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Why Must You Condition Cowboy Boots?

Why Must You Condition Cowboy Boots?

There are many people who don’t really understand why cowboy boots need to be conditioned. Well, in fact, this is not something you should do, but you must do it.

For cowboy boots made from full-grain leather or smooth leather, conditioning them is an essential step to ensure the quality of the boots.

Conditioning cowboy boots not only helps them have better color but also ensures they are well-protected, making them more comfortable and last longer.

Today’s article will talk about conditioning cowboy boots, why you need to do it, and what you should note.

Sounds okay?

Key takeaways

  • Conditioning cowboy boots periodically can ensure they have proper moisture. Your boots can always stay soft, comfortable and durable.
  • Using leather conditioners will ensure cowboy boots are nourished from the inside. The conditioner provides more oil and wax to the leather, compensating for moisture loss during use. Therefore, cowboy boots will be more supple.
  • Some conditioners or oils help protect cowboy boots against external agents. Like mink oil can make cowboy boots water resistant.
  • Conditioning cowboy boots make them retain their original color for longer. It helps restore both their look and feel.
  • Note that some leather conditioners may darken your cowboy boots (please test a small amount before using).
  • You need to clean cowboy boots before applying leather conditioner.
  • Leather conditioner may not be suitable for suede, rough-out leather, or nubuck.
  • Each type of leather will need a different periodic condition, you can see more here!

polishing cowboy boots

Why Must You Condition Cowboy Boots and What Should You Note?

Cowboy boots today are very diverse in types. They have different heel structures, toe shapes, and heights. But no matter what, all the boots have in common that they are made from 100% leather.

Among them, full-grain leather is the most popular! This is a high-quality material that retains the most natural properties. With a lot of natural oils and waxes in the structure, it is very soft, durable, and extremely comfortable.

However, those natural oils and waxes tend to fade over time due to many environmental factors as well as the process of cleaning them. That causes full-grain leather boots to become dry, cracked, wrinkled, and less comfortable.

dry leather cowboy boots

And this is where leather conditioner comes into play! The characteristic of leather conditioners is that they provide extra moisture needed for cowboy boots. Therefore, the boots retain (or restore) the necessary softness, avoiding drying out, cracks or losing shape.

Conditioners are especially important for old cowboy boots, they make the color of the boots richer, clearer and shinier.

Not to mention, some people also use a leather conditioner to aid in the break-in boot process. Conditioners make the boot softer and allow them to mold the feet and complete the break-in faster.

Leather Care Kit includes Leather Cleaner and Conditioner with Cloth from Tecovas

Leather Cleaner and Conditioner | Image copyright Tecovas Boot Company | #CommissionEarned | Click image for more info

In the world of cowboy boots, conditioning boots is just as important as cleaning them, it’s almost a must.

Therefore, you should always have a leather conditioner ready next to the leather cleaner.

In fact, after every process of cleaning boots, whether with leather cleaner or saddle soap, or just water, your boots still lose some natural oils and waxes, so people often have to condition boots to restore these natural properties.

Moreover, while it’s good to use conditioner on cowboy boots, there are still some caveats. Here are a few things to keep in mind.

Some notes when conditioning cowboy boots

There are quite a few people complaining about cowboy boots being darkened after using leather conditioners. And I confirm this to be true. In addition to conditioner, some oils such as mink oil can also darken your boots.

However, you should know that not all leather conditioners cause this, though, and some products like Bickmore’s do not.

If you’re buying online, the best thing you can do is call the manufacturer to ask directly, or read reviews from previous customers.

Also, before actually applying a large amount of conditioner, test a small amount to see the results.

To ensure the leather conditioner can work at its best and penetrate deeply into the boots, you need to clean them first.

Also, when applying conditioner, buff the surface of cowboy boots thoroughly and make sure you reach every nook and cranny of them.

We have a pretty thorough article on how to condition boots and have some product recommendations here! You should check it out.

Clean, dry and condition cowboy boots

You should remember that leather conditioners are mostly used for smooth leather, not suede, nubuck or rough-out leather.

Suede, nubuck or rough-out leather have been changed quite a lot after processing, so they are usually durable, and soft, but quite dry.

To give the best care for these leathers, let’s clean them with a suede cleaner and a suede brush. They will make the fluff on their surface soft and smooth.

Tecovas suede cleaner, brush and eraser

Suede Cleaner, Brush and Eraser | Image copyright Tecovas Boot Company | #CommissionEarned | Click image for more info

There are still a number of conditioners made specifically for suede, nubuck, or rough-out leather and you can use them if you want. They also have the same effects as mentioned above, but the problem is they are quite difficult to find.

Man wear Tecovas suede boots and are sitting on the chair

The Johnny Suede Cowboy Boots | Image copyright Tecovas Boot Company | #CommissionEarned

Some leather conditioners can leave a residue if you don’t buff them thoroughly. So try to scrub the surface thoroughly with a soft cloth or horsehair brush (or suede brush).

This will ensure that the leather conditioner penetrates deeply and spreads evenly over the surface of cowboy boots, and leaves no residue!

Cowboy Boot Suede Leather Cleaning

Ostrich leather will need to be conditioned every 2 to 3 months. Meanwhile, every 6 months will be the number for cowhide leather.

The problem here is, each type of leather will have different periods of time for conditioning. As lizard boots are more prone to drying and cracking than cowhide, they need to be conditioned more often.

You should study the characteristics of each type of leather carefully to make the right decisions about when to condition your boots.

Luckily, we have a very thorough article here! 

Before you leave

In general, while cowboy boots are very durable for a very long time, they still show signs of wear and tear over time if not well-cared, or not periodically conditioned.

You must condition cowboy boots, no matter what kind of leather it is, goat or cowhide or exotic.

Just make sure your cowboy boots are clean, dry, and well-moisturized. Your boots will be a worthy investment as they can last for more than 15 years.

Good luck!