What do you do when you go a little too hard on your favorite boots? Can you bring them back to life, and how often should the leather be cleaned and conditioned?
We have been breaking in our Chippewa Service Boots for nearly a year now (on the left), and recently gave the boots their 5th oiling. In the background is an unlaced, brand new pair of Service boots, and on the right is a pair of our friend's daily wears, recently back from a construction job.
While synthetics, mink oil, saddle soap, chelsea leather balm, and neatsfoot oil will all do the trick, we have been faithfully applying our very own Boot Balm because of the waterproofing shell that the beeswax creates while preventing the darkening effect of other formulas that have petroleum products and heavier ratios of synthetic or natural oils.
With the approach of fall and winter, it's important to regularly clean and occasionally oil your boots. Below is a quick overview of when and how to properly apply our Boot Balm.
The 6 month break in and gritty dirt accumulated on these boots merit an oiling, but first need a proper, gentle cleaning. Make sure to have a horsehair brush and two clean rags ready. For thorough prep, remove the laces from your boots and dampen one of the clean cloths.
After removing all of the surface dirt with the damp cloth (never a wet cloth.. dried and weathered leather can form stains if too much and uneven water is applied), allow the boot to dry. Be sure to remove all grit from the stitching along the welt of the boot (where the sole is attached to the shoe). If dirt and grit are not removed, the oil application will press the dirt into the stitching. This eventually erodes the fibers of the stitching, and over time will cause the sole to detach.
When both boots are clean, allow them to dry.
Apply ample amounts of the Boot Balm to your boot, allowing the wax to penetrate into scuff marks, the stitching, and creases. The natural oils in the beeswax based formula soften and rejuvenate the leather. All excess balm should be wiped away with the clean side of your cloth.
After applying your Boot Balm, be sure to brush rigorously from side to side along the length of the boot until a smooth, even sheen begins to form on the leather. There should not be any signs of residual balm, as excess will collect dirt and grit.
The image above shows two cleaned boots.. the one on the left has been waxed and brushed, while the one on the right is un-waxed. Apply Boot Balm whenever excessing scuffing or dry cracks appear.
We recommend using the balm on all of your leather goods. While synthetics are not harmful, the natural ingredients and centuries old recipe that we modified is formulated to be weather resistant and enhances the aging and longevity of your favorite goods. It's an adventurer's best friend.