5 Things That Are Ruining Your Boots
Cowboys and cowgirls alike consider boots a staple of their wardrobe. They’re a perfect addition to any Western outfit and have the great advantage of appearing both casual and formal depending on what they’re paired with. Can you ever really go wrong with a laidback pair of boots?
Whether you’re riding on the ranch in Montana or herding cattle in Texas, cowboy boots have always needed to withstand a great deal of roughin’ it. The vast majority of boots, no matter what material they are made of, are not as tough and resilient as they appear to be. It’s important to remember the best ways of ensuring that your boots last through many muddy seasons to come.
Fortunately, there are a few tried-and-true methods of keeping your boots in the best shape possible. Read on if you’re curious about the top five things that are ruining your boots.
1. Forcing them to dry before they’re ready.
In other words, if you’ve ever panicked and taken a blow dryer to your boots so they’d be dry in time for the next occasion when you needed to wear them, there’s a good chance that you actually might have contributed to leather damage over the long term. Yikes!
Leather is a very delicate material that looks great but requires a lot of tender loving care to remain in good shape. If you blow dry your boots or put them next to another ventilation system that forces them to dry quickly, such as a radiator, the leather begins to crack and dry out. Over time, this can cause the leather on your favorite pair of boots to look dry and withered.
Ideally, leather cowboy boots should never be dried using a manual heat source. If you clean them, or if they become damp from the rain or snow, allow them to air dry in a well-ventilated area of your home. You might be in a rush to dry your boots, but at least, when it comes to country living, patience is a virtue.
2. Allowing dust and dirt to settle on the surface.
Cowboy boots are made to handle the roughest terrain you can imagine. That’s why they continue to be the preferred footwear of ranchers, riders, and cattle drivers nationwide. If they’re properly cleaned and dried after each wear, authentic leather cowboy boots can last for years, adding a touch of country chic to your wardrobe.
However, the country lifestyle brings with it some dangers. Long walks in the country prairies, where dust and dirt are everywhere, can do a world of damage to your boots. You don’t have to be living in the Dust Bowl to see the effects tiny granules of dirt can do to your leather boots over time. Even the smallest pieces can become trapped in the leather cracks and cause the material to split, dry out, and break.
3. Not storing them at the right temperature.
Aside from specks of dirt and dust, humidity is one of the worst enemies of the leather cowboy boot! Anyone who has ever stored a pair in the hot and sticky southern summer will know exactly what this means. Unfortunately, mold and mildew grow rampant in humid climates, and one of their favorite breeding grounds is—you guessed it—leather. Try to avoid storing your boots on a screened-in porch where the moisture can easily reach them.
On the other hand, if you store your boots somewhere completely dry, such as at the back of your closet or inside a safe, you run the risk of drying out the leather and causing it to crack. This will ruin the overall look of your boots and potentially make them uncomfortable to wear, too.
4. Not using stain protector.
Water damage is a common culprit of leather damage. If you don’t want to see unpleasant stains develop on the exterior of your leather boots, protect them with a water and stain protector, which can be purchased at any store that sells Western apparel. It’s an important investment to make if you want to ensure that your boots remain shining and lustrous into the future.
The one exciting benefit of stain protector is that it can be used on all kinds of leather, so you don’t need to buy different brands depending on which boots you’d like to apply it to. Additionally, protector tends to sink in better if you’ve worn your boots once or twice, so the pores have opened up a little first.
5. Skipping the conditioner.
Anyone who’s ever lived in a cold climate during the winter months knows the uncomfortable feeling of having dry, cracked hands. You might be surprised to learn that the same thing can happen to leather if it’s not been properly conditioned.
Cowboy boots can be polished with conditioner whenever they start to lose their signature shine. You’d be amazed how quickly boot conditioner can boost their appearance and make them look brand new again! However, each type of leather requires a different type of conditioner, so you’d be advised to do your research before purchasing a bottle.