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How to Restore Cowboy Boots? The 10 Most Optimal Methods

For cowboy boots to recover to the old style, there are plenty of ways to help you.

Cowboy boots are very durable and can be used for up to 12 years. However, no matter how durable, the marks of time will still appear (like discoloring, scratches, wrinkles, etc.)! And that’s unavoidable!

That’s when you need to take action!

There are many ways to restore cowboy boots such as proper care, dyeing cowboy boots or resoling them, etc.

Let’s revive your cowboy boots, here’s how to restore cowboy boots!

10 Practical Methods To Bring Your Cowboy Boots Back To Life

There are many methods to make restoring your cowboy boots, we will guide the methods from easy to difficult:

Method 1: Clean, condition and polish cowboy boots

Proper cowboy boot care is one of the very important methods to keep cowboy boots shiny for a long time.

Caring for cowboy boots can be divided into 3 main steps, namely: clean – condition – polish.

These 3 basic steps will quickly make your cowboy boots softer and shinier, conceal cracks and bring your old boots back to life.

Step 1: Clean cowboy boots

Cowboy boots are easy to get dirty. They get discolored and age quickly.

When your cowboy boots get dirty, clean them as soon as possible.

Read more: How to clean cowboy boots?

  • Leather cowboy boots

Cowboy boots on the wood floor

Spray a thin layer of warm water to moisten cowboy boots, then use a soft, or special brush to clean the stains on cowboy boots.

Then combine the horsehair brush with leather cleaner to clean out all remaining stubborn stains.

Remember to clean thoroughly in welt and row stitch

Use a dry towel to wipe off the cowboy boots, keeping the cowboy boots dry.

  • For suede cowboy boots

Suede vs Leather Cowboy Boots

The method of cleaning suede cowboy boots will be quite different from cleaning leather cowboy boots.

With suede cowboy boots, we limit their exposure to water, as water is a major enemy of suede.

Use a special suede brush to remove the stains on cowboy boots.

Using a special eraser to clean deep stains (usually in welt). A special eraser is very effective in removing stubborn dirt on suede.

Then continue using a special brush in combination with the suede cleaner to remove all the remaining stains, spray suede cleaner onto the surface of cowboy boots and use a specialized brush to scrub thoroughly.

Step 2: Condition cowboy boots

Now your cowboy boots are clean, apply specialized conditioner to cowboy boots.

Note conditioners to use for leather and suede are different.

After applying the conditioner to cowboy boots, you can use a hair dryer to make the conditioner quickly penetrate inside the cowboy boots.

Conditioners can restore the color of boots, soften leather/suede and keep cowboy boots last longer. This is a very important stage for restoring cowboy boots

The types of conditioners used in the market today are mink oil, Bickmore, etc.

Conditioner not only softens cowboy boots, maintaining the color of boots, it also helps waterproof cowboy boots.

Apply conditioner to a dry cloth, then wipe evenly on the surface of cowboy boots.

Or you can spray directly on cowboy boots and use a dry towel to wipe the surface of the boots evenly. (depending on the type of conditioner)

Restoring Cowboy Boots

Step 3: Polish cowboy boots (not applicable to suede boots)

The process of polishing cowboy boots is very important, but you only need to polish leather cowboy boots, do not polish suede cowboy boots.

man is polishing a cowboy boot

Use specialized wax to polish cowboy boots, this will help cowboy boots to regain a bright color, thereby restoring the youth of cowboy boots.

Applying these 3 steps well, your cowboy boots will recover like the first days!

Method 2: Dyeing cowboy boots

Another effective method to bring your cowboy boots back to their golden age is to dye your boots.

Cowboy boots after being used for many years will lose their colors. No matter how you polish them, they can not get back to their original color.

Leather cowboy boots and suede cowboy boots will have different ways of dyeing. In general, suede cowboy boots are easier to dye than leather.

There are three main steps to dye cowboy boots:

Step 1: Clean cowboy boots, apply conditioner

Step 2: Start dyeing leather cowboy boots

There are 2 main steps: dye a new color for cowboy boots and make this color shiny.

