Working Person’s Store stocks amazing work boots – some of the best available. But it doesn’t matter how good they are, how fine the finish, or how rugged the design, they still need a bit of occasional TLC to keep them at their brilliant best.
That’s why we’ve compiled some of the best ways to look after the work boots that look after you when you’re at work.
The first thing to remember is that different materials require their own special type of care, so let’s take a look at some basics that will help your boots last – whatever they’re made from.
To keep your leather work boots in great shape, we recommend a four-step approach:
1. Clean – use a good leather cleaner and a simple cloth and gently wipe away the visible dirt from on the surface of the boot.
2. Condition – after your boots have dried out, use some mink oil to keep the leather in good condition. With a soft cloth rub in the oil, especially at the seams. And once the boots have properly dried, wipe off the excess oil with a clean, soft rag.
3. Polish – using the same cloth you used to wipe off the excess oil, using small circular strokes to buff the leather up.
4. Weatherproof – now your boots are ready for a good waterproofing product like Beeswax. There are plenty of brands out there, but here are a few to be getting on with: Pecards Mallard Wax, SnoSeal, Leather Therapy and Camp Dry.
One important thing worth considering is that waterproofing doesn’t last forever. And a lot of the products out there, although they keep your leather in tip-top condition, will slightly alter the color of your boots.
But if you make it a regular habit, waterproofing your work boots and shoes will help them last for years and years. And there’s a simple way to test if they need re-treating. Spray them once a month with some water and when the water doesn’t stay on the surface as beads or droplets anymore, it’s time to re-treat them.
It’s worth thinking about the inside of your boots too. If you take out the insole and spray inside with a waterproofing spray, you’ll give your boots the best chance of keeping your feet dry, even when they get water-logged. And give the area around the laces a quick spray too because water gets in everywhere!
One last bit of general housekeeping – when you kick off your boots, give them a quick wipe down at the end of a long day – they’ll thank you for it.
And if you want your boots to keep their shape for longer, get yourself a couple of cedar shoe trees. This wood is a great material because it soaks up any moisture, acids, or salts. Also, the shape of the shoetrees keeps your insoles and linings true, as well as maintaining the overall shape of your boots.
Okay, so you bought some nu-buck or suede work boots? No problem. With a little bit of special care, you’ll keep them looking great and with you on the job, for years to come.
Follow these two quick steps:
1. Clean – before the dirt sets in, use a rubber-tipped brush and then seal the boots with a special boot protector for nu-buck or suede.
2. Condition – if your boots are nu-buck, buy a special conditioner. If they’re suede don’t bother, just clean them and spray on the protector.
Remember – you can’t polish suede! If your suede boots get marked or dirty, use a solvent based cleaner to get the dirt out. But be careful, suede is quite a delicate material, so don’t be too rough.
Breaking-in your new work boots
There’s nothing worse than wearing your new work boots on-site for the first time, only for them to rub against the skin, causing you discomfort and blisters. We recommend wearing them around the house for a few days before you put them to work. This is also a great way to loosen off the leather before you apply a waterproofing agent. And if you buy some conditioner when you buy your boots, this will help with the breaking-in process too.
Some top tips for tip-top steel toe work boots:
- Soak your steel toe work boots in a bucket, or a bathtub overnight. The next day put on extra socks and wear the boots until they dry. It may seem like a bit of a hassle, but this way the boots will mold to your foot, fitting you perfectly from then on.
- Bend the body of the boot back and forth a couple of times every day, before putting them on. This way, you’ll encourage flexibility in the sole of the boot.
- Insoles are a great way to get some extra comfort – they’ll also help the sole conform to your foot.
- If you can find it, buy some moleskin (most drug stores sell it) – it’s soft and thin and if you apply it to your feet, you’ll have a great barrier against chafing.
- Buy the right socks! Don’t be afraid to spend a little more getting some proper steel-toe socks – they’ve got extra padding around the toe area to give you extra cushioning where you need it most.
Your new work boots are an investment and with the right care and a bit of extra attention, they’re an investment that will pay you back in years and years of comfort and protection.