boot care guide
When it comes to taking care of your leather shoes, a little truly goes a long way. Spending a few minutes every few months (or as needed depending on your choice of profession) cleaning and conditioning your footwear is about understanding how important it is to protect your investment. Appropriate conditioning and cleaning products, ceder tree inserts, necessary repairs and replacements by a local cobbler are needed to help your footwear remain in service for the years to come.
This short guide will provide some pointers on how to treat two particular kinds of the many leathers used in today's footwear industry. There is an incredible assortment of leathers used in the manufacturing of footwear that require different kinds of product to treat, clean and condition. A wide variety of aftercare product is available on the market. You may find your local big box retailer carrying Kiwi branded care products and you can find specialty product lines from reputable brands such as Angelos, Fibergs, Otterwax, Lexol and more. Each product offers a different level of care for your footwear, and depending on the particular type of leather a bit of caution may be required when using your choice of care product. Some care products can dramatically alter the color of the shoe's upper and in some circumstances limit certain performance features of your footwear.
The two types of leather highlighted in the video above is an oil tanned leather produced by the Thiele Tanning Company and a rough out suede from S.B. Foot Tannery. I'll be using a horse hair shoe brush I picked up from a local shoe repair shop, a bottle of Otterwax Leather Oil, Red Wing's Natural Boot Oil and a suede cleaning kit. Look forward to more guides like this demonstrating the appropriate care for a variety of leathers like heavy oiled aniline leathers, bridle tanned, waxy nubuck, and more! Thank you!
Oil tanned leather style (Weinbrenner Thorogood American Heritage Roofer)
- Using your horse hair shoe brush, brush off any excess dirt and buildup residing on the leather's upper stitching, eyelets, vamp, heel counter, and tongue. Don't forget to brush the welt thoroughly in the case your footwear is a welted product. (note: warm water or a leather cleaner can be lightly used for any hard buildup)
- Grab a clean dry wash cloth and apply a small amount of leather oil into the cloth. Rub the oil into the leather upper of the shoe. Apply additional leather oil as needed to provide even coverage around the entirety of shoes. If you want to get to into every nook and cranny of your shoes, don't be afraid to use your hands to massage the leather oil into the upper. Wipe off any excess oil with your wash clolth.
- Set them to down in a cool dry area for at least 24 hours for the oil to penetrate into the upper. After they soak up all that oil, lace them up and get going!
Rough out suede (Red Wing Java Abilene Chukka)
- Using your horse hair shoe brush, brush off any excess dirt and buildup residing in the leather's upper stitching, eyelets, vamp, heel counter, and tongue. Don't forget to brush the welt thoroughly in the case your footwear is a welted product.
- With your suede bar, spot clean areas on the leather upper that are in need of TLC. Focus on areas around the toe box, upper vamp and soiled areas where dirt and grime tend to build up after daily use. For tough stains and dirt, apply a small amount of water to the upper and suede bar and clean the area in need. Let the upper dry, and spot clean the area again with the suede bar.
- Using the suede brush, brush the leather upper thoroughly to improve the nap finish of the leather.
- For certain types of roughout suede leathers, mink oil is required to condition the leather. With this particular model from Red Wing, no conditioner is needed. Using a leather protector improves the leather's ability to withstand the elements.
- Set your shoes to dry and when ready, lace them up and pound the pavement ahead.
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