How-Tos, Western

Cowboy Boot Care

Cowboy Boot Care

Cowboy Boot Care

From breaking in to cleaning, cowboy boot care can be a simple process—and even become a ritual. Learn more here on how to care for cowboy boots.


After carrying you through the mud, accompanying you on rides, and protecting your feet from the scorching dirt, your boots deserve to be cared for. By breaking them in, cleaning them properly, and taking care of minor repairs, you can keep your boots in good condition for a long time to come. Once you know the right steps, caring for your boots can be a simple process—and may even become a relaxing ritual.

How to Care for Cowboy Boots

Care for your cowboy boots by following these steps:

  • Break them in - Leather cowboy boots fit better when they’re broken in, since the leather stretches to conform to your foot shape.
  • Regularly brush off dirt - If you wear your boots often, brush off dirt and mud at least once a week with a brush or cloth.
  • Deep clean and condition your boots - Clean your cowboy boots with a leather-specific cleaner every three to six months, followed by leather conditioner.
  • Repair your boots as needed - This includes simple stitching repairs or resoling when your soles are damaged or worn out.

In addition to the steps above on how to care for cowboy boots, here are some common questions about cowboy boot care:

How do you break in cowboy boots?

Most cowboy boots are made of cow leather, but even exotic materials can be stretched and broken in to some extent. The easiest and safest method for breaking in your boots is to wear them with a second pair of socks around the house or on short outings. This forces the leather to stretch from the inside out and emphasizes problem spots in the fit of your cowboy boot.

How do you make cowboy boots last longer?

Simply stated, the best way to make your cowboy boots last longer is to take care of the leather. The cowboy boot care steps outlined in this article (break in, clean off dirt, and deep clean/condition) will help you get the longest life out of your boots. Listen to your boots as well. When they start to look noticeably dry, deep clean them and use a high-quality leather conditioner. The easiest way to tell when leather is starting to dry out is by looking for blotchy or faded colors and an uneven surface texture. If your leather cowboy boots have already gotten to this point, it’s not too late to save them by cleaning and conditioning the leather.

How do you clean and condition cowboy boots?

Use a clean cloth or paint brush to dislodge any dirt or debris from your boots. Be sure to brush all of the crevices, such as embroidery, patches, and pull straps. Then apply a high-quality leather cleaner to a soft cloth and clean the entire leather surface of your cowboy boots. Once your boots are clean, allow them to dry completely (this usually takes 20 to 30 minutes), then use a leather conditioner. Check out our step-by-step article on how to clean cowboy boots here.

How do you remove creases from leather cowboy boots?

With enough wear, any natural leather will crease. Creases in cowboy boots usually happen near the toe but can occur in other spots too. To remove the creases and make the leather smooth again, first stuff them with paper, T-shirts, socks, or whatever you have on hand, until the leather begins to expand. Then, using a blow dryer on the low heat setting, gently warm the leather for just a few seconds at a time and massage the creases out with your hands. If the leather is noticeably hot to the touch, you’ve used too much heat. Once the creases are gone or nearly gone, let your cowboy boots return to room temperature before taking out the stuffing.

man leaning against cattle fence

How do you care for exotic cowboy boots?

Cowboy boot care is very similar for exotic boots, like those made from ostrich or caiman/alligator. Ostrich, caiman, and pirarucu cowboy boots may require more frequent care and more diligence when it comes to conditioning, but the process is much the same as caring for cow’s leather. Exotic boots can be cleaned, conditioned, and stored in the same way as their more traditional cousin—just make sure the cleaners and conditioners you’re using have been tested on that particular type of leather.

How should I store my cowboy boots?

A big part of cowboy boot care is storing them correctly. When your cowboy boots aren’t busy in the dirt, they should be kept indoors, away from moisture, and in an upright position. To keep the shaft upright and prevent the toes from curling up, use a boot tree. A well-made cedar boot tree will also help dissipate excess moisture from a hot, sweaty day, helping prevent mold, mildew, and funky smells.

As you can see, with high-quality leather and just a little effort, your cowboy boots can last a lifetime!