Any owner of cowboy boots worth their salt knows that water is the ultimate enemy of cowboy boots, and come rainy season, it’s best to apply a waterproof treatment to your boots to prevent damage to the leather or suede.
There are many ways to waterproof cowboy boots and keep them in top condition and we’re going to show you the best ways and what products you’re going to need.
Mink Oil For Leather Cowboy Boots
Using mink oil is by far the most common and effective way to waterproof your cowboy boots. Mink oil is perfect for treating leather products and works particularly well on cowboy boots, allowing you to preserve your boots for longer and maintain a waterproof coating to the leather boot. It also softens the leather and prevents the material from being damaged by abrasions, dirt, and rugged outdoor use.
Which Mink Oil To Choose?
Mink oil is available in paste or a liquid form and both work equally well when waterproofing cowboy boots. A trusted brand of mink oil is Fiebing's Golden Mink Oil Paste which comes in a 6 oz. tin. It contains lanolin which softens the leather and also contains silicone which provides waterproofing to the leather.
Fiebing's Golden Mink Oil Paste
- Fiebing's Golden Mink Oil Leather Preserver is great for use on leather and vinyl items
- Golden Mink Oil softens, preserves, and waterproofs smooth leather and vinyl for outdoor use
- Helps prevent water, salt and perspiration stains
As well as this, Fiebing’s mink oil paste contains vitamin E which is important in protecting your cowboy boots from harmful UV rays. Vitamin E is a natural way to preserve the life of your cowboy boots, preventing the leather from cracks, fading, and discoloration that can be harmful to leather products.
It’s worth noting that mink oil is great for leather cowboy boots, however, it's not intended for use on suede boots as it will discolor or darken suede sections of the boot, similar to the appearance when suede becomes wet with water. We’ll look at the best way to waterproof suede cowboy boots later in this article.
First, let’s look at how you apply mink oil to cowboy boots. Mink oil in paste or liquid form is very easy to apply to cowboy boots and can be achieved in 3 simple steps, which should take less than an hour to apply and will transform your old, dry leather cowboy boots to their former glory and appear like new.
Clean The Dirt And Dust Off Your Cowboy Boots
First, you’ll need to thoroughly clean your boots using a leather cleaner and a cloth or small brush. A great option is the American-owned and produced Leather Honey Leather Cleaner which is odorless and chemical-free.
Dilute a small amount of the leather cleaner with water (check the product instructions as dilution may vary from product to product). Dip a clean cloth into the diluted cleaner and water mix and rub the leather areas of the boot to clean them. Pay particular attention to any cracked or creased lines in the leather boot.
Allow a few minutes for the leather to dry completely before moving on to step 2.
Leather Honey Leather Cleaner
- Our leather cleaner concentrate is a natural cleaner ideal for all your leather goods
- Quickly and gently removes dirt, oil, tough stains and grime from shoes
- Dilute the concentrate in 32 ounces of water and apply with a spray bottle or lint-free cloth
Apply Mink Oil To The Leather Surface
Once all the dirt and dust is removed, use a new clean cloth to smear a small amount of mink oil directly onto your boots and work the oil over the leather with the cloth using small circular motions. Be sure to wipe the oil over all areas of the leather and pay particular attention to any seams and joins. Wipe off any excess oil with a cloth.
If you have any cracked areas of the boot where creases have formed due to normal wear and tear, be sure to massage the oil into these creases and over any cracks. The leather will soften after a few minutes and a little extra oil will help preserve the leather in more worn areas.
Allow Boots To Dry In A Well-ventilated Space
Once you have finished applying mink oil to one boot, move onto the next and repeat the process. This will give your oiled boot time to dry and it’s worth inspecting both boots once completely oiled to see if they require any additional touch-ups.
You can use a hairdryer to speed up the drying process, but be careful not to get too close to the leather on a high heat setting. Apply heat of a medium setting and maintain a 6-8 inch distance from the boot, slowly working the heat over the entire boot.
Leather Conditioner For Cowboy Boots
Another great way to add years to your cowboy boots and protect them from the elements is by using a suede or leather conditioner. Many will own cowboy boots that feature a leather lower section and suede upper section, so bear in mind that you may need to purchase two different conditioners for each part of the boot.
A trusted leather conditioner is Leather Honey Leather Conditioner which is non-toxic, has no solvents or silicone, and is readily available throughout the USA. To apply the leather conditioner, use a lint-free cloth and apply a thin even layer to the boot and allow it to dry. If you find the conditioner is too thick, you can dilute it with a little water to allow it to spread easier.
Leather Honey Leather Conditioner
- Leather Honey penetrates deep to protect new leather and rejuvenate dry leather and old leather
- Soften leather furniture, moisturize leather car interiors & promote flexibility in your favorite leather belt or leather shoes
- To apply, put a quarter-size drop of Leather Honey Conditioner on a Leather Honey Lint-Free Applicator Cloth
For ultimate protection and waterproofing, you should next apply a specialist leather shoe polish, such as Danner Boot Dressing which comes in various colors. Use a new clean cloth or a small polish brush to rub in the shoe polish, then use a clean cloth to wipe off any excess polish.
Danner Boot Dressing
- Lace-Up closure
- Rubber sole
- Prevents drying and cracking
Suede Conditioner For Cowboy Boots
You will need to use a specialist suede conditioner for any suede sections of your cowboy boots, and a product like Care; Cool Suede and Nubuck Conditioner is a trusted choice. They are usually available in a spray or liquid form, and many products provide both options for ultimate protection for suede cowboy boots.
Care; Cool Suede and Nubuck Conditioner
- Care & Cool Leather Conditioner’s specialized formula nourishes and revitalizes suede and nubuck to bring out its original charm and character
- The waterproofing spray gives items more quickly affected by moisture a protective layer against rain, water and mud
- The delicate and difficult structure of suede and nubuck leather requires additional care and attention for longevity
A suede conditioner will nourish and revitalize suede (and nubuck products too) and is easy to apply, providing protection from dirt, oil, and grease, and also providing a protective water-repellent layer against rain, water, and humidity.
Steps to clean and apply a suede conditioner and water-repellent to your boots:
Clean The Suede Section Of Your Cowboy Boots
To apply a suede conditioner, you’ll first need to clean your suede boots using a specialized boot cleaner. Using a stiff bristle brush, remove any dirt. Use the cleaning product to remove any stains using a clean cloth, then let your boots dry.
Bickmore Suede & Nubuck Cleaner
- Regular use of Bickmore Suede & Nubuck Cleaner will keep your shoes and accessories looking like the day you bought them
- In addition to removing oil and water stains, Bickmore Suede & Nubuck Cleaner will condition and soften, ensuring a longer life for all your suede and nubuck items
- Bickmore Suede & Nubuck Cleaner will not leave any chemical residue after use, keeping your shoes, boots, and accessories looking their very best
Apply Suede Conditioner; Water-Repellent Spray
Test the suede conditioner on a small area first to check if any color variation will occur. It’s likely that all products will result in a slightly darker color due to the nature of suede and how it absorbs moisture.
Once satisfied, spray an even coating of the water-repellent spray and conditioner over your suede, then allow your cowboy boots to dry before wearing them.
Whether you’re preparing for the rain or snow season and need to keep your feet dry and your boots protected, or just want to keep your cowboy boots in top condition and looking their best, there’s plenty of great reasons to waterproof your cowboy boots and prolong the life of the leather or suede.
As we’ve mentioned, neither method takes much time and if you prepare your boots for the rainy season each year, you will ensure that your cowboy boots will remain waterproof, and in top condition for many years to come!