How to stop leather shoes from creasing

Leather shoes are not cheap, and they are quite often people’s prized possession. So when they begin to crease and wear over time, it can be quite distressing. So what can you do to stop leather shoes from creasing? Is there a foolproof way to stop leather creases from forming in your favourite leather shoes?

What causes leather creases?

Leather creases are almost inevitable when you have leather shoes. Fine shoes are likely to bend over time. It’s nothing to do with the leather quality, or the type of shoe. Leather is flexible and it moves with you. The malleable material means that, over time, your shoe will mold to the shape of your foot.

Without this malleable property, your shoes would be incredibly uncomfortable. Your shoe’s toe box needs to be able to move to allow you to walk, run, crouch, all of which requires you to let your toes bend!

A few things, though, can make leather creasing worse. For example:

  • Shoes with too small of a toe box will cause your foot to need to bend more when walking. This leads to more creasing.
  • Shoes with too big of a toe box will have excess space, which can lead to creasing. The shoe’s shape has a large part to play in creasing.
  • Excess moisture from sweat or puddles can lead to creasing, especially if left too long on or in the shoe.

How to prevent leather shoes from creasing

There are a few things that you can do to prevent your leather shoes from creasing. Many of which fall under simple shoe care. Techniques to remove creases and prevent leather creasing include:

Keep moisture away from your shoes

It is inevitable that you’re going to sweat when you’re wearing shoes. To help protect the leather from this moisture, and any other moisture that the fabric might encounter, you can use a water-repellent or waterproofing spray on the inside of the shoe.

Spray the water repellent on the insole and sides of the shoe to help make the shoes waterproof and to keep them safe from moisture. This should help to prevent creasing.

If your shoes are subjected to excessive moisture, it’s important to dry them out properly with something that can absorb moisture. You can do this by stuffing them with newspaper to absorb excess moisture and leaving them in a well-ventilated space.

This will help to keep your expensive boots free from creases and bends that are worsened or caused by the moisture.

Use a cedar shoe tree

Shoe trees help to minimise the crease at the ‘flex point’ of your leather dress shoes, which is where your feet bend. You can use a shoe tree when not wearing your leather shoes to help to keep them flat and in place, which should counteract the movement you do whilst wearing the shoe.

A cedar tree in particular is a good choice, as cedar shoe trees have a pleasant pine smell that will help to mask the smell of your feet, making shoes smell much nicer! In addition to that, cedar is actually antimicrobial and so can reduce the bacteria inside the shoes; it also has insect repellent properties that can benefit your shoes. Cedar shoe trees are also durable – they’re much less likely than rot and warp than other material. The cedar shoe tree is also moisture repellent, which can be really useful in preventing creases in full grain leather.

Using another shoe tree will also help, but perhaps just not to the same extent as a cedar shoe tree. A plastic shoe tree will also be useful.

Wear the right size shoe

It may sound obvious, but wearing the right size shoe is really important when it comes to trying to stop shoes from creasing. Shoes crease regardless, but larger shoes with a foot that is not filling it entirely are much more likely to crease and bend.

Leather shoes, whether dress shoes or a pointed toe shoe, should hug your feet closely. There should not be any large spaces between your foot and the leather.

Care for the leather

Leather conditioner is an essential part of owning a leather shoe, as is leather polish. By using both, you can help to properly care for the leather. Properly cared for leather is less likely to crease and fold.

To properly care for leather, you should:

  • Clean the leather with a soft bristle brush or a cloth
  • Remove scuff marks and stains with soapy water
  • Blot the water with a cloth
  • Leave the shoe to dry
  • Use a leather cream and conditioner to moisturise the material
  • Use a leather oil to help further care for the shoe
  • Buff the leather up to make it shine

Check the toe spring angle

One of the causes of shoe creasing is a poorly angled toe spring. The toe box should be about 15 degrees up from the ground. You should be able to slide a pencil or pen between the toe box and the floor.

If you can’t, then there is more of a chance that you will experience your leather shoes creasing. It is best to try and avoid shoes that have poorly angled toes, as there’s very little that you can actually do to prevent the creases if it’s caused by the way in which the dress shoes are shaped!

Can you remove wrinkles and creases on leather?

There are a few methods that you can use to remove creases from leather, but you do have to be extremely careful. You can use:

These methods may help to reduce the appearance of the creases, but it’s still easier to prevent creases rather than remove them.

How To Clean and Condition Leather Featuring Chamberlain Leather Milk

Chamberlain Leather Milk - Leather Reviews

Making your first big leather purchase can be a fun and taxing experience. Most quality leather goods command a premium price and definitely live up to the, “Buy the best only cry once” mantra. We get asked a lot about what we do for our leather goods, and people are usually surprised when we say very little. One of the great things about premium leather is that it doesn’t really require much. Personally, I condition a few times a year depending on use. We’ve sampled dozens of conditioners, and we’ve come to prefer Chamberlain’s Leather Milk

High quality leather is usually treated with a tanning process. This treats the leather against premature aging and somewhat seals the leather from outside exposure, almost like wood is treated with stain. Over time the leather can lose some of those oils due to wear and exposure. That’s where a quality leather conditioner comes in. Treating leather is a pretty simple procedure. 

