How to Care for Boots in 6 Easy Steps


Cowboy boots are meant to get down and dirty! Even though they may look tough, they need to be cared for properly.

Boots are an investment meant to last a lifetime. Caring for them correctly will extend their lifespan and showcase their unique and versatile design for years.

Because boots are made out of different material, it is important to read the labels carefully before using products on your boots.

Here are a few steps for caring for your boots:

Clean Your Boots

This is the simplest and most important step! Dust gets stuck throughout the ridges, which can cause an aging effect on the finished leather.

Before putting your boots away after a day at the rodeo or a long night on the town or, grab a soft, damp cloth and give your boots a quick wipe. An old toothbrush or a dry eraser can help break down and soften any mud or caked-on dirt so that it becomes easier to remove.

For exotic leather boots like alligator or snakeskin, Dan Posts Boots suggests lifting and cleaning under each scale because dust and debris tend to collect there.

Condition Your Boots

Dusting after each time the boots are worn will work wonders, but going the extra mile will keep your boots looking brand spanking new. Like your skin, boots need to be regularly moisturized. Conditioner will keep the boot’s leather soft and smooth.

While the boots are still slightly damp, apply a quarter-sized dollop of leather conditioner onto a cloth and rub it onto the boots. Applying thin layers is best because it absorbs into the leather easier.

Find a conditioner that is specific for the type of leather on your boots. Justin Boots suggests using a leather conditioner only on leather boots because it may darken other materials such as suede or cowhide.

Steer clear from household cleaners because products like alcohol and turpentine dry out the leather, which may cause the material to crack.

Depending upon how often you wear your boots, you may condition them weekly or monthly, but don’t condition them too often because it can lead to mold.

Keep Your Boots Polished

To keep the leather looking fresh, dab a little polish on a cloth and wipe your boots. Be sure to pay special attention to the crevices because that’s where dirt tends to get stuck. Oils also work great as a household knack- try olive or vegetable oil!

After polishing, let the boots dry before wiping off any excess product with a soft cloth. Make sure not to polish any suede or distressed leather because it darkens and damages the leather. Polishing gives the boots a sheen new look.

Ariat recommends doing the first three steps regularly to help protect and keep your boots looking their best.

Protect Your Boots

If you live in an area where it regularly rains or snows, this extra step is just for you!

To avoid unpleasant water stains, grab a water and stain protector and spray the product evenly over the boots. Allow a few minutes of drying time before spraying a second coat. Never force-dry or use a blow dryer to save time because the leather will dry out and crack.

Using a stain protector is especially important and effective when the boots are new. It helps maintain the longevity of the leather and protect against scuffs before the first wear.

Reapply the protector each time you polish and condition your boots.

Boots Getting Worn Out?

Are your boots getting more wear in a particular area? It may be from the way you are walking. Although it may not always be possible to change the way you walk, it is important to create pressure evenly when you step down.

You can also prolong the life of the soles by not dragging your feet. No matter how you walk, the bottom soles will eventually wear out. Keep in mind that it is easier and less expensive to re-sole the boot than buying new ones!

Store Your Boots

Boots are like skin, so it’s normal for the leather to crease up when you walk. You can prevent against excessive creasing by storing them correctly. To maintain their shape, stuff them with paper or long, thin pieces of cardboard. You could also invest in boot trees which are designed for maintaining the shape.

Store your boots in an area that is not too humid or damp because mold grows easily on leather.

If you are planning to take your boots with you on your next trip, use a boot bag, but be sure to stuff the boots before placing them inside the bag so that they don’t flatten out.

Keep Your Boots Happy & New

Now that you have all the steps for caring for your cowboy boots, you can slow the aging process and keep your boots looking new!

About Big R

Bill and Pat Crabtree originated the Illinois Big R Stores in 1964 opening the first store in Watseka, Illinois. To date 20 stores have been opened in Illinois and Indiana; 2 stores in Ohio and 1 store in Wisconsin and we are still proud to be family-owned and operated. Our 12 Illinois stores are located in Watseka, Gibson City, Danville, Tilton, Pontiac, Morris, Pekin, Washington, Rochelle, Homer Glen, Streator and McHenry. Our 8 Indiana stores are located in Warsaw, 2 locations in Elkhart, Rochester, Wabash, Crawfordsville, Michigan City, and Marion. Our 2 stores in Ohio are located in Lima and Findlay. And 1 location in Wisconsin in Burlington. The offices and warehouses for Big R remain in Watseka, IL. Farm and Ranch store owners in the western states started the Big R brand name; they chose the name "Big R" to convey the "Ranch" identity. The Big R group is now comprised of 12 independent owners with store locations throughout the U.S. They all are members of Mid-States Distributing Company of St. Paul, MN. The Mid-States Coop has over 600 stores throughout the United States and Canada.