Takin' care of boot...ness
December 11, 2012 10:31 AM   Subscribe

I own these Frye boots, now how do I take care of them?

I've read a bunch of guides on the internet with some overlapping but also conflicting information on how to care for leather boots. I have zero experience with taking care of leather because this is the first time I have Nice Boots that are meant to Last.

(I've also seen a number of other AskMe questions about leather boot maintenance, but the boots in question have all had a different consistency and gloss than these, from what I can tell.)
posted by griphus to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (10 answers total) 20 users marked this as a favorite
Frye's customer service is super helpful and if you call and talk to them I bet they will tell you exactly what to do for that specific item.

That said, I have never done anything special for any of my Frye leather boots. I think they look better being weathered with age. I live in the South, though, without snow and ice, so if you are planning on wearing them in all weather I'd give Frye a call.
posted by something something at 10:40 AM on December 11, 2012

I'm a believer in a waterproofing spray at the seams, and leather soap after stomping around in mud. These two tactics have kept my Fryes gorgeous for years. But I am watching this thread to find out what I don't know.
posted by bearwife at 10:48 AM on December 11, 2012

Follow the same advice I gave in this thread:

FYI, everything I learned, I learned from styleforum thread surfing. Those men can be dangerously great resources.
posted by oceanjesse at 11:00 AM on December 11, 2012

Someone's going to com in here and suggest Lexol. Don't use Lexol on dyed leather like that, it takes the color off. It's for saddlery, not shoes.

I, personally, would use shoe care products on boots like that. clean with warm water and a towel and use boot cream (for black boots) or polish.
posted by fshgrl at 11:00 AM on December 11, 2012

Oh and another thing:

Given your location, you really could and should find a trusty cobbler. At the very least, you could get plastic heel taps to reduce wear. You'll want to find a cobbler anyway so that you can color match on shoe cream.

I swear I saw a thread on here recently that linked to some NYC cobbler dude's instagram profile? Find that guy, he knew what he was doing.

Post pix!
posted by oceanjesse at 11:06 AM on December 11, 2012

I use leather honey on my leather boots. I also clean them off about once or every other week depending on wear. It helps to get them warm first so the wax melts better. It will darken the leather slightly so take that into consideration and test on a small spot.
posted by Marinara at 11:14 AM on December 11, 2012

Someone's going to com in here and suggest Lexol. Don't use Lexol on dyed leather like that, it takes the color off. It's for saddlery, not shoes.

I'd add that Obenauf's LP (another frequently-recommended product) probably wouldn't be helpful here. Obenauf's tends to "muddy" leather and make it hard to add a polish, and since half the fun of your boots is their sheen, you'd probably be better off avoiding it. I'd second fshgrl: just treat them well, with lots of shoe polish and regular cleaning.
posted by ZaphodB at 11:18 AM on December 11, 2012

Can't tell if those are full grain or not, so if those are made of a coated/pre-waxed leather this won't work so well, but YMMV.

I use a light leather moisturiser all over on my Docs (bought at any leather bag/coat retailer), let it soak in and then use an wax to rub all over, including seams and over rivets if I'm to be jumping through puddles. Wait a bit and then if there's excess afterwards you can wipe it off. Doc Martens Wonder Balsam is clear, mostly made of lanolin/beeswax/coconut oil and lasts forever - I'm using a pot bought ten years ago and there's still some left over. The moisturiser keeps the leather supple and the wax protects against rain and dirt. My Docs are still good twelve years later (with near daily wear), and the only place they've cracked is the very top edge of the boot where I always forget to treat. Everything else is still in top condition.

If your leather is pre-treated, styled or distressed, I don't know how much of that will soak in, so a weather-proofing spray might be more up your alley. Personally, when I tried spray on full-grain uncoated leather, it sort of sat on top and didn't really penetrate so while it helped with waterproofing, it didn't really keep the leather soft.

Nice boots!
posted by zennish at 11:18 AM on December 11, 2012

The first thing I'd do is take them to a shoe guy and get a topy/sole cover put on - maybe a more textured/winter boot one. Rich fellows like to talk about how leather feels best and sole covers ruin it, but leather wears through if you walk long distances and gets dinged up if you need to hop on your bike. Plus it's slippery on ice and vulnerable to salt. I put a moderately thin rugged-textured sole cover on everything except the very summeriest of cheap summer shoes, and it really helps. (Your classic fine-grained topy can be slippery too - that's why you should get the more robust kind.)

I live in the snowy, grit-and-salt-covered midwest. I rotate my boots - I mean, I don't wear the same pair day after day, especially when they get wet. Every other or every third day is the most often that I wear any given pair. This allows them to dry completely from foot sweat and water between wearings.

I should brush and wipe my boots down more assiduously than I do. I probably polish once every couple of weeks, using a wax polish on wintery boots. Ask your cobbler which he recommends. (I don't like Meltonian or Kiwi very much - too much build-up. My shoe guy recommends Collonil Waterstop Shoe Cream, which I have not used since I use a poncy French kind. You could use a thin layer of this and finish with wax.

Also, you should get a pair of wooden shoe trees - not the plastic ones, as these do not facilitate drying. IME, you don't need a pair of shoe trees for every pair of shoes, but you do need enough trees that you can let each pair dry thoroughly while treed - so I have about ten million pairs of shoes (mostly gently used via eBay) and probably five sets of shoe trees.

As you probably know, don't place your shoes near a radiator or other heat source to dry out.
posted by Frowner at 11:42 AM on December 11, 2012 [4 favorites]

Even more rugged than Topy are the Vibram lug half soles but they may compromise the look and make them look more like work boots.
posted by cazoo at 12:39 PM on December 11, 2012

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