First take a soft brush or cloth rag and brush off any large debris like caked on dirt or dust. Then you take your applicator pad (Included with a bottle of Leather Milk) and squirt a very tiny dollop onto the pad (We recommend spot testing in a hard to see area just to make sure you like what you see) then work into the leather in a circular motion ala Karate Kid. A thin layer is all you need. 

You can see how the leather darkens a little after application, this is normal – The belt is a Sandlot Goods Horween Leather.

You’ll see great results right away but don’t think more is better, you will just end up making the leather greasy. Wipe any excess off with a clean rag. Wait about 10 minutes for the conditioner to seep into the leather and buff out the surface with a dry cloth. Voila!

Notice how the fine lines in the bottom picture are slightly diminished after treatment. The character and patina remain, but the leather is moisturized.

Chamberlain’s Leather Milk is all natural and made in the USA – so we’re proud to offer it. It will go a long ways in rejuvenating your leather and making it supple and smooth. Heck, I even put some under my eyes at night to remove the black spots- Just kidding! In all seriousness, I do my Redwing Iron Rangers boots twice a year and they look great. Usually right before Fall hits and once again when winter is over, just to keep the leather healthy while stored away. Same goes for bags, wallets and belts. If the leather ever feels stiff or brittle, just give the leather a little CPR with Chamberlains! 

We also made a quick How To video to see it all in action. Thanks again for reading!

How to Care for your Leather Luggage

In this blog post, we speak to Kaehler1920, a family based business from Chicago with a reputation for manufacturing the finest leather bags, cases and luggage. Founded in 1920, the Kaehler tradition combines true craftsmanship with locally sourced materials to produce leather goods of the very highest quality. As a long respected voice within the industry, here they show us how best to care for your valuable leather luggage to ensure it’s ready for the road and will stand the test of time.

Elegant, timeless, and practical – leather has always been a firm favorite of luggage manufacturers. In fact, leather was a key material used within the construction of the archetypal suitcase, a design intended to replace the unwieldy trunks that were popular during the early days of tourism. Chosen for its ability to provide just the right balance between durability and desirability, leather remains as glamorous today as it was in the 19th century, with the years only adding to the glorious patina of this material’s well worn path.

Today, leather luggage is increasingly in demand, particularly as vintage trends persist, and well cared for cases are passed down from generation to generation. And this final point is key: a carefully crafted, lovingly maintained, and regularly cleaned leather bag or suitcase should last, not only your lifetime, but also that of your children and possibly even grandchildren. With this in mind, we look at how best to clean, condition, and care for your beloved leather cases to ensure they provide you with many years of service.

The Three Cs – Clean, Condition, Care

Looking after leather in any setting doesn’t need to be overly difficult, and there’s certainly no need to be intimidated by the process, even if your luggage is expensive. In fact, caring for your leather luggage can be split into three simple stages that should cover everything you need to keep your leather looking great.

Firstly, a word on materials. You will probably find that most pieces of travel luggage are crafted from leather using a vegetable tanning process. Other tanning processes – including chrome tanning and re-tanning – yield different results and are used to give the leather different qualities. However, you will find that caring for your leather bags is much the same whatever type of leather used, with just a few things to be aware of during the lifetime of your product.

Cleaning Your Leather Luggage

Cleaning your leather luggage should done on a regular basis, forming the largest part of your leather care routine. It is also the simplest part of caring for your leather luggage, requiring only the removal of dirt and dust with a cloth, warm water, and a liquid cleaner suitable to the type of leather your bag is made from. This should be complemented by wiping away any dust with a soft cloth once or twice a week, helping to preserve your leather and develop a unique patina.

Additionally, you should take note of these points when cleaning your leather bags and luggage:

  • Always take care of stains as soon as possible. Don’t let them soak further into the leather grain where they may be harder, or even impossible to remove at a later date.
  • Be careful to avoid buckles, straps, buttons and other hardware. It’s possible that these could be tarnished by whatever cleaner you are using.
  • Rub away stains and dirt with light pressure. If you begin to press too much you may remove the finish and damage the underlying leather.

Conditioning Your Leather Luggage

Conditioning your leather luggage should also be done on a regular basis, although not as frequently as cleaning. This will ensure the leather does not dry out over time. There are plenty of off-the-shelf products on the market designed to be used on specific leather types, including mink oil and neatsfoot oil. However, recipes containing natural oils such as orange, cedarwood, and citronella can also be used, plus they have the additional benefit of helping to remove strong leather odors on new bags. It is important to allow these oils to dry thoroughly before you wipe off any excess. After conditioning the leather, it is also a good idea to weatherproof your bags using something like beeswax cream.

Additionally, be aware of these points when conditioning your leather luggage:

  • Olive oil also makes a great conditioner, and plenty of recipes include it as a core ingredient. However, recently the use of natural oils on leather has become controversial, so take some time to do a little research before you commit
  • Always spot-test any DIY recipes – preferably on the inside of the bag – before you commit. That way you can be sure not to damage the leather.
  • Work slowly and methodically with a soft cloth to ensure equal amounts of whatever you are using is worked into the grain of the leather for even coverage.

Caring for Your Leather Luggage

A core component is of the 3 Cs is the general, everyday care of your leather. For instance, while not regular occurrence, any scratches to the leather must be dealt with quickly – otherwise the underlying leather could become damaged and compromise the integrity of the whole bag. Storage is also important, and if your bag is packed away for any length of time then you must make sure is neither too dry or too damp. Remember also that leather is a natural material and, while it might look fantastic, that trip to the arctic circle to experience the Northern Lights might not be the best idea considering the weight and water permeability of your bag.

Here then, are a few final points to remember when caring for your leather luggage:

  • Avoid temperature extremes at all costs, both heat (including direct sunlight) and cold (below freezing point) can damage the leather of your luggage irreparably.
  • Store in original packaging where possible and include a handful or rice (or the original silica bag) to remove any moisture. Additionally, pack the bag with unprinted paper (not newspaper) to maintain its shape.
  • If your bag becomes wet or waterlogged, always allow it to dry naturally and never use a heat source to speed up the process

Caring for Your Leather Luggage – Final Thoughts

Naturally, there are as many pieces of advice on how best to look after your leather as there are pieces of luggage traversing the globe. However, we hope that these simple rules will help guide you on your journey in the proper care of your bags and cases. And remember, a well cared for piece of leather luggage is a great way to pass down your memories to your kids and grandkids, so make sure you take your time to do it right.

Chamberlain’s Leathermilk Healing Balm Review – $16.95

While a lot of our viewers love scratching up their products as part of establishing a personalized patina on leather goods, I recognize that others would rather minimize the scratches. Depending on the finish of leather, scratches may enhance or destruct the aesthetics. Sometimes, a bag or other leather product is in need of a surface makeover, which is where Chamberlain’s Leathermilk Healing Balm can assist.

Healing Balm and included applicator pictured alongside a Saddleback Leather Overnight Bag, a company they have a great relationship with.

The Product

The healing balm comes in a small tin along with a sponge-like applicator. Don’t be fooled by the size of the tin: a little goes a long way. The smell of the balm is pleasant, reminiscent of coconut macaroons. The product has a beeswax-like texture, and is made from various oils and waxes. Application of the product to leather goods is very simple with the applicator, and like I stated before, a small amount goes a long way.

Chamberlain’s Leathermilk Healing Balm and included applicator.


For the purpose of testing the balm, I wanted to try a few different leather colors and textures. Used for the tests are one vegetable tanned Classic Bifold wallet by Corter Leather, one chrome tanned Gun Deck wallet by Das Offene Meer Leather Company, one Saddleback Leather Overnight Bag, and one Saddleback Leather Large Satchel. I chose these as they all have differing levels of patina and texture, and was not directed by any of the companies to use their product for demonstration.

I intentionally created some scratches and scuffs on products to show a before and after. Note that I did follow Chamberlain’s instructions to let the balm absorb, than later buff out any leftover balm that did not absorb. They have a nice guide on using the healing balm here.

Photo heavy Before and After Shots:

Creasing and scratches near the handle support of a Saddleback Leather Large Satchel.
After applying the balm, the edge is definitely taken of the small scratches and the crease is filled in color.
Intentional scratch made on a Gun Deck Wallet.
The scratch can still be seen slightly in the middle, but much more mild in tone.
Had some fun with this one – scratched BL for BestLeather out with my finger on a Corter Leather Classic Bifold.
The “BL” scratch can barely be made out, certainly displaying an improvement.
Scratch on the strap of a Saddleback Leather Large Weekender Bag in Tobacco.
Similar to other treatments, the scratch toned down considerably.

Outcomes and Conclusion

Overall, the Chamberlain’s Leathermilk Healing Balm is great for toning down scratches and scuffs in varying textures of leather. It does an excellent job of muting the harshness of surface level scratches. If you are not a fan of the scent, rest assured it does fade quickly especially after a quick buff of the leather.  I would use this most often for things such as wallets, which can become scuffed up if you throw your keys or pocketknife/flashlight into the same pocket incidentally.

I have a feeling it would also be great for automobile leather, but my light colored leather seats were too tan to test any discernible areas.  Priced at nearly $17.00 with free shipping, its well worth it and the small tin will last quite some time even treating multiple bags and small goods. I’d like to reiterate that this product is mainly for spot treatment, I don’t see it being ideal to cover an entire bag, but in some cases that may be the best idea, particularly with darker or black bags. Deep gouges or bug bites in full grain leather would likely not be treatable.

Scuff on an outer heel of a Wolverine 1000 Mile Boot in cordovan color.
The scratch remains, but less attention-drawing.

Dropforge Leather Care Review

I’m an avid hunter. I enjoy “walking in the woods with a gun” every October in search of elusive elk. I then continue my trekking through November and into the beginning of December in search of whitetail and mule deer. For the past six seasons, my feet have had the pleasure of being swathed in a fantastic pair of Danner Hunting Boots. I don’t believe they make this particular model anymore – they’re 8” high, have the classic “Danner Bob” outsole, and feature solid leather uppers. They’re comfortable and bullet proof.

To be brutally honest, they have loved my feet well, but I have not reciprocated at all. I abuse them each season and then stick them on my hunting gear shelf in the garage. And…that’s been the story for the past six or so seasons (I can’t really remember when I got these boots).


When Luke asked about having us test the Dropforge Leather Care Cream , I did a quick mental inventory on what I thought would be a good test case and immediately and sadly thought of my trusty hunting boots. Their sad, neglected condition needs to be rectified…and Dropforge Leather Care has come to the rescue.


About Dropforge Leather Care

DropForge Leather Care is owned and operated by Bryan and his son Luke with the help of an old friend, Bob. They live in eastern Washington at the confluence of the Snake and Clearwater Rivers, namely Clarkston WA and create their products there too. Growing up on an Idaho farm and seeing first hand how leather needs to be treated, they got involved in the leather care industry in 1993. This led to 22 years of experimenting with what worked best in the industry, with first hand involvement in competitive products.


Now they’re embarking on their own with 25+ combined years of experience in the leather care industry. They seek to bring a fresh perspective and superior product line to the leather care community. Currently they’re running a Kickstarter campaign to help them propel their company forward. There’s still time to get in on funding their company and get some great products at the same time.


Testing Dropforge Leather Care’s Cream

By now, you’ve seen the corresponding images of my boots. Yes, shame on me for not giving them more love over the years. But…dang, they’re awesome and have held up really, really well to substantial abuse over the years!

After banging out most of last season’s mud and shaking out some pine needles and junk the boots were ready for application of the Dropforge Leather Care Cream. Over the years I’ve used a variety of cloths and applicators for saddle soap, leather cleaners, and conditioners. However, when I’m working on a pair of boots I always gravitate to a trusty old sock. It is my favorite because it slips over my hand and allows me to work the product in easily with all of my fingers. The sock has just enough texture to allow you to really work the Cream in deeply.


The Cream is a soft product and goes on very easily. It has an extremely pleasant smell too, which shouldn’t be a surprise since it’s chemical free and all natural. It contains natural oils and beeswax. It’s the “bee” part that makes it smell, well…delicious. I was craving some really good toast, a little butter, and honey the entire time I was conditioning my boots. The Cream was easy to manipulate into all of the nooks and crannies on my boots and covered them entirely without issue.


Once you’ve applied the product Dropforge recommends that you let it sit overnight. If you’re able to set your conditioned products out in the sun or near a heat source this will also help the conditioning and waterproofing process. So…now, I need to be patient and let Cream work its magic.



My initial impression is very positive for Dropforge Leather Care’s Cream. It’s easy to apply, smells great, is all-natural, and already has my boots looking much, much more loved and appreciated. It looks like it’s going to protect and preserve my boots for many more seasons to come.



There are lots of other players in the leather care industry. All of them have benefits and drawbacks attached to them. Some contain harsh chemicals and some are all natural, like Dropforge Leather Care. I admire Brian, Luke, and Bob for creating Dropforge and entering into the leather care arena. I definitely like their product. They’re making some great strategic alliances with several highly respected leather companies too – so, their product is definitely proving itself worthy.

Next day – they’re looking much more loved!

Having an all natural, eco-friendly, safe cleaner and conditioner that’s safe to use on small and large leather products is fantastic. We’ve had several people email us recently looking for a viable product to use on leather furniture and it seems like Dropforge fits that need very well. One of these days maybe we’ll venture into reviewing leather furniture and will be able to test it first hand. In seeing how well it worked on my great, but abused boots, I imagine it will work extremely well on furniture.

Next day, definitely a marked improvement…leather feels much more supple.

Next day impressions: I’m sold. My boots look much more loved now. There is no greasy residue on them and they look much, much better. They feel much more supple too. Due to the lack of conditioning on these boots, I’m actually going to apply another coat of Dropforge Leather Care’s Cream to them. I think one more application will put the boots in marvelous condition.

