How To Care For Leather Cowboy Boots? (Easy Steps)

Yeehaw, cowboy! Whether you’re a seasoned rider or love the style, there’s nothing quite like a pair of leather cowboy boots to make you feel like you can conquer the Wild West. Like any other valuable possession, leather cowboy boots require proper maintenance to stay in top shape.

Worn-out boots can ruin the entire look and feel of your cowboy attire. Therefore, learning how to care for your cowboy boots to maintain their pristine condition is crucial. So, if you want to keep your boots looking as good as the day you bought them, it’s time to saddle up and learn how to care for leather cowboy boots.

This blog post will show you everything you need to know, from cleaning and conditioning to storing and protecting your cowboy boots. So, grab your cowboy boots and get ready to become a true cowboy boot care expert!

How To Care For Leather Cowboy Boots?

how to care for leather cowboy boots

When taking care of your leather cowboy boots, it’s important to follow a proper care routine to ensure they stay in good condition. The four key steps to caring for your boots are cleaning, conditioning, waterproofing, and polishing.

Cleaning your boots with a horsehair brush and rag will remove dirt and restore their luster, while conditioning with natural oil or wax will keep them moisturized and pliable. Waterproofing products can protect your cowboy boots from moisture, and polishing will give them a nice shine.

Also read: How to paint cowboy boots?

1. How To Clean Leather Cowboy Boots? (Simple Steps)

Cleaning leather cowboy boots is essential in ensuring they last for a long time. Not only does regular cleaning help to remove dirt and grime, but it also helps to restore the natural oils in the leather, making the boots supple and flexible.

You will need a horsehair brush, an old rag, and some leather balm or conditioner to clean your boots. It’s important to avoid using water, as it can dry out the leather and cause it to crack.

Instead, use the horsehair brush to remove any dirt or debris, and then apply the conditioner or balm, making sure to rub it into the seams and edges of the welt and sole. Try using a leather cleaner or specialized stain remover for stubborn stains or scuffs.

Follow the below simple steps to clean your cowboy boots:

  1. Begin by removing any excess dirt or debris from the surface of your boots using a horsehair brush. Make sure to get into all the nooks and crannies, including the seams and edges of the welt and sole.
  2. You can use a leather cleaner or specialized stain remover if the boots have any stubborn stains or scuffs. Apply a small amount of the cleaner or remover to a clean, dry rag, and gently rub the affected area until the stain or scuff is removed.
  3. Once you’ve removed all the dirt and stains, it’s time to condition the leather. Apply a small amount of leather balm or conditioner to a clean, dry rag, and rub it into the surface of the boots, paying special attention to the seams and edges of the welt and sole.
  4. Allow the conditioner to dry completely before wearing your boots. If you’re in a hurry, you can speed up the drying process by using a hairdryer on the lowest setting, but keep the dryer at least 6 inches away from the leather to avoid overheating.
  5. Finally, store your cowboy boots in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight. This will help to prevent the leather from drying out and cracking over time.

2. Condition Your Cowboy Boots to prevent Drying and Cracking:

Conditioning is essential in caring for your leather cowboy boots, as it helps maintain their suppleness and prevent them from drying out and cracking. Several types of leather conditioners are available, including creams, oils, and balms.

When choosing a conditioner, look for one specifically designed for leather boots, and avoid silicone-based products that can cause damage to the leather over time. To apply the conditioner, use a clean cloth or sponge to spread a small amount over the entire surface of the boot, making sure to work it into the seams and crevices.

Let the conditioner sit for a few minutes before wiping any excess with a clean cloth. Depending on how often you wear your cowboy boots, you should condition them every three to four months with normal use and more frequently if you wear them hard or live in a dry climate.

Also read: How to wear a boot knife with cowboy boots?

3. Waterproof Your Leather Cowboy Boots:

Keeping your leather cowboy boots dry is essential for their longevity and performance. Even if your cowboy boots are advertised as waterproof, they must be treated regularly to maintain their waterproof capabilities.

Waterproofing protects the leather from moisture, which can cause it to become stiff, crack, and even mold. Different types of waterproofing products are available, including sprays, waxes, and creams.

Some products are specifically designed for leather, while others can be used on various materials. When applying waterproofing products to your cowboy boots, make sure they are clean and dry before applying.