Step 3: preserve cowboy boots to keep the color of the cowboy boots bright as long as possible

We have a very thorough article on how to dye cowboy boots here.

Along with leather cowboy boots, suede cowboy boots are easier to dye, including three main steps:

Step 1: Clean suede cowboy boots (guided above)

Step 2: Dye suede cowboy boots

Step 3: Use a special brush to continue cleaning the cowboy boots again

Once again, we have a great guide on how to dye cowboy boots here!


Method 3: Resole cowboy boots

After being used for a long time, the sole of cowboy boots will be worn. This can affect your comfort and balance when you use cowboy boots.

To restore comfort, balance and stability, you need to resole cowboy boots.

Cowboy boots are durable, but by no means immortal. The most exposed part to the ground – the sole can still be worn.

When cowboy boots need resoling depends on the sole of your cowboy boots (leather, rubber…) and how often you wear cowboy boots.

If you wear cowboy boots regularly, you should resole about every 2 years for leather soles and every 4 or 5 years for rubber soles.

The sign that your cowboy boots need to be replaced is that the half sole has holes and the heels appear nails. That’s when you need to find good cobblers.

You can still resole cowboy boots at home, but you should know what you’re going to do, it’s not as simple as dyeing, breaking in or stretching cowboy boots.

If you’re new to this, look for good cobblers to do that for you.


Method 4: Use boot trees & boot shapers to restore

You can use boot trees and boot shapers to restore the look of cowboy boots

Cowboy boots are used for a long time and when they encounter a lot of sun and rain, they can shrink or lose shape.

An effective method is to use boot shapers to restore the shape of shafts and boot trees to restore the shape of the foot.

Mens boot tree from Tecovas

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

What you need to do is to put them inside cowboy boots and let them do the rest.

Boot trees and boot shapers will help prevent the leather of cowboy boots from shrinking and wrinkling, thereby making them look newer and more beautiful.

Method 5: Improve water resistance of cowboy boots

Many cowboy boots are water resistant for the first 1 to 2 years of use. However, that feature will gradually decrease until your feet are easily soaked and frozen from just a little rain.

My advice is to use mink oil, heavy cream, waterproof spray or leather conditioner that can restore and enhance the water resistance of cowboy boots.

If you need detailed instructions on how to effectively waterproof your cowboy boots, this is a great gift for you!

This is an important note for you.

Method 6: Change the insoles

FORM cushioned insole 2

Image copyright FORM Company | #CommissionEarned | Click image for more info

I believe that after a long time of use, the insole of cowboy boots is the part that is most susceptible to degradation. Because they have to bear your full weight.

The fact that the insoles are no longer effective will make you feel uncomfortable and painful when wearing boots for a long time.

Let’s change them! New insoles will support and comfort the soles of your feet.

In addition, new insoles refresh your cowboy boots and bring no smell. No matter how careful you are, the old insoles always have an indescribable smell.

Method 8: Get rid of the bad smell

I bet a lot of people reading this are too lazy to clean their cowboy boots, that’s not good! Especially after using them for a long time!

Cowboy boots if not cleaned regularly will lead to an indescribable odor.

But if you missed this process, you can find a way to cure the scent of cowboy boots by using shoe odor spray, household powder, leather cleaner, air purifying bags, tea or coffee grounds, or cedar boot shaper or boot trees…

The products I have just listed can effectively remove unpleasant odors and bring back the scent of cowboy boots. Don’t forget to check out the detailed guide here!

Method 9: Get scuff of cowboy boots

Scuff is the main reason your cowboy boots look shabby! Let’s get rid of them and bring back the sharp look of your cowboy boots like in the first days.

This usually happens when your cowboy boots lack moisture or bear heavy work for a long time, etc. It’s okay, we can improve that

There are many methods to solve the scuff such as using shoe polish, leather conditioner, leather heavy filler, vaseline/petroleum filler, dye, etc.

Luckily, I have a very detailed guide on how to get scuffs of cowboy boots here!

Method 10: Make your cowboy boots softer

Over time, your cowboy boots can be harder without proper care (such as moisturizing). Trust me, it’s not good – It will make you very uncomfortable as it can rub your calves and cause blisters.

