Leather boots are one of the most durable types of footwear, but that doesn’t make them immune to life’s daily wear and tear. As leather ages, it has a tendency to start drying out, creating cracks in the material which can eventually lead to unsightly peeling.
It’s a dismaying feeling when your favorite pair of leather boots begins to crack, but don’t start budgeting for a replacement pair just yet! With the right tools, there’s a good chance you’ll be able to repair your boots and have them looking very nearly good as new.
Read on for a step-by-step guide to repairing cracked leather boots so you can keep your favorite shoes looking great and save yourself some money along the way!
Step 1: Clean Your Boots
Before you do anything in the way of repairing your cracked leather boots, you will need to clean them thoroughly.
This step is crucial as conducting the repair procedure on dirty or dusty boots will reduce the effectiveness of your work and may result in you having to repeat the process, so it’s important not to skip this step in an effort to save time.
To clean your boots, remove any laces first. Then, take a gentle brush or cloth and use a small amount of water and leather cleaning or saddle soap to lift any dirt from the leather, including from between any cracks.
Step 2: Dry Your Boots
Once any dirt has been cleaned away, you’ll need to dry your boots before you can proceed to the repair process.
You can either leave your boots to air dry or use a cloth, depending on any time constraints you’re working around. However, heat drying is not recommended as it may cause increased dryness in the leather, leading to further cracking and damage, thus undoing your hard work.
Step 3: Moisturize
The third step to repairing your cracked leather boots, once they’ve been thoroughly cleaned and dried, is to moisturize the leather.
Moisturizing is an important step because it helps to counteract the dryness which has caused the leather to crack in the first place.
Before you get to work repairing the cracks, it’s a good idea to put something into the boots, like polystyrene shoe lasts or even just a pair of rolled-up socks, to help it keep the boots retain their shape during the process. This way, the quality of your repairs won’t be affected by any distortion of the leather. This will also help to absorb any product leakage through the surface of the leather.
The best moisturizer for leather boots is either mink oil or neatsfoot oil, so either of these products should produce good quality results. Alternatively, specially formulated leather oils are also widely available on the market, although these may cost you a little more.
To apply the moisturizer, simply use a cloth to gently work the oil into the leather. You can also use your fingers or the back of a spoon for this step. You should notice a reduction in the severity of the cracks from moisturizing alone.
Step 4: Apply a Filling Compound
This step will help to repair the deeper, more severe cracks in the leather that cannot be reduced simply through moisturizing.
Leather filling compounds are easy to purchase online and will effectively fill in the remaining cracks in your leather boots. However, as filling compounds are manufactured in a variety of different colors, you will need to make sure that the filling compound you are using matches the color of your boots well enough to avoid drawing attention to the repaired areas.
Use a sponge to apply the compound and leave it to dry (drying time will vary between brands to be sure to check the product instructions) before evening out the result with light, minimally abrasive sandpaper.
For extremely deep cracks, a palette knife or similar instrument may be required and the drying process is likely to be lengthened, so bear this in mind if your boots are severely cracked.
Step 5: Condition
Once your boots are fully repaired, the final step is to condition them with a leather conditioner or polish. This is the finishing touch to restore your leather boots to their former glory.
Again, you will need to ensure that the conditioner or polish you are using is a color match for your footwear.
Simply use a cloth to gently apply a coat of your conditioner or polish to your boots. This will nourish the leather and should help to prevent any further cracking or damage. It will also add an even coat of color to your boots, evening out any noticeable color difference between the repaired cracks and the rest of the leather.
All in all, repairing cracks in your leather boots is a simple procedure that you can do yourself at home by following the above steps. You may need to invest in some speciality products to get optimal results, but compared with the price of a new pair of boots, these expenses are definitely worth it! Just make sure to ‘spot-test’ any new product you might be using to check for discoloration or other undesired effects before applying more generous quantities to your boots.
To keep your leather boots looking great from here on out, avoid rain and intense sun exposure in the future, and consider storing your boots in a box or storage bag when not in use. It is also a good idea to store your boots in an area which is neither too low or high in humidity. These measures will help to minimize contact damage from other shoes or items in storage and protect against excess moisture, mold, or mildew, reducing the risk of any further compromise to the quality of your leather.
Now that you know how to repair cracked leather boots, you’ll be able to save on footwear expenses in the future and keep wearing your favorite pair of boots for months and years to come!