By Jason Donahoe
Updated January 23, 2015
Courtesy of Need Supply

This piece originally appeared on

Boots are made to be worn. To be worked into the ground. To be stepped on. Twisted up. Scuffed. But they’re also meant to be taken care of. Whether you’re looking to prevent future damage, apply regular maintenance, or trying to bring a lived-in pair back up to snuff, our boot guide is here to help.


Red Wing Mink Oil

Like a car, a house, or a small child, taking care of your boots regularly will keep them in tip-top shape for a long and healthy lifespan.

Cleaning: While cleaning your boots off after every wear may sound like overkill, it’s important not to let dirt and grime build up on the leather. Using a soft brush or a damp cloth, remove excess particles and debris as they accumulate.

Oiling vs Conditioning: To keep the leather uppers of your boots supple and rich, apply a moisturizing oil or conditioner about once a month. Red Wing’s Mink Oil is a good choice for protecting and moisturizing leather on workwear boots, especially in dried or discolored places like creases and the tongues. It helps keep salt and liquid from destroying the leather finish. For fine leathers and boots that aren’t used for heavy duty work, a solid leather conditioner like Alden’s Boot Cream works best.

Saphir Suede and Nubuck Brush

For more textured leathers like suede and nubuck, a special type of brush is required for working out stands and cleaning off dirt. Saphir’s Suede and Nubuck Brush is perfect for transferring particles off of your boots finish.


Alden Fine Boot Cream and Jar Dauber

Life gets unavoidably messy and so will your boots. It’s bound to happen. So what do you do when you’ve taken your favorite Alden Indy Boots for a spin in the mud? First step, is cleaning. Again, clean only with a soft brush and a damp cloth.

Next, treat the whole boot with leather conditioner. Alden’s Boot Cream is a great option in comes in color-specific varieties and a neutral option (to avoid staining your boots’ stitching). You can rub leather conditioner in with your hands or use a soft polishing cloth.

Alden Paste Wax, Jar Dauber and Horsehair Brush

After that, fill in discolored scuffs and scratches with polish color matched to your boots. Here we’re using Alden’s Fine Paste Wax in Brown. Using a jar dauber brush, lightly apply the polish to your boots and gently rub in small concentric circles.

Finally, buff the polish into your boots with a horsehair brush. The more you buff, the shinier your shoes will be, so don’t go too crazy.


Red Wing Leather Protector

As the saying goes, the best offense is a good defense (or something like that). So taking preventative measures to protect your boots is a good way to keep them looking fresh even if you know you’re headed into treacherous territory. Treating your boots with sprays like Red Wing’s Leather Protector can help prevent damage from oils, salt, liquid and the like.

Shop these boots at Need Supply Co.