Leather boots can be expensive, especially if you splurge for quality, but that investment is totally worth it if you’re willing to spend time caring for those boots. How do you squeeze the most life out of the leather boots you invest in? And how long can you expect these boots to last?
The Lifespan of Leather Boots
First, how long are these boots meant to last?
That depends on a variety of factors, including the quality of the leather, the overall quality of the product, how often you wear and use these boots, and how well you take care of them – which is the central topic of this article.
If you purchase a pair of low-quality leather boots, made cheaply and without much attention to detail, and you wear them every day with little regard for proper care, those boots may not even last a year.
On average, you can expect most leather boots to last at least a few years. And if you buy the best quality leather, from excellent craftsmen, with reasonable use and care, your leather boots could last seven years or even a decade. If everything is aligned, and you’re a little bit lucky, they might be able to last more than a decade.
Choosing the Right Boots
Much of your leather boot lifespan is going to depend on your choice of boot. There are a few big things to consider here:
· Manufacturing. Handmade goods are often superior in quality to their mass-manufactured counterparts. There are several reasons for this. While mass manufacturing is incredibly efficient and capable of generating goods with fewer expenses and lower prices, there’s not a lot of room for attention to detail. With handmade goods, a very skilled craftsman will make the product as perfectly as possible, eliminating flaws and using high-quality materials. These boots are usually more expensive than their cheaper-made counterparts, but the extra money is usually worth it.
· Fit. You’ll also need to consider the fit of your boot. Boots that fit you well are going to be more comfortable, naturally, but they’re also going to be slightly less susceptible to wear and tear.
· Reviews. Pay close attention to reviews for this specific leather boot product. How do people like these boots? How long do these boots typically last? Are there any red flags in the form of recurring complaints and concerns from customers?
How to Squeeze More Years Out of Your Leather Boots
With the right pair of leather boots in hand, you can start focusing on the strategies and practices that can extend the lifespan of this footwear:
· Break them in properly. Breaking in a pair of leather boots is the process of making them more flexible and more comfortable. Leather is a common choice for footwear and certain other types of clothing because it’s incredibly durable, but that durability can come with the drawback of initial rigidity. It takes time to break in your leather boots properly. Unfortunately, there are no shortcuts here; you just have to wear them and use them until they take the right shape.
· Clean. It’s important to clean your leather boots on a regular basis, especially in the aftermath of dirty dealings. For example, if you traipse through mud or walk across salted sidewalks in the winter, your boots are going to be coated in nasty substances that can cause your boots to wear out faster. Fortunately, a damp cloth and/or a simple brush are all you need for basic cleaning.
· Condition. Periodically, after cleaning and drying your boots, you should spend time conditioning them. There are many different leather conditioning products on the market, some of which are designed for niche purposes; choose the product that serves your needs best and apply it according to the instructions on the label. Conditioning strengthens, brightens, and lubricates the leather to help it stay in good condition for longer.
· Consider re-waterproofing. Occasionally, you may also want to re-waterproof your leather boots, especially if you notice that the water is no longer beading up on them.
· Store properly. Store your boots in a clean, room-temperature area that’s not too dry or too moist. Also, use a shoe tree or something similar to encourage them to remain in the same shape.
· Repair when necessary. If your boots start to take damage, consider taking them to a cobbler/shoe repair professional for repairs.
If you can follow these strategies consistently, and avoid major damage to your leather boots, they should be able to last you for many years. That means you’ll save money, you’ll save time shopping, and you’ll be able to look your best for the better part of a decade.