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So, why, really, can't I oil my tall boots?

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  • So, why, really, can't I oil my tall boots?

    I have a pair of new (bought used but never worn) tall boots,
    (Ariat Crown Pros, no zipper). I now know that you all say not to oil or condition them. I always have boot trees in them, so they won't drop down.

    All my old boots, I've oiled (I love Tanners) and had nice soft boots, no dropping problems (but I buy super tall).

    They did loose their shine from the oil but no big deal. It made them soft and easy to deal with.

    Please stop me from getting this pair with the oil, also.

    With a more stiff boot, do you get a more stable leg? (That idea Might stop me from oiling.)

  • #2
    You can't oil them because I will beat you upside the head with them if you do!!! But seriously, I think it's mostly because it takes the shine out of them.

    Just wipe them down with a VERY damp sponge to clean them. Are they really stiff? I have a pair that broke in quite easily--and I don't ride in them everyday either. Regularly applying a thin layer of a good quality polish will not only make then look better but it will also protect the leather.

    If you do want to condition them I would use Vogel's.
    Originally posted by EquineImagined
    My subconscious is a wretched insufferable beotch.


    • #3
      Oil will prevent the boots from ever having a good shine. I wipe mine off with a damp cloth or sponge first, and never use anything but Meltonian boot cream to polish and condition them. The polish adds a protective coating and helps repel dirt and moisture I think. I have 40 year old custom Dehners that are still gorgous and supple.


      • Original Poster

        Thanks Herbie, BAC.

        Shine - eh, no big deal to me. Actually, less shiny hides any scratches better. I don't know, do we really need/like shine?

        If a stiffer boot gives me a more steady, secure type leg - that may keep me away from the oil.

        My old boots were (as you know) rather oiled. Someone once remarked, "Oh, a matte finish. Hmm . . . , but that's rather cool." They were just matte because of being oiled and a bit used.

        I haven't had new boots in eons. These are pretty stiff, imo, but I'm just a soft, oiled leather kind of person and I'm used to half-chaps and old soft boots. (They probably not that stiff to you all. They are a good quality - the older Ariat Crowne Pros).

        I guess I better try not oiling this time (and see how they turn out, at least). Must go hide Tanners and sit on hands.

        Tx again.


        • #5
          This has me curious now too... as I've been using conditioner on my boots since I got them as a teenager. I admit, no one ever really sat me down and taught how to properly clean and polish boots.

          I normally wipe off any dried mud with a wet cloth (or papertowel if I'm being super ghetto), apply a light layer Lexol leather condition, and then apply black polish. The polish I use recommends sprinkling some water on the item and then buffing to add more shine. I've done this, but I'm honestly not sure if they really loook that much more shiny. But they are shiny... not that wet shine, but definitely reflecting light.

          So I guess my question is, should I not be applying conditioner? And also, is there any different between black polish sold as "shoe polish" and black polish from a tack store labeled as "boot polish"?


          • #6
            The lexol conditioner to me is too greasy, which is why I prefer the Vogel conditioner, but to be honest with you I've never used it on my Ariats, only on my Vogels (that I can sadly no longer wear since I fractured my heel).

            IMO the most important thing to maintaining a good shine is to never get them wet. If they are muddy take a barely damp sponge to get the mud off--do not use glycerine either! You can also let the mud dry and brush it off.

            I've never used shoe polish to do my boots, but I think it is more of a wax rather than a creme. I use URAD cream polish and think it works great. I polish my boots almost every time I wear them but applying just a thin layer, letting it dry and buffing it with a soft brush.

            But what we actually need is for someone with Military experience to chime in and tell us how it's really done!
            Originally posted by EquineImagined
            My subconscious is a wretched insufferable beotch.


            • #7
              *shrug* LE, not military here, and I apply a thick layer of Kiwi and use a brush. Some people use the flick-water-on-the-wax and polish with a rag method, which is more of the mirror shine you guys might be thinking of...

              SO (military) and I both like the buffed look for our work boots. I would never dream of doing more than cleaning my riding boots with something other than water, maybe buffing the toe if there was a scratch on them. But I just don't care about my boots that much, never have. My horse is shiny though!
              COTH's official mini-donk enabler

              "I am all for reaching out, but in some situations it needs to be done with a rolled up news paper." Alagirl


              • #8
                I read recently on COTH that Vogel no longer makes their conditioner, so they recommend Lexol conditioner instead. So it must be OK to use Lexol, which I do. I only use it on the insides, though, and not every time I polish. Mostly I just wipe off with a damp wash cloth. So far, so good on my much loved pull on Vogels!
                Mon Ogon (Mo) and Those Wer the Days (Derby)


                • #9
                  My husband was in the Army, and I just asked him what they did. He said they rