If leather is not moisturized, it dries up and begins to crack. Understand that leather was once on an animal where it remained moist due to the animal’s body fluids. Once it is tanned, the moisture is eliminated, needing to be replaced through regular conditioning and polishing.
The cracks are irreversible, but you can repair them and prevent them from worsening.
Here is how to Repair Cracked Leather Boots
Scrub the Boots
Any dirt on the boots will prevent you from filling and repairing your boots successfully. Use a soft brush to scrub the boots. A hard bristled brush will damage the leather more and scrape off the protective layer. Ensure you do not leave any dirt inside the cracks since they will form a barrier. Later, the dirt will come out and leave the cracks to deteriorate.
Clean the Shoes
After scrubbing the boots, wipe them with a soft wet cloth and saddle soap. Saddle soap is perfect for cleaning leather since it has lanolin that moisturizes it to prevent it from cracking.
Dusting the boots will remove any dust particles that may prevent the filler and conditioner from reaching the leather. If you leave the dust particle on the boots, they will be trapped in the leather filler and conditioner, giving the boots an uneven look after repair.
After cleaning the boots, leave them to dry completely. You can clean them the night before repairing them so that you do not apply leather conditioner and filler on dump shoes. This is not good as the leather filler will shed off and leave the cracks exposed.
Apply a Layer of Leather Cleaner
Leather cleaner is available in stores and online. The most common is saddle soap. The leather cleaner will dissolve any stains and give the boots a deep clean. As you purchase your leather cleaner, avoid those with harsh chemicals like lye since they damage the leather.
Rub the Boots
This removes any traces of the leather cleaner and dirt that may have spread on the boots as they dried. It also softens the boots since the cleaner has oils for moisturizing and softening leather. Soft leather absorbs filler and conditioner faster.
Stuff the Boots
You want the creases on your boots to even out and make the boots firm so that you can apply the filler on a smooth surface. The stuffing will also help the filler to dry when the surface of the boots is still even. That way, they will get a flat consistency. It is also advisable to stuff the shoes whenever you are not using them to prevent them from creasing and disfiguring.
Smear a Generous Layer of Mint Oil
Mint oil is perfect for moisturizing the leather on your boosts. Emphasize the cracks so that they can soften in readiness for repair. To ensure the leather absorbs as much oil as possible, heat the boots slightly with a hair drier or space heater.
If you do not have mint oil, you can use a moisturizer with natural oils and beeswax since they are readily absorbed by leather for a deep moisturizing treatment.
Put a Coat of Leather Conditioner
Any water-based filler is perfect for blending into the cracks and sealing them from the bottom to the top. If the cracks are deep, squeeze the filler in with a palette knife. Small cracks fill well when you dab them with a sponge.
Check that the filler bonds on the boot’s surface until you cannot see any borderline or distinction between them. Once you have filled and smoothed all the cracks, let them rest for about half an hour to settle in and dry.
At this time, it would be good to protect the boots from dust and wetness that may interfere with how the boots will look after repair. Water may make the filler run while dust particles will form tiny unsightly bumps on the boot’s surface.
Inspect the Cracks
You want to be sure that all the cracks on your leather boots are filled. If you notice any unfilled cracks, put more filer, smooth it out and let the boots dry once again.
Polish the Filler
Look for small-grained sandpaper and use it to buff the leather boots gently. Pay closer attention to ant parts where the filler may have formed tiny bumps and sand then even. Coarse sandpaper will scratch the leather and cause more damage.
Shade the Boots
Often, this process leaves leather looking pale. Also, the filler and the leather may not have a consistent color. Polish the boots to revamp their color and give the whole surface a similar shade.
You can use shoe polish or cream that matches the color of your boots. Rub the cream or polish gently onto the boots for about 4 minutes to let them suck it up. Rubbing also helps your leather to shine and look lively.
Treat the Boots
Just like your skin, leather should be treated with a conditioner to rejuvenate and moisturize it. Do this after repairing your leather boots and at least once a week to keep them in good shape longer.
Now that you know how to repair your leather boots, how about we give you some tips for keeping them in shape?
Tips for Keeping Leather Boots in Shape
- Keep the boots clean and polished.
- Condition the boots at least once every week.
- Use a shoe shaper or shoe tree to prevent them from curving and getting defaced. If you do not have these, you can stuff the boots with newspapers or rags.
- Repair small cracks before they enlarge. Avoid leaving the cracks on for long as they become deeper and may result in the boots tearing.
- Take the shoes to a cobbler when they are extremely cracked.
- In case you are not wearing them for a while, store them away in a sealed, dry container. You should avoid storing your leather boots where they are exposed to too much heat or wetness. Sunshine, heat, and water make leather degenerate fast.