When you make a large investment like purchasing a new pair of Western boots, you want to make sure that they last for years to come. This means not only taking the proper steps to care for your boots, it also means avoiding anything that could cause damage to the leather without you knowing it. Here are just a few ways that you could be damaging your leather boots — without even realizing it.

  • Letting your boots get wet. While leather boots are made to protect your feet from the elements, they aren’t made to be completely soaked in water. If your boots get too wet, they could shrink or become misshapen, and it could even cause damage to the leather’s color. Because of these things, you’ll want to wear rubber boots or other shoes on days of heavy rain. 

  • Storing your boots improperly. Even if you always store your boots inside, they may not be completely protected. Leather becomes damaged and dries out if it gathers too much dust, so make sure that you store any unworn boots in their respective boot bags or boxes.
  • Cleaning your boots too often. While any leather expert will tell you to regularly clean and oil your boots, too much of a good thing is bad for the leather. Because leather is so porous it quickly absorbs anything that you put on it, which means that it can become oversaturated with cleaning products very quickly. To avoid this problem, only clean and polish your boots when they’re looking a bit dull. 

  • Forgetting to condition your boots. Even if you clean your boots frequently, without conditioning, they won’t last as long as they should. Make sure that you keep the leather soft and supple using a leather conditioner designed specifically for your boots’ color and style. This will prevent cracking, drying out, fading and other common leather problems.