Top Tips for Leather, Suede and Faux Leather Boot Care

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Wednesday, November 7, 2012 - 1:49pm

You have finally found the absolute perfect pair of Ariat boots! The color is exquisite, the fit, sublime! The soles are just the way you like them, heel shape perfect, and uppers made from the finest materials.... But now what? How do you take care of this perfect pair of boots?

There are many places to turn for advice, but common sense and some simple guidelines are all you really need.

Did you know that dirt and dust will eventually damage your boots? Over time, it can work its way deep into the material. Friction caused by walking, scuffing, or rubbing can cause the grit of that dirt to scratch, grind, and actually cut the fibers of the very material you once found so beautiful.

So what do you do?

Clean and condition leather boots. Leather comes in many different forms: cowhide, suede, deerskin, snakeskin, ostrich, and alligator, among others. It is all leather and should be cared for properly. ONLY USE products specifically designed for leather boots as some products can discolor the more exotic forms of leather.

  1. Always be sure to wipe dust and any dried dirt off your boots with a damp cloth. Mud should never be allowed to remain on your boots either. It can cause the leather to dry out. Allow mud to dry before attempting to remove it.
  2. Properly conditioned boots will tend to resist minor scrapes and scuffs better than non-conditioned boots, and keeps the leather softer and more supple. Choose a conditioning cream that is designed for leather. Apply it according to the manufacturer's directions.
  3. Let the conditioner dry naturally, and away from a heat source.  Improper drying may cause your boot leather to dry out and eventually crack. When your boots are completely dry, use a soft cloth to buff them out.

Caring for suede leather is similar, but also quite different.

  1. Before you wear suede boots, you need to spray them with a suede protectant/repellent. This will help repel moisture as well as stains. REMEMBER: just because you have sprayed your suede with a repellent, does NOT mean you should wear them in the rain or tromp through puddles. The product is designed to MINIMIZE damage caused by moisture.
  2. Use a soft terry cloth, to remove dried dust and dirt by gently wiping it across your boot.
  3. Carefully use a suede sponge or suede brush on stains. Too much force will damage the nap.
  4. Once you have removed the stain, you can restore the soft look of the nap by using a brush designed specifically for suede.
  5. After your boots are cleaned and the nap is the way you want it, spray them with the suede protectant/repellant and let them dry completely before wearing.
  6. Taking your boots to a professional for cleaning is a good option. They have all the tools necessary to bring your suede leather back to life.

Faux leather is somewhat easier to care for.

  1. Use a soft cloth to remove the dust from your faux leather boots.
  2. For stains or spills, you can use a very small amount of mild soap such as dish soap or CLEAR liquid hand soap, both diluted in water.
  3. Gently wipe the liquid solution over the stain until it disappears.
  4. Use a soft absorbent cloth to dry the surface. Allow the material to dry completely before wearing.

Proper care and cleaning will allow your leather boots to last and give you enjoyment for years to come. What are your favorite types of boots to wear and how do you keep them clean? Share your tips in the comments below!   

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