Guide: Take care of your boots, and they'll take care of you.
While we build our boots to be as durable as possible, something that's missed often, is the importance of regular care for high quality leather.
This particular journal post is to help support and educate on the different available leather care, conditioning, and protecting products we stand behind here at Viberg MFG.
Our Viberg heavy duty leather preservative is a perfect place to start. Applying this to your boots regularly will help preserve and protect the leather, without over softening. Natural oils are suspended in beeswax, which allows them to be released gradually. Viberg preservative also contains Propolis, which creates a barrier against chemicals and helps waterproof the leather, but still allows the leather to breathe.
Beginning this routine as soon as you have a new pair of boots is ideal, as once the leather grain begins to crack or 'separate', theres no way to fully repair it.
Huberd's Shoe Grease is another option for a similar effect, although it is quite heavier. This product contains pine tar, and has a dark oily texture to it.
Some may prefer to use Venetian cream, or Castile soap on their boots for conditioning, but it has minimal protection qualities compared to Viberg or Huberd's products.
Neatsfoot Oil Compound is a leather conditioner from animal by-product that helps soften the leather intentionally, some people use Neatsfoot to help expedite the 'breaking in' period of their new boots, but it offers very minimal protection. Be warned, over use of Neatsfoot will damage and darken the leather.
Sno-Seal and Bee Seal are a few other examples of beeswax based and natural oil preservative and protectant options for leather, they offer great protection against wet weather, as long as the care routine is adhered to.
Silicone water-guard spray is a quick way to completely cover your boot, and a great way to apply waterproofing if your boot has multiple materials, such as nylon, between leather panels.
Before anything else, make sure to give your boot a healthy wash, something that should be done anyway on a regular basis. If you work with Cement or in a paving industry, your boots should have a decent rinse almost every day, if possible, as the silica build up is extremely damaging to leather.
The mantra of leather preservative: "Less is more!"
We get it: you have some beautiful boots, you want them to last as long as possible and be protected, but keep your foot off the gas pedal just a bit!
Over conditioning is a very common mistake, and can speed up the process of leather degrading. Remember, we can always add a bit more, but there's no going back once the leather grain begins to separate and soften.
Start with a quarter sized amount of your chosen preservative, and begin to massage into the leather evenly with a clean cloth, or a rubber glove if you prefer.
When you've applied an even layer to the entire boot, allow the leather to dry naturally overnight. Absolutely do not put your boots in an oven or a similar contraption.
If time is an unavoidable factor, you can use a hairdryer on a very low setting, or turn to the PeetDryer to slowly dry your boots overnight.