be walking in extremely wet conditions you should wear rain/snow boots (but that’s just my take).

    If you get salt stains on your shoes, a 50/50 water and white vinegar solution applied to the stain will work magic.



    Don’t be like me, the genius who noticed my boot sole was coming off in August and didn’t drop them off at the cobbler.



    Leather conditioner is your friend! I like the Apple Care brand the best.

    But other than that when your boots need it, I take my shoes to a cobbler before every autumn to get professionally cleaned and conditioned, as well as resoled/reheeled if necessary. I also get rubber soles put on the bottom of any shoes with leather soles which makes a huge difference in longevity and comfort.



    I use a conditioner called Leather CPR on my boots. They sell it at Bed Bath and Beyond. It’s great stuff. Very thick and won’t discolor any kind of leather. I use it on my purses and other leather items as well.

    For boots, I use a little at the beginning of the season to make them look spiffy. Then a bit more once in a while to clean away any salt residue. At the end of the season they get a thorough cleaning before I put them away for storage.



    I clean all my leather boots and shoes about once a month with a colour conditioning cream. I use Erdal stuff as it’s readily available.

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