There’s a little less than a week left on their Kickstarter campaign. They have several great reward packages set up. We encourage you to back these guys (I did) and in return, you’ll receive some very high quality leather care products. I’m sure I’m not the only dude with a pair of boots that need some attention (or saddles, messenger bags, leather furniture, etc, etc.). Your leather products will thank you and you’ll definitely feel better about yourself after you’ve conditioned them too! Or, if you prefer, you can order products directly from their website:

DropForge Leather Care – All Natural Leather Cleaner, Conditioner & Protectant

There’s a new Kickstarter in town and this one’s a little different than the others we’ve talked about in the past. This one isn’t for great leather products, but rather for products designed to make your leather products look better and last well.


Dropforge Leather Care is owned and operated by Bryan and his son Luke. Based in Clarkston, Washington this duo has been involved in the leather industry since 1993. As a result of their experiences, they have now formulated their own line of cleaners, conditioners, and protectants. One of the great things about all of their products is they are chemical free and all natural.

Learn more about their great product line, watch their video, and then back these guys and their company on Kickstarter. In exchange for backing the first leather care company to be featured on Kickstarter you’ll be rewarded with excellent, all natural leather care products.

Dropforge Products

Be on the lookout here too because we have some of their products heading in for testing. We’re looking forward to checking out how well their products work on a pair of Danner hunting boots that are in dire need of some TLC. Stay tuned!

Lexol & Piel Leather Giveaway – Ends Jan. 5, 2015

Lexol & Piel Leather Giveaway

BestLeather is excited to be able to offer this great giveaway from two well known and trusted brands: Lexol & Piel Leather. The combined value of this great giveaway is over $450! The winner will receive a gift basket chock full of Lexol’s best leather cleaners and conditioners. And, along with that basket, the winner will receive a Piel Leather Vintage Laptop Briefcase.



BestLeather has long been a fan of Lexol’s products. We featured an article about their conditioner a couple of year’s ago. And, we’re getting ready to feature some of their newer products…look for that soon. Lexol, has been the conditioner and cleaner trusted by professionals for decades. They have been the leader in luxury leather care for over 80 years, developing and crafting innovative leather care solutions that help consumers clean, maintain, and restore their leather goods for a lifetime and beyond of enjoyment. The company retails its line of American-made products and kits at leading specialty and national retailers within North America. There is a Lexol formula for virtually any leather application, from automotive, fashion, furniture, and sporting goods to equine market needs. The company, including its development lab and manufacturing facilities, is headquartered in Marietta, Ga.

The Lexol leather cleaner and conditioner basket contains:

Be sure to visit Lexol’s website to learn more about each of these great products. Lexol’s product contain a UV protectant and a non-darkening formula. They are also alcohol free and silicone free. Each has been specially designed and formulated to help you keep your valuable leather products protected and looking great for many, many years to come.

For over 40 years, Piel Leather has remained the internationally recognized Leader in Naked Leather. Their high standards for quality and workmanship have allowed them to produce leather goods of exceptional distinction and durability. Piel Leather feels that their customers deserve a product that is manufactured to the highest quality standards at a price you can afford. By remaining completely dedicated to their craft, they have survived as the leading manufacturer and distributor of naked leather products. Piel Leather takes pride in their talented employees that for over three decades have dedicated their lives to mastering the art of leather craftsmanship. Their loyalty, commitment, and hard work are reflected in Piel Leather’s exceptional line of genuine handmade leather goods. All of their products are manufactured and handmade in their factory located in Bogota, Colombia, South America. Piel Leather specializes in providing quality leather products for all markets. As the pioneer of some of the finest naked leather goods available, Piel Leather is able to provide a spectrum of leather goods to suit your every need.

About the Vintage Laptop Briefcase

“The Piel Leather Vintage Collection incorporates a timeless style with a rich classic (or waxed or glazed) finish. Made from 100% Genuine Colombian Full-Grain leather and trimmed with our traditional (chocolate) Vaquetta leather. This soft, supple, and smooth leather is accented with silver hardware and nylon lining creating a luxurious look that will stand the test of time. The Vintage Laptop Briefcase has a top zip-opening to spacious main compartment. Zip-down opening to a second compartment featuring a padded laptop pocket, large zip-pocket, full organizer, and a thin pocket, perfect for any size tablet. Additional features include front open pocket, back strap to attach to a telescopic handle, double carry handles, and an adjustable/detachable shoulder strap. The bag is 15 x 11.5 x 4 and can accommodate a laptop up to 15 x 10.5 x 1.25.” To see the complete line of Piel Leather products, visit

Enter to Win!

We hope you’ll enjoy entering this contest. Be sure to follow all of the steps and glean the most entries possible. And, be sure to share the contest for even more entry points! We look forward to announcing the winner on January 5th!

Boot Wax from OtterWax – $15.95

Otter Wax is an all-natural leather care product based and designed in Portland, Oregon. Portland is a fitting place for such a product to come to light — all-natural leather care products? I would be surprised if you thought of any place other than Portland after reading those words.

Made in Portland, Oregon.
Made in Portland, Oregon.

boot wax

OtterWax Boot Wax Review03

Boot wax by Otter Wax is an all-natural heavy duty leather sealant. As with most leather care products, the company keeps the formula very secret. Otter Wax does, at least, reveal that their Boot Wax is based around beeswax and lanolin as well as the fact that it is all-natural, so if you are looking for a non-chemical based product you have stumbled on one of the best.

A test of Boot Wax in Lake Coeur d'Alene -- Works like a charm!
A test of Boot Wax in Lake Coeur d’Alene — Works like a charm!

Lanolin comes from the wool of sheep, and it helps seal in moisture while also repelling water.

benefits of using beeswax/natural products for leather care

It is a fact that is often overlooked, but leather is the skin of an animal, a carbon based organic material. So, if you were going to moisturize your own face, would you use a petroleum based product or would you use a natural moisturizer? It is a very simple answer that I am sure most of you would agree with: the less chemicals the better. It is the same story for leather care.

Beeswax is a natural hydrating agent which increases moisture retention. When leather is hydrated properly, it does not absorb water as easily–it has no need to absorb water as it has enough. Beeswax attaches itself to the fibers of the leather itself and creates a long-lasting and natural bond which will repel water and moisturize the leather. Though petroleum products work, it seems to me that they would break down the fibers rather than strengthen them. I believe that you should use the same care that you would for your own skin as you would your leather.

application – what you’ll need

The application process of Boot Wax is incredibly simple. And, really, you don’t even need a kit. All you really need is a soft cloth and the wax itself. If you have a brush, that is great, but you can do without if need be.

Before you start the process, make sure your boots/shoes are not cold. They do not need to be hot, but the process works better if they are at least warm; the reason being that leather has pores, just like our skin, and they dilate when they are warm, making the leather more absorbant.

You should also have time–preferably overnight– to give the boots a chance to set properly. The wax works best when it is able to sit for 6-8 hours.

Be sure to spot test, as this will darken the leather. Apply a little bit to a spot on the boot and make sure you are okay with this darkening. I personally think the leather looks better when it is properly moisturized, but it is definitely a personal preference.

step 1

Rub evenly in circular motions. Get a thin layer of wax over the entire boot; go two or three times over.
Rub evenly in circular motions. Get a thin layer of wax over the entire boot; go two or three times over.

Get some light on your boots, so you can see what you are doing. Rub your cloth in the wax and apply the wax to the boot in a thin, even layer. Rub in circular motions making sure to pay attention to the seams and welt. Two or three layers would be best.

step 2

Rub off any excess wax with a soft cloth.
Rub off any excess wax with a soft cloth.

Rub off any excess wax and then let them sit overnight, or for at least 6 hours. Be sure to leave them in a room that is at least room temperature; this allows the pores to stay open and the wax to permeate deeper into the boot.

step 3

Buff those babies.
Buff those babies.

With either your cloth or with a brush, buff the leather until it is slightly shiny. This is important as it creates a final barrier between water and the leather, which will improve the water repellency of the leather.

Slight color darkening -- I actually like it quite a bit. Personal preference.
Slight color darkening — I actually like it quite a bit. Personal preference.

BestLeather conclusion

Looking good!
Looking good!

This is by far my favorite sealant. By far. I do not feel great about applying petroleum based products to my beautiful leather products — it does not feel right. Before Otter Wax, I used SnoSeal, another beeswax based sealant, but it does not come anywhere close to the protection of Boot Wax.

At $15.95 for a 4oz tin, you are getting a fantastic product that smells great, looks great, and does a great job of protecting and conditioning your leather. For $27.95, you get the whole kit and kaboodle.

OtterWax Boot Wax Review02


Bickmore Leather Conditioner Review – $9.99

The Bickmore Leather Company was started over 100 years ago by Dr. A. Parker Bickmore, who saw a need to treat draft horses who were plagued with sores caused by harness use.  With his pharmaceutical knowledge and his business acumen, Bickmore created a salve that would effectively treat the horses.  That simple salve was the beginning product of a company dedicated to producing the highest quality products for the leather industry (for a more in-depth look at their story, go here).  Bickmore has a four pronged approach to their product line: leather care, health care, hat care, and equine grooming care products.  They are constantly improving their products, and not settling for even good results.  The Japanese word for this idea is kaizen, which Wikipedia defines as the “philosophy or practices that focus upon continuous improvement of processes in manufacturing, engineering, and business management”.

BestLeather had the opportunity of reviewing a small sample of their product line: the Bick 1 Leather Cleaner ($9.99 for eight ounces), Bick 4 Leather Conditioner ($9.99 for eight ounces), and Gard-More Water & Stain Repellent ($9.99 for five point five ounces).

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product knowledge

Bickmore’s leather care products are ideally meant to be used in a sequence.  The Leather Cleaner is first.  Its purpose is to remove soil, grease, spur marks, and most food and ink stains, while at the same time not discoloring or darkening the leather.  This is important because dirt and grime can actually cut, damage or weaken the fibers of leather, leading to more rapid aging and deterioration.  Bickmore’s Leather Cleaner is specifically formulated to clean leather, while allowing the leather to breathe, further allowing the fibers to flex freely.

The next step is to apply Bick 4, their Leather Conditioner.  Bick 4 restores natural oils to the leather, lubricates the fibers, and helps to prevent scuffing, cracking, and some staining to occur.  Bick 4 leaves behind no residue and contains no silicone, which allows the leather to breathe easier.  Applying leather conditioner is important because it reduces the effects of sunlight exposure, normal wear and tear, and temperature extremes.

The last step is to apply Gard-More Water & Stain Repellent.  This is a spray application, whereas Bick 1 and Bick 4 are a wipe on application.  Similar to Bick 4, Gard-More has no silicone and is formulated to allow the leather to breathe appropriately.  It does not stain or change the color of the leather in any way, but will still protect the leather from perspiration, water, and grease.


Of course, the best method of reviewing Bickmore’s products was to use them on some of our own, well used goods.  For this article, I decided to use the three products on my Saddleback Leather large billfold wallet, which I have had for about two years now, and my Saddleback Leather 1 3/4″ tow belt (which is no longer in production).  Both the wallet and the belt are Saddleback’s dark coffee brown, which over time, has lightened in color with heavy use.

To demonstrate the use of Bickmore’s products, I first took pictures of both the wallet and the belt before any treatment, then again after using Bick 1, and then again after using Bick 4.  I did spray both the belt and the wallet with Gard-More, but as it is intended, the liquid quickly evaporated with no change in appearance.  I figured that documenting the evaporation would be fairly tricky camera work, so the after pictures for the Gard-More were forgone.


For this review I focused on the inside of my wallet.  The inside had the most use and abuse from repeatedly pulling credit cards in and out of the sleeves, as you can see from the photo below. The wallet also is a little discolored and pigmented from normal wear and tear.

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Below is a picture of the wallet after using Bick 1 Leather Cleaner.  Although there was not a lot of dirt and grime on the wallet per se, you can definitely tell a difference in the color and texture of the leather as a result of the cleaning.  Much of the discoloration is gone, and the leather has more of a rich color again.

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Below is a picture of the wallet after using Bick 4 Leather Conditioner.  Although there is not much, if any, of a noticeable difference in appearance after using Bick 4, it is important that it be used to re-condition and moisturize the leather after using a cleaning agent.  My wallet was looking used and abused and certainly does look better now.  The cleaner and conditioner did not remove all evidence of the scratches, which I was very happy with. Part of the beauty of leather is the patina and the marks that you make, which gives it more character.

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Similar to the wallet, my tow belt has received regular use.  I pulled my belt off and unbeknownst to me, it had a nice stain on it.  Of what, I’m not sure, and probably don’t want to know.  With four little kids in my house, it could be anything.  “Perfect for this review,” I thought.

Below is a picture of my belt before any application.  Notice the stain, some discoloration, and some general looking wear.

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Below is a picture of the belt after using Bick 1 Leather Cleaner.  The difference in appearance is significant.  That beautiful luster is back and this after a cleaning that took no more than 30 seconds.  I used a simple white rag that I had laying around and used about a quarters size of cleaner.  I rubbed the entire belt, but spent a little more time on the stain.

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Here is the belt after applying Bick 4 Leather Conditioner.  As with the wallet, I did not notice anything different with how the belt looked after the application.  Several hours after applying Bick 4, I took another look at the belt and it looked the same as after the immediate application.  This suggests a product that does not quickly fade, but rather really penetrates the leather as it is supposed to.

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BestLeather conclusion

Using Bickmore’s leather care products was easy and had noticeable results.  Their commitment to manufacturing products that allows leather to breathe as it should and to using chemicals that are completely leather friendly is commendable.  The results of my mini-experiment demonstrate that Bickmore’s products work, and that they bring back to life faded and used leather.  My belt and my wallet are thankful for this and I’m sure your leather goods will be too.

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How To Work With Wax Bloom On Chromexcel Leather

This is a syndicated post from the blog of Helm Boots discussing how to capitalize on the white waxy coating Chromexcel boots can get.

