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The Ultimate Care Guide For Your Boots

Clean and well cared for boots should be a staple item in every man’s wardrobe. They're also a good way to level up your casual style. We bet that the majority of your footwear collection is either leather or suede and they're excellent choices.

Quality boots aren’t cheap and by taking good care of them with regular cleaning and conditioning you can potentially add years to their life. 

So, unlace those boots, and let’s show them some love.

Caring for our Drover Boots

To begin this process, you want to remove your laces. It makes it easier to clean hard-to-reach areas such as the tongue. If your laces are particularly grubby you can either wash them or replace them.  

Next, you want to clean your boots. Ideally, you should give them a light buff after every use to prevent a build-up of loose dirt and salt particles which can damage the leather over time. Use a soft brush to remove any dust or dirt or an old toothbrush to reach into the seams.

A Clean Slate

If your boots are stained or caked in mud it’s a good idea to wash them. If the leather is unfinished, use saddle soap for a deeper, more effective clean. 

Use a damp rag and rub the surface of the saddle soap in a circular motion to create a light lather and rub the suds on the outer surface of the boots. If the leather has a finish, use a mild soap and a damp cloth to clean the surface of the shoe. Rinse and allow them to air dry for 10 minutes.

A New Lease of Life

When leather’s natural moisture escapes due to dry conditions, the interweave will start to weaken and cracks will form. Once the leather cracks there is no way to repair them so preventing damage is key. 

Ensure your shoes are dry before polishing your boots. You want to avoid using liquid polish applicators as these can potentially damage the surface of high-quality leathers and often create a lacquer that is hard to remove. 

Take on old cloth and work the polish into every corner and seam of the boot. It will take some time but it’s worth the trouble. 

Then apply some conditioner to treat the leather. Apply your leather conditioner or balm and with an applicator brush buff it into the boot being sure not to avoid the tongue. Allow a few hours to dry.

Are you storing your boots correctly?

Storing your boots correctly can play a huge role in how long they last. It’s likely they will get wet, especially if you live in the UK, never be tempted to place them on a radiator! Simply stuff them with newspaper overnight and let them dry naturally. 

You should also invest in some shoe trees. Cedar shoe trees are the best option for a few key reasons: they smell fantastic, they fill out your boots and keep the toe evenly shaped, they repel pests, and they absorb moisture that can deform leather. They also add that rustic charm to your boot equipment collection. 

If you follow this guide your boots will have a new lease of life and be in your wardrobe for years to come.  

Phil's Favourite

Huberd’s Shoe Grease

This is our time-tested recommended product that will offer protection and preservation of your leather boots with an easily penetrating formula that contains beeswax. It extends the life of leather, keeps it soft and restores dry leather to its natural condition.

Caring for our Virgil Boots

It’s a common thought that suede shoes are notoriously difficult to keep looking fresh. We’ve found this isn’t the case as long as you care for them properly and protect your suede shoes to ensure they remain in great condition for many more years of wear.

Stripping Them Back

Just like our leather boots, damage can come from mud, rain or scuff marks. Suede Shoes are more susceptible to damage just like any other raw material but knowing how to clean suede is essential to keeping them in a good condition. Investing in a quality suede brush is our number one tip. Ensuring your shoes are completely dry, use your suede brush to gently brush away the dirt and grime in small motions with a light hand. If necessary, brush against the nap of the suede but always finish brushing in the direction of the natural grain to maintain its smooth finish.

A Clean Slate 

If brushing and spot-cleaning your suede boots haven’t worked, the next step is to use a specialised suede cleaner. It works like a shampoo to remove any tough stains. We recommend you test your Suede Cleaner first on a small section of the material before applying it all over the boot. 

Once your boots have been brushed, damp them slightly with a cloth before spraying on your cleaner. Gently rub the product into your shoes and wipe it down again with a cloth. Remember, whatever your method of cleaning, never heat your suede shoes, as this will damage the material. Always allow them to dry naturally and brush the suede down to keep them looking smooth.

Preventing Future Damage  

There are several ways you can protect your Suede boots from future damage. A Suede Protector is one of them. A waterproof protective spray is ideal to use before wearing them outside. This will act as a barrier against rain, puddle splashes and mud, will help prevent the colour from fading and reduce the chances of staining.

We also recommend avoiding wearing them on wet days. Although Suede has that Autumn aesthetic, the easiest way to protect them is to only wear them on the cold, crisp days - not trenching through puddles and snow! 


Our final tip is to use shoe trees. As soon as you take your shoes off, place shoe trees snugly inside them to help maintain their shape and prevent the suede wrinkling. Wooden shoe trees made from cedar will also help to eliminate odour from perspiration and soak up any residual moisture in the suede. 

&SONS Virgil Desert Boot


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