Follow the instructions on the product carefully and apply evenly to the entire boot, paying extra attention to the seams and stitching. Remember to reapply the waterproofing product every few months or after exposure to wet conditions.

4. Polish Your Cowboy Boots To Extent Their Lifespan:

Polishing your leather cowboy boots is important to keep them looking sharp and extend their lifespan. Polishing can protect your boots from scratches, scuffs, and moisture damage. There are several types of polishes available, including cream polishes, wax polishes, and liquid polishes.

Cream polishes are ideal for conditioning and restoring the leather’s color, while wax polishes can provide extra shine and protection. Liquid polishes are quick and easy to use but only provide as much protection as cream and wax polishes.

To apply polish to cowboy boots, start by removing any dirt or dust from the surface of the boots with a brush. Apply a small polish evenly with a cloth or applicator brush, working it into the leather.

Allow the polish to dry for a few minutes before buffing the boots with a soft cloth or brush to achieve a shine. It would help to polish your boots regularly, depending on how often you wear them, to keep them looking their best.

5. Store Your Cowboy Boots in a Cool and Dry Place:

When storing your cowboy boots, keeping them in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight, heat, and humidity is important.

Avoid storing them in plastic bags or containers, as this can cause the leather to dry and crack. Instead, use breathable materials like cotton or shoe bags to protect your boots from dust and dirt.

To maintain their shape, fill your cowboy boots with acid-free tissue paper or boot trees when storing them. This will prevent them from collapsing or developing creases over time. Another tip is to alternate the pairs of boots you wear so that they can rest and dry out before being worn again.

For long-term storage, it’s recommended to condition and clean your cowboy boots thoroughly before storing them. Apply a leather conditioner or balm to the boots to keep them soft and supple, and apply a waterproofing spray to protect them from moisture damage. Store them in their original box or on a shoe rack in a dark, cool closet or storage room.


In conclusion, caring for your leather cowboy boots is not only necessary to keep them looking great, but it also helps to extend their lifespan. By following the tips and techniques outlined in this article, you can ensure that your boots stay in excellent condition for years.

However, beyond the practical benefits of maintaining your cowboy boots, owning a pair of well-cared-for cowboy boots is also something inherently special. Each scratch and scuff tells a story, and the unique patina that develops over time is a testament to the cowboy boots’ history and the memories made while wearing them.

So, while taking care of your cowboy boots may seem like a chore, remember that it is also an act of preserving a piece of your personal history. So, take pride in your boots; they will continue serving you well on all your cowboy adventures.


How often should I clean my cowboy boots?

It depends on how often you wear them and how dirty they get. You should brush your boots after each wear and give them a deep clean every few months or as needed. If you notice any stains or scuffs, it’s best to clean them off as soon as possible to prevent them from setting in.

Can I use regular shoe polish on my cowboy boots?

It would help if you used a polish specifically designed for leather cowboy boots. Regular shoe polish may not be formulated for the unique needs of cowboy boot leather and could damage the leather or affect the color.

Can I wear my cowboy boots in the rain?

While leather cowboy boots can withstand some moisture, it’s best to avoid wearing them in heavy rain or snow. Water can damage the leather and cause it to crack or warp. If you get caught in the rain, dry your boots thoroughly before storing them.

How do I remove stubborn stains from my cowboy boots?

You can use a leather cleaner or conditioner with some elbow grease for tough stains. Try rubbing a bit of cornstarch into the stain and letting it sit for a few hours before brushing it off. If the stain persists, take your boots to a professional cobbler for cleaning.

What should I do if my cowboy boots start to smell?

If your boots develop an unpleasant odor, try sprinkling a bit of baking soda inside and letting it sit for a few hours before brushing it out. You can also place a few dryer sheets inside your boots overnight. If the smell persists, replace your insoles or take your boots to a professional for cleaning.

My name is Brandon J. Nava, and I consider myself an expert on the cowboy lifestyle. I regularly attend events at the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA) am I am a member of the American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA) and Certified Horsemanship Association (CHA). I've participated in the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo or the Pendleton Round-Up and I aspire to be awarded by the American Horse Council or the United States Equestrian Federation in the near future. In addition I've visited lectures and educational programs at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum.