When it comes to your everyday life, taking proper care of your duty boots may not rank right up there with other high priorities. Perhaps you can’t thoroughly clean your boots every single day. That wouldn’t be realistic, what with life and other responsibilities you have, not to mention the daily fatigue you feel after a hard day’s work.
But you’ve invested your hard-earned money in a good pair of duty boots, and you want to protect that investment and ensure your boots last a long time. You want to shield your boots from the elements, maintain them to standards of professionalism, and prolong their life so you’re getting the most bang for your buck.
So how do you properly maintain your duty boots? Follow along and find out.
Keep them clean
As mentioned, a deep, thorough cleaning every day would not only be unrealistic, but probably not even needed. There’ll be some days when your boots take a real beating, and others when they don’t. But at the very least, you should use a brush each day to wipe away any loose dirt and grime. Being consistent with this means dirt won’t continue to build up making it more difficult to clean later on.
For those hard to reach areas, especially the creases that form in your boots, use an old toothbrush or even Q-tips to get in there and wipe away the dirt. If your boots are caked with mud and dirt, you can also use a wet sponge to wipe them off. Be sure to dry thoroughly afterward.
When doing a deep clean, be sure to remove the shoelaces, as getting polish or cleaner on laces can weaken them and make them less elastic, thus ensuring a worse tie and fit.
Polish them up
Daily use of your duty boots means it’s inevitable they will lose their shine and get nicked and scuffed, so you’ll want to have a good shoeshine kit at the ready. A shoeshine kit should include black shoe polish, a horsehair shine brush, and a shine cloth. You can create your own, or try this one from Kiwi.
Many folks have their own routine or ritual when it comes to shining shoes, but a few basic tips are always helpful.
Grab your soft cloth and wipe on a small amount of black polish (an area the size of a dime is generally recommended). Work the polish into the leather in a circular motion, making sure to apply some to all surface areas. This is where those Q-tips can come in handy for the creases and other hard to reach areas. Repeat this process for the entirety of both boots and you’ll have a fresh-looking, shiny pair of duty boots, ready to go.
Weatherproof your boots from the elements
Weatherproofing your duty boots is especially important if you live in an area that receives a lot of rain and/or snow. Water, salt, and other elements can cause significant damage to the leather of your boots. Many shoe sprays don’t thoroughly protect your boots and only make them water resistant.
To make them weatherproof, you’ll want to use a silicone spray. However, silicone sprays can quickly dry out your boots, leading to possible brittleness and cracks, so it’s best to use an oil-based silicone spray which won’t dry out your boots as much.
Change out your soles
Often, the sole inserts that come with a pair of shoes or boots are not of high quality. Try buying a better insole which will make you more comfortable, and in turn, prolong the life of the boot.
Shoetrees are your friend
You may have been taught that shoetrees are just for fancy dress shoes like those that you wear to weddings and funerals, but shoetrees do a terrific job of helping any shoe or boot maintain its shape. For duty boots, a shoetree will also help prevent the leather from cracking.
Although the thought of maintaining your duty boots may seem overwhelming and like a lot of extra work, the benefits are well worth it in the long run. Taking the time to care for your boots a little each day prolongs the life of your boots and helps protect your investment.
Brushing off the loose dirt each day and inserting your shoetrees will quickly become a short, easy routine that saves you time, money and effort in the long run.