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How to Properly Care for Suede Cowboy Boots?

How to Properly Care for Suede Cowboy Boots?

Besides cowhide, bull hide, goat, or exotic leather, cowboy boots are also made of an extremely popular and beloved type of leather: suede.

Suede cowboy boots have been around for a long time. Although they are not really as popular as smooth leather, they have always been one of the indispensable choices in the hearts of die-hard fans.

However, did you know that one of the obstacles that make suede unpopular in the world of cowboy boots is that the way to care for them is quite a lot more complicated than the rest?

Caring for suede cowboy boots is not really difficult, but there are a few caveats. Just grasp those notes, and you will know what to do.

Today’s article was born to tell you all the things about caring for suede cowboy boots.

Let’s check it out!

Key takeaways

  • In fact, caring for suede cowboy boots doesn’t take as much effort as with smooth leather ones.
  • There are two most important things to care for suede cowboy boots, that is to clean them and preserve them. That will ensure the boots are soft, smooth, and last long.
  • Do not polish boots made from suede, keep them from getting wet, moldy, or near high-heat sources, and keep the shape of the boots.

Women wear suede boots with differnet outfit

How to Properly Care for Suede Cowboy Boots?

In general, to care for smooth leather cowboy boots, you will have four main steps: cleaning, conditioning, polishing, and storing them.

However, the nature of suede is quite different from smooth leather, so you can remove the polishing step, and can shorten the time to condition them.

The reason is that suede leather has changed quite a lot after the tanning process, it is naturally dry (but soft) and does not possess as much natural oil and wax as smooth leather. So it doesn’t really need a lot of conditioning to recover from that.

Suede and smooth leather

Meanwhile, no one would ever polish suede leather, because wax or oil will press the napped surface of the suede down. In addition, wax polishes are also not really suitable for the hairy surface of suede, they can cause the hairs to become brittle and break easily.

And over time, that surface will become glossy and no different from smooth leather (but ugly), you will lose the unique beauty of suede.

In summary, there are 2 main steps you need to do: clean suede cowboy boots and store them properly.

Cleaning suede cowboy boots to keep them clean, soft and silky

Since suede cowboy boots have a special hairy surface, you just can’t use a horsehair brush like you would for smooth full-grain leather.

Use specialized suede brushes, they are very similar to a comb. This comb will pull the dirt out of the suede leather and smoothen the hairs of the boots.

In addition to the suede brush, you should also use a suede eraser, it can remove colored stains on the suede very effectively.

Finally, get your suede cleaner ready, it has mild soap to clean suede, along with some nutrients to keep suede soft without the need for conditioner.

Usually, you should buy suede cleaner in spray form, we can apply it easily to suede areas without leaving any residue. Remember to stay away from oils or waxes when it comes to caring for suede.

Suede boot care kit

Here is the step-by-step guide:

  • Use a suede brush to rub evenly on the surface of suede cowboy boots to pre-clean them
  • Apply suede cleaner to the surface evenly, then use the brush to continue scrubbing thoroughly so that the suede cleaner is spread evenly and penetrates deeply. At the same time, the stains will fall off.
  • Use an eraser to remove stubborn stains if necessary.

Repeat the process about 3 times for the best effect.


Before starting the cleaning process, it’s essential to take precautions to protect the delicate nap of some fashionable suede cowboy boots.

When using the brush, be sure to brush in one direction, following the natural nap of the suede. This technique helps to remove dirt and restore the nap without causing damage.

Avoid applying excessive pressure or scrubbing vigorously, as this can flatten the nap or create unsightly marks on the suede surface.

However, for some types of cowboy boots specifically for working, you may not need to pay attention to this.

Tecovas suede cleaner, brush and eraser

Tecovas suede cleaner, brush and eraser | Image copyright Tecovas Boot Company | #CommissionEarned

Cowboy Boot Suede Leather Cleaning

In the case of cleaning the inside of cowboy boots, things will be more complicated. It depends on the inner material of the boots.

If the boot insoles are removable, remove them and clean them separately.

If the inside is suede lining and the insole is non-removable, that’s fine, just do as instructed. But if it’s the leather lining, you’ll need a horsehair brush and leather cleaner (or saddle soap).

