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How to Condition Leather Motorcycle Boot and Why It’s a Good Idea


  • Benefits of conditioning leather boots
  • The steps to conditioning leather motorcycle boots
  • The ideal frequency of conditioning boots

It’s no secret that motorcycle boots take a lot of abuse. They’re constantly exposed to the elements, leading to severe wear and tear. But they can last for years with a bit of care and attention.

Conditioning leather footwear helps with durability and maintaining luster. More importantly, it makes them softer and pliable, molding your feet better and providing more comfort on long rides. It also protects the boots from moisture, dirt, and other elements that could damage the sole, upper, and stitch over time. But how to condition leather motorcycle boot?

Here’s a quick guide on the benefits of conditioning leather motorcycle boots and how to do it.

Why Is Conditioning Leather Motorcycle Boots a Good Idea?

There are two types of riders: who believe in breaking the shoes in and who believe in conditioning them from the get-go.

While both methods have their merits, we’re firm believers in the latter. Here’s why:

Saves leather from cracking

Leather is a natural material that dries out over time. Just like your skin, it can start cracking when it dries out.

Conditioning your boots help to replenish the natural leather oil lost over time and makes the leather hydrated and supple.

Without these oils, it can become dry, brittle, and more susceptible to damage.

cracked leather boots
Leather can crack and crease if not conditioned. Image credit: cottonbro studio / Pexels

Make them more comfortable from the start

There’s no getting around it: new riding boots can be stiff and uncomfortable. It can be scratchy and rub your feet and ankles raw.

But conditioning will make them much more pliable and comfortable from the get-go. They become more comfortable to wear, and it helps to prevent chafing and blisters.

Allow the boots to age better

Leather is a natural material that is subject to drying out and cracking over time. It happens faster when they are exposed to the elements regularly.

But when you use a conditioner, it nourishes leather and seals the pore by replenishing the natural oils. It helps them to last longer.

Protects the leather from the elements

Leather and the elements outside never make a love story. It needs extra care because it’s susceptible to sun, wind, and rain damage.

And conditioning creates a barrier that will make it water-repellent and help to protect the leather from the elements and mild abrasion. So, if you’re caught in a rainstorm, it will keep your feet dry.

SEE MORE: 5 Best Leather Motorcycle Boots You Can Buy in 2022

Easier to clean

Oiled leather boots are much easier to keep clean. The protective layer does not let dirt and dust stick to the surface, which makes it less likely for the shoes to get wet in the rain or for mud to stick to the surface. You can wipe away the dirt from your muddy or wet boots.

The boots look better

Leather can develop a beautiful patina over time. Still, it can also start to look dull and faded if it needs to be adequately cared for.

Conditioning will give the leather boots a rich, deep color that looks great. They also have a soft, supple texture that looks and feels luxurious.

Without conditioning, the boots may look dry, dull, and lifeless. They may also develop cracks and wrinkles over time. So, if you want your shoes to look their best, be sure to condition them regularly.

If you’re sold on the benefits of conditioning, check the section below about the steps of conditioning motorcycle boots.

motorcycle leather boots
Conditioned boots look super cool. Image credit: Niles Gibbs / Pexels

How to Condition Leather Motorcycle Boot

First things first, boot cleaning is essential before you can condition them.

Use a damp cloth, a soft brush, and some saddle soap. Don’t use any harsh cleaning products. Make sure you get into all the nooks and crannies, as dirt and grime can build up over time and cause your boots to deteriorate faster.

Once your boots are clean and dry, you can move on to the conditioning step. This is where you’ll want to use a leather conditioner specifically designed for motorcycle boots.

Things You Will Need

  • A leather conditioner for boots
  • A soft, clean cloth or a sponge

The Steps for Conditioning Leather Boots

When choosing a leather conditioner, you have a few different options. You can use a conditioning cream, a wax-based conditioner, or olive oil.

No matter which type of conditioner you choose, be sure to follow the directions on the label carefully. And always test the conditioner on a small area of the boot to ensure it doesn’t damage the leather.

how to condition leather motorcycle boots
Conditioning the boots.

Follow these steps to ensure the best protection for your precious boots:

  1. Use a clean cloth to apply the conditioner to the boots, working it into the leather. Run a small bead around and then gradually coat the entire boot, particularly the toe and heel areas. Remove any excess and let the conditioner soak in for a few minutes.
  2. After the conditioner soaks in, buff it into the leather. Doing this will help restore the leather’s natural oils and keep it looking healthy.
  3. Once you’ve conditioned your boots, you can store them in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight. Suppose you live in an area with high humidity. In that case, consider investing in a dehumidifier for your storage space. It will speed up the drying process and keep the shoe moisture-free.
  4. If you ride in inclement weather, give your motorcycle footwear a waterproofing treatment. Use a waterproofing spray or cream to increase the shoe’s water resistance. Do it regularly to keep the boots from getting soaked through. It will also help to repel dirt and debris

With proper care and attention will make your boots last for years. Make sure to condition them regularly and protect them from the elements, and you’ll be good to go.

If you are more comfortable with visual content, watch this video:

Can You Use a Natural Leather Conditioner?

Of course, you can use a natural, beeswax-based leather conditioner. Beeswax has been used for centuries to condition leather. It’s perfect for motorcycle boots because it can penetrate deep into the leather to moisturize and protect it.

Just apply it to a clean, dry cloth and rub it into the leather in a circular motion. Be sure to get into all the hard-to-reach spots and pay special attention to the areas that get the most wear, like the heel and toe.

How Often Should You Condition Motorcycle Boots?

So how often should you condition your boots to keep them in good condition? It depends on how often you wear them. If you wear them every day, you need to apply a conditioner at least once a month.

If you only wear them occasionally, you can get away with conditioning them every few months.

But no matter the wearing frequency, giving your boots a conditioning treatment is always a good idea before storing them away for the winter.

SEE MORE: Are Motorcycle Boots Necessary? 5 Reasons to Say Yes

Remember, if you want your motorcycle boots to last, you must take care of them. That means regular cleaning and conditioning. Maintaining this care routine is not difficult, and it’s worth it. You can keep your boots looking great for years with time and effort.

If you’ve followed our tips on conditioning leather motorcycle boots, you should now have a pair of boots that look and feel great!

We hope you’ve found this guide helpful and that your motorcycle footwear will serve you well on all your future adventures. Thanks for reading!

FAQs about Conditioning Leather Motorcycle Boots

How often should I condition my leather boots?

You should condition your leather boots once every 4 to 6 months, or as needed when the leather appears dry or cracked. Conditioning helps replenish oils and keeps the leather supple.

What products should I use to condition leather motorcycle boots?

Leather-specific boot conditioners and moisturizers, not shoe polish or cream. Look for those specifically labeled for full grain leather containing natural oils like beeswax and mink oil.

Why is it important to condition leather motorcycle boots?

Conditioning replenishes natural oils and fats in the leather that keep it supple and water resistant, preventing cracking and stiffening. It restores softness and extends the boots’ lifespan.

How long should I wait between coats of conditioner for motorcycle boots?

Let the initial coat fully absorb, around 24 hours, before applying a second coat if desired. Additional coats provide extra moisture and protection but usually aren’t necessary.

Do I need to remove the laces when conditioning leather motorcycle boots?

It’s best practice to remove the laces before applying conditioner to the boots. This will prevent getting conditioner on the laces.

How can I tell if my boots need to be conditioned?

Some signs include boots feeling stiff or losing shape, cracking appearing along seams and stress points, leather looking dull or faded, or boots feeling brittle instead of soft and supple.

Can I condition waterproof motorcycle boots?

Yes, conditioning is especially important for waterproof boots to maintain the water resistant layer. Condition as normal, then reapply waterproofing spray afterward.

What if I conditioned my boots too often?

Overconditioning isn’t harmful but won’t provide extra benefits. The excess conditioner can become sticky and collect dust. Condition as needed based on the condition of the leather, not on a strict schedule.

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