How to Store Cowboy Boots

Jon Fesmire |

You don’t need to be an actual cowboy to know how to store a pair of cowboy boots. Cowboy boots are fun to wear, whether you’re headed to a rodeo or just walking around town. With the right boot socks to protect sensitive areas of your feet, they’re as comfortable as they are stylish.

If you own a nice pair of cowboy boots, you may not know how to take the best care of them, or how to store them. It’s not tough, and these instructions will help.

Preparation

Before you store your boots, make sure they’re in good condition. If you haven’t worn them much, or you’ve taken good care of them over time, you may be able to skip these steps. However, if your boots are worn down, scratched or dried out you should take these steps to revitalize them.

You will need several clean, dry washcloths, a horsehair brush, distressed leather conditioner, and boot cream of a color that matches your boots. Alternately, you can get a neutral color boot cream. This is a good idea if your boots have lots of colored stitching, so that you don’t end up dying the design the color of the rest of the leather.

First, dampen one cloth and clean all the dirt off your boots. You don’t want to rub dirt around on the leather in the following steps, so make sure they’re very clean. After you’ve finished this step, let them dry for 10 minutes or so.

Next, pour a bit of the distressed leather conditioner onto the boot. You won’t need a lot. Gently rub the conditioner into the boot with one of the washcloths. Rub it all over the outside of the boot, and make sure it’s getting absorbed into the leather. It should really soak in, and cover the boot, but you don’t want any remaining lumps. After you have applied it to the boot (or both boots, if you’re doing them at the same time), let it dry for about 10 minutes.

After the boot leather has dried, you are going to use your horsehair brush. Brushing back and forth, briskly, move around the boot to buff the surface. Don’t brush too hard.

Then, it’s time to use the boot cream. Put about a tablespoon of the boot cream on another washcloth and start rubbing it into the boot. Use a light coat. You will have to get more from the can, but get just about a tablespoon or so at a time. Buff the cream in using circular motions, and make sure it gets into all the cracks. You will want to pay special attention to the groove where the leather meets the sole of the boot.

At this stage, the cream should get absorbed into the boot, but not leave much of a shine. Also, you don’t want to end up with blobs of the stuff over the leather.

Again, give your boots some time to dry, but not too long. Keep an eye on them. While they’re still glossy, use the horsehair brush again. Brush lightly, but now, you want to buff the boots to a shine.

With these steps completed, you’ll be surprised how good your boots look.

Storage

Whether you’re storing your boots in your closet or in a self storage unit, it’s important that they are able to breathe. Consider keeping them in a spacious plastic bin or in a canvass container, and make sure there’s no moisture on or around their container when you put them away.

Also, make sure your boots stand up straight. Due to their height, boots can fold over on themselves. Over time, those creases will set in. To keep them upright, you have a couple of options. We recommend getting cedar boot trees, which will absorb excess moisture in the air and keep it from damaging your boots, and will keep the leather straight. These can be a bit expensive. A cheap alternative is to get swimming pool noodles. Measure the height of your boots, and with a kitchen knife, carefully cut lengths of pool noodle. You can stand these upright in your boots, keeping them straight.

Finally, if your boots are going to be in a self storage unit, seriously consider getting one with climate control. This feature, which will add about 25% to 30% to your unit cost, keeps the temperature and humidity within a safe range for all your personal items. If you live in a temperate area where the temperature neither gets too cold nor too hot, and the weather rarely gets very humid or very dry, you probably won’t need climate controlled self storage. However, in most areas, your boots and other items will stay in much better shape in a climate controlled unit.

With these tips in mind, your cowboy boots will be in two-stepping shape for years to come.