Wherever life takes us, our boots always come along for the ride. They are an extension of our bodies and deserve to be shown some TLC. After protecting our feet from hot sidewalks, poor weather, and misplaced steps from other people, your boots will need a good polishing every once in a while. When properly cared for, a good pair of boots can last a lifetime.

You Will Need:

High quality cream polish that matches the color of your boots; High quality wax polish that is either color neutral or color matched to your boots; A terry or microfiber cloth or chamois; High quality leather cleaner; A small, soft bristle brush; A horse hair brush, light-colored for brown boots or black for black boots

Step By Step: How to Polish Leather Boots

STEP 1: CLEAN YOUR BOOTS: The first step in polishing your boots is to make sure that they are clean and free from any debris. If your boots aren’t clean, the leather won’t be able to absorb the nutrients in the polish and you may scratch the leather during the application process.

Using the small brush, brush away any large patches of dirt or dust, making sure to brush any stitch work and seams in the leather. Once you have removed any dirt and dust from your boots, clean the entire surface of your boots with your leather cleaner, following the directions on the package. Your boots are now clean and ready for polish.

STEP 2: APPLY LEATHER POLISH: Take a small amount of the polish and apply it to your boots using your terry cloth in a small circular pattern. Less is more, and a little polish goes a long way. After the polish has been applied, let it sit on the boots for at least two hours or overnight. This allows the leather to absorb the nutrients and moisturizers in the polish, which will keep them soft and supple.

STEP 3: BUFF OUT THE POLISH: After your thirsty boots have had plenty of time to absorb the nutrients, buff any remaining polish away using the horse bristle brush in long, straight strokes. It's okay, and even preferable, to brush vigorously. The friction from the brush against the boots will heat up the waxes and conditioners in the polish and bring out the natural luster of your leather. As an added bonus, the heat that gets created during the buffing stage will mend minor creases and scratches on your boots. If it has been a while since the last time you polished your boots, it may be necessary to repeat steps 2 and 3.

STEP 4: APPLY WAX POLISH: The final layer that gets applied to your boots is a high-quality wax polish. Unlike the cream polish, which largely gets absorbed by your leather boots, wax polish rests on the surface and protects your boots from future damage like water spots or scuffs.

Using a clean section of your cloth or chamois, take a small amount of wax polish and rub it into the surface of your leather boots in small, circular motions. Once your boots have wax polish over the entire surface, allow the wax polish to dry for three to five minutes.

Then use the horse hair brush and buff the wax polish off of your leather boots, again using long, firm strokes. The idea is to have a very thin layer of hard wax on the surface of your boots. If the layer of wax is too thick, the waxes won’t bend and move with the shoe and will crack over the surface of the leather as you wear them. If this happens, don’t worry! All you have to do is buff out the broken pieces of wax with your horse hair brush.

STEP 5: BUFF THE WAX POLISH: This is the final step in polishing your leather boots. Use the horse hair brush and buff the wax polish off of your leather boots, again using long, firm strokes. Continue until the haze from the wax polish has completely disappeared.

The idea here is to have a very thin layer of hard wax on the surface of your boots. If the layer of wax is too thick, the waxes won’t bend and move with the shoe and will crack over the surface of the leather as you wear them. If this happens, don’t worry! All you have to do is buff out the broken pieces of wax with your horse hair brush.

Using these steps to maintain your leather boots, you can expect them to last a lifetime. It’s important to keep up with regular maintenance, and for regular leather boots, you should repeat this process once or twice a month. And just like that, your leather boots are ready to help you take on the world.

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