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    How to care for your leather riding boots

    ArticleHow to - Tack and EquipmentWednesday 12 May 2010
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    No one wants to invest heavily in a delightful pair of boots just for them to become worn and tatty after a few months. There are a number of ways in which you will want to keep your boots clean and well maintained so that they last you a long period of time and you get your money’s worth. 

    Abbey are experts when it comes to leather care; they have been supplying quality leather to saddlers and other equestrian manufacturers since 1982. With the competition season approaching many of us will be investing in new riding boots.  
     
    Abbey’s guide to caring for leather riding boots 
    When investing in an expensive pair of riding boots make sure you are prepared to care for the leather to ensure your boots last as long as possible and remain in good condition.
     
    Without proper conditioning and care, leather can dry out until it eventually cracks and falls apart. To protect and care for leather boots there are four steps you will need to follow: 
     
    1.    Clean 
    2.    Condition 
    3.    Polish 
    4.    Preserve or Weatherproof
     
    Caring for smooth leather boots and is completely different to caring for suede or nubuck, etc. This guide pertains to caring for smooth leather shoes/boots, such as full grain leather riding boots. 
     
    Before you begin make sure all products you purchase are recommended for smooth leather riding boots and follow instructions carefully. Protect your clothing, wear gloves, work on top of newspaper and work in a well-ventilated area. 


     
    Step one – Clean
    Use a soft shoe brush which won’t scratch the leather and some warm water to remove dirt from the surface of the boots. You may like to use leather cleaner for better result; many types are available including gels, foams, sprays, liquids and creams. 
     
    After cleaning, let the boots dry for a few minutes and begin shining the boots with a soft cotton cloth - either a shoe shine cloth, or even an old t-shirt, as long as it's soft and made of cotton. 
     
    Step two – Condition
    Some products on the market clean AND condition but if you have used a product which cleans only you will need to condition the leather to help soften and moisturize. This will protect leather from drying out and cracking. 
     
    Using a clean sponge or cloth to apply, rub small amounts of conditioner into the leather, until the entire boot has been covered. After a couple of minutes, wipe any remaining conditioner off of the shoes, as the leather will only absorb what it can.
     
    Step three - Polish
    Certain polishes contain toxic chemicals that can be absorbed through the skin and or inhaled so always put gloves on before using shoe polish and work in a well-ventilated area.
     
    Apply the polish to a small, less conspicuous area of your boots to test and be sure the colour is right before you apply to the whole boot. Rub the polish into the boots with a soft cloth, and allow it to dry thoroughly. 
     
    After the polish is dry, shine by buffing with a soft cloth or brush made specifically for shining shoes.
     
    Step four – Preserve or weatherproof
    Weatherproofing your leather boots will help to protect them from water and other elements that can ruin the finish and shorten the life of your boots. 
     
    Different weatherproofing products serve different purposes, so you should choose wisely. For example, some products leave a build-up and can alter the appearance of the leather.
     
    When appearance is important a spray proofer is ideal, by providing a breathable barrier against wet conditions and dirt, this type of weatherproofing product is virtually invisible on your boots.
     
     
    Abbey’s top tips for leather boot care
     
    • If your leather boots have a lot of old polish build-up, you may want to use a pre-cleaner. 
    • Remember to keep all shoe polish out of reach of children and animals.
    • Certain types of leather, and boots worn in dryer climates might need to be conditioned more often.
    • Don't try to use polish to change the colour of your leather. If you need your boot colour changed, consult a shoe repair shop. 
    • If possible condition new leather boots before you wear them. This will help to ensure that your boots are best protected from the start, and will save time on future cleanings. 
     
    So, there you have it, a cracking information piece that will no doubt help you keep your boots clean and healthy for a long time! Lovely.

     

    *Material supplied courtesy of the Horsemart National magazine, May 2010 – available at all good stockists nationwide.

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