Don’t worry, we have many methods to make cowboy boots softer such as steaming inside cowboy boots, using lotion, leather oil, alcohol, etc.


I like using leather conditioners to restore the softness of dry cowboy boots. Just clean your boots, then apply leather conditioner. Leather conditioner will provide adequate moisture to restore the softness of cowboy boots.

How do you make cowboy boots look new again?

Three simple steps to make cowboy boots look new again: clean cowboy boots, condition cowboy boots and polish cowboy boots!

These are the 3 most basic and important steps to make an old cowboy boot look new.

Condition and polish boots are very important, these two steps will determine everything.

Conditioning and polishing cowboy boots regularly will retain the new look of cowboy boots, restore the original color of boots and keep them soft.

Besides, to regain the new look of cowboy boots, you can dye them. This way, your cowboy boots are shiny and get a new color.

Dyeing cowboy boots will get you a whole new pair of boots without having to spend hundreds of dollars to buy a new cowboy boot.

Each method has its own advantages. If your cowboy boots are not too old, the method of cleaning, conditioning and polishing will be effective.

But if they have been in use for too long, let’s dye them for a whole new experience.

Remember that preserving cowboy boots is also important. Keep them in a cool, dry place and avoid moldy places.

If it’s a suede cowboy boot, store it in a well-ventilated place because suede cowboy boots need to breathe to be soft.

Besides, you can keep them in shape with a boot shaper.

Read more: How to care for cowboy boots

What household items can restore leather boots?

We won’t encourage you to use household items to restore cowboy boots, it will reduce the quality of boots in the long run.

However, in case you don’t have specialized products to restore cowboy boots (conditioner, wax polish, leather cleaner …), you can use some of the following household items instead.

However, don’t overdo them!

Use olive oil

Olive oil can shine your cowboy boots. If you’re in a hurry and don’t have wax polish, apply a little olive oil on cowboy boots with a soft cloth, so your cowboy boots are bright enough for a meeting.

Use Vaseline

Similar to olive oil, you can totally use Vaseline to shine cowboy boots.

Simply rub Vaseline on a soft cloth and rub it evenly on the surface of cowboy boots, then you have shiny cowboy boots.

Use lotion

Your cowboy boots are dry and hard, use a bit of lotion to rub them all over their surface.

The lotion will make leather boots soft and more comfortable.

Use household powder

The boots are often very susceptible to moisture due to many factors such as sweat, rain, snow, etc.

Such factors affect the color of cowboy boots, making your boots uncomfortable and easy to emit annoying squeaks.

That’s when you need household powder (Cornstarch, Baby Powder or Talcum Powder).

Putting some household powder into cowboy boots will help absorb moisture and make cowboy boots more comfortable, like the first good days.

Use vinegar

Mix vinegar and water in a 1:1 ratio and apply to a cloth.

Then use a cloth to wipe around the cowboy boots. This way restores the softness of leather boots and makes them cleaner.

Then use a dry towel to keep the cowboy boots dry, making sure there is no excess of the vinegar-water mixture.

Potatoes, non-sugar fresh milk and lemon juice

Leather cowboy boots after long-term use can be hard. To solve this, cut half the potato and rub it on the leather boot surface.

Or you can mix a little fresh milk (no sugar) and lemon juice, then put in a soft cloth, and rub gently on the leather.

These 2 ways help your cowboy boots become softer.

Steam inside cowboy boots

Another way to restore the softness of cowboy boots at home is to use steam.

Take advantage of the steam from your kettle and steam inside cowboy boots, this will make cowboy boots soft and lovely.


There are many ways to recover cowboy boots. Among them, 3 steps to clean, condition and polish cowboy boots are the most effective ways to make cowboy boots shiny and regain their original color.

When using cowboy boots for a long time and you suddenly feel they are not comfortable anymore, it seems that you need to resole cowboy boots to restore the original comfort.

If cowboy boots are too old and almost discolored, let’s pick a dyeing method. This way helps a lot to restore the color of cowboy boots. You will have a new pair of shoes.

Besides, if you’re too lazy to go out to buy specialized equipment, you can use the items available in the house to restore cowboy boots, but remember, do not abuse them.

Good luck!