Chromexcel bloom


So you’ve had your HELM Boots for a little bit. They’ve probably made you happy and maybe you’ve gotten some compliments. Then all of a sudden you go to pull them out of the closet and hey… what’s that white powdery stuff on the leather? It doesn’t appear on all of HELMs leathers but the boots that use Chromexcel from Horween (the Ben – pictured, the Marion Olive, The Sam Navy, The Railroad and The Reid Brown) will probably show it at some point. Chromexcel leather is notoriously fatty and waxy. It’s what makes it so desirable and pliable and durable and lux and long lasting and… The Horween tannery adds a lot of oil and wax to the leather during the tanning process. Sometimes this oil and wax and grease will migrate through the leather and react with air on the surface to crystallize and that’s what causes the Bloom or Spue to appear. It will look like a powdery or chalky substance on the surface of the leather. You can see it in the above pic at the top of the shaft and around the lace eyelets. The amount of wax used in tanning along with exposure to high temps, humidity, air and light all contribute to Bloom.

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Bloom can be removed just by a simple brush with the horsehair brush or a rub with a shoe cloth. Our Ben Sample at the HELM Office Bloomed this month and we buffed it to a high shine with our horsehair paddle brush and nothing else. You don’t generally need to add anything to these Chromexcel leathers as they are so nourished already during the production process.

Learn more about the famous chromexcel leather HERE.

Do you have any photos of Chromexcel leather blooming?

Conditioning / Refreshing Wolverine 1000 Mile Boots With Lexol Leather Cleaner And Obenaufs Conditioner

These boots haven’t seen conditioner for months. Shame on me. It’s about time they get some attention. I figured I would document the process photographically so you can see the transformation and effect produced by the products. Continue reading “Conditioning / Refreshing Wolverine 1000 Mile Boots With Lexol Leather Cleaner And Obenaufs Conditioner”

Demonstration Of The Darkening Effect That Neatsfoot Oil Has On Light Colored Leather

I treated my tan leather motorcycle jacket entirely with Neatsfoot Oil to condition and darken it.

The transition was from a very light tan dry leather to a rich honey colored leather which looks very desirable. If you don’t want your leather to darken do not use Neatsfoot Oil.

Here is how it turned out:

Untreated and needing conditioning

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partially conditioned

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immediately after being fully conditioned, some especially dry parts got multiple passes

Neatsfoot darkening demonstration on light leather2one week later
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Lexol Leather Conditioner Review

You can see Obenauf’s and Chamberlain’s leather conditions in action. There are a lot of options in leather conditioning but Lexol is very good at a very good price.

The reason you should condition your leather is because leather is made of microscopic strands of fibers that rub on each other. If the leather is dry then the strands will literally cut each other, If the leather is lubricated then the strands can flex without damage. Old organs have leather bellows and many quality leather bellows still function perfectly after 100 years of proper conditioning.


Lexol Leather Conditioner is made purely from emulsified tanning oils. Those most common source of emulsified tanning oil is animals brains, literally. Lexol won’t say what their conditioner is made from so you draw your own conclusions.


The method of application is simple, one dry washcloth with a dab of leather conditioner until the conditioner runs out. For some wax based conditioners it is important to heat the leather to ensure the wax melts and saturates the leather, this is not necessary with the Lexol Leather Conditioner as the liquid soaks into the leather nicely at room temperature.


Below you will see the process of taking leather in rough shape and restoring it as much as possible. There are also pictures of scratches in full grain leather that have been treated with Lexol Leather Conditioner.

Here we have a desperately dry pair of Ariat Boots. They have not been conditioned in quite a while and have developed severe cracking.

Above you see the difference between unconditioned and conditioned leather. It took 6 minutes to completely treat one boot as the leather was very thirsty. The boot took approximately 20 doses of conditioner.

These are light scratches in full grain chestnut leather. The best color.

Here are the same light scratches after the Lexol Leather Conditioner has been applied. From a distance the leather has a nice sheen after application which fades as the conditioner dries. The conditioner slightly darkens the leather temporarily as well.

The texture change of the scuff remains but the scuffed leather acquires a more lubricated look. The sheen fades as the conditioner dries without leaving a greasy residue.

This scuff easily came out with one application of Lexol Conditioner.

 As you can see, the scuff is nearly gone.

This Chestnut Backpack looks dramatically better after the top was conditioned.


With high quality leather you should not have to condition it often, however, it will last longer if you do and the patina that develops with worn but conditioned leather is beautiful.

The basic rule is when your leather is dry, changes in leather’s color, is exposed to significant sun, gets wet, then condition your leather.

Where to Buy

The larger bottles of Lexol are far better value and quite a while. The one liter bottle will last you many applications.

Lexol is a fantastic value leather conditioner at $12 a liter as opposed to the normal $20 from the competition.

Buy one liter here on Amazon for ~$12.