Here are the steps to follow:

  • Moisten your brush then pre-clean the inside of the boots, scrubbing the surface of the leather lining thoroughly. You can also use a vacuum to suck up the dirt inside.
  • Apply leather cleaner (or saddle soap), then continue to use a brush to scrub and clean the inside.
  • Clean, and moisten the horsehair brush and then use it to sweep away any residue left on the leather lining surface.
  • Repeat the process 2 to 3 times.
  • Use a dry towel to dry the inside of cowboy boots. Use boot dryers or boot trees to dry if necessary (more on drying boots below).
Leather care kit from Tecovas

Image copyright Tecovas Boot Company | #CommissionEarned
| Click image for more info on Tecovas

If your cowboy boots have a lining made of mesh or fabric, you’ll need to use a regular laundry brush along with some laundry detergent.

Then, just like you do laundry, wet the mesh lining, apply detergent, and scrub until it’s clean.

Then continue to clean and moisten the brush to sweep away any remaining residue on the mesh lining.

Or you can also replace the brush with a clean towel to make sure no detergent remains.

After that, don’t forget to dry the cowboy boots inside and out.

If suede cowboy boots are used regularly, then you should clean them every 30 to 45 days. If they are used sparingly, you should also clean them every 3 months.

Cleaning suede cowboy boots are meant to get stains out of the boots and make them smoother and softer.

So don’t be lazy!


Although conditioners for suede are hard to find on the market for the reasons I’ve outlined above, that doesn’t mean there aren’t.

In fact, although not many, there are still many conditioner spray products.

From my view, this conditioning step is not necessary. In case you still want to condition the boots, do it after the cleaning step.

Spray a layer of conditioner on the suede boots, then use the suede brush to scrub cowboy boots. This ensures that the conditioner will be evenly applied and penetrate better. Repeat 2 or 3 times for best results.

Suede cowboy boots on the wooden floor

Preserve suede cowboy boots

After cleaning, you need to know how to preserve suede cowboy boots.

First, to ensure the quality of cowboy boots, you need to know how to keep them in shape. The most important thing is to keep them upright and have a certain amount of tension.

To do that, you should use a boot rack and a boot stand to allow your boots to stay upright.

In addition, a boot sharper and boot trees are also necessary to keep the boots in shape, making sure they don’t get wrinkles.

a pair of boot trees

Boot Ups Boot Shaper - Best Boot Inserts Ever!

Make sure to store your cowboy boots in a cool and especially dry place, it’s simply because suede cowboy boots are afraid of water.

You should avoid using suede cowboy boots in the rainy or snowy seasons as water can cause suede to have wrinkles, lose shape and leave water marks on its surface. Constantly getting wet and dry will result in the suede hairs becoming brittle and broken, and suede boots lose their unique value.

In fact, suede tends to be much more susceptible to the bad effects of water than smooth leather.

You should keep suede cowboy boots in a dry environment and dry them as soon as possible (if they get wet).

Normally, I clean suede boots before drying them (following the steps above) to make sure they are clean and don’t show any watermarks.

You can use a fan to dry the outside of your boots or use a more specialized product like a boot dryer to make sure they stay dry inside and out.

To make sure suede boots don’t wrinkle and don’t get moldy inside, boot trees are my go-to choice.

Tecovas Men's Boot Trees

Image copyright Tecovas Boot Company | #CommissionEarned
| Click the image for more info

If not, you can also fill the boots with absorbent paper, but it will take a bit of work.

Keeping the inside of cowboy boots dry is really important because cowboy boots with a tall structure are often quite tight on the inside. So if they are damp or wet inside, mold and fungus appear soon.

In the rainy season, I recommend using waterproof spray on cowboy boots before stepping out. This product will protect the suede cowboy boots from getting wet, the boots will be less damaged and it takes you less care afterward.

Here is a detailed guide on how to waterproof suede boots!

Waterproofing suede boots

Finally, it would be best if you don’t leave cowboy boots made of suede near heat sources like direct sunlight or dry them with a hair dryer. Simply because the high heat source will make the hairs on the suede surface become brittle and fragile, easy to damage.

Before you leave

As such, to ensure cowboy boots made from suede stay original and last the longest, you should clean them regularly, and understand how to care for them properly.

Suede leather possesses many different properties than smooth leather, so you will not be able to use methods for smooth leather for it.

However, suede cowboy boots always have something very different from smooth leather ones, which is worth your experience. And as I evaluate, the effort to take care of them is not as much as taking care of smooth leather boots.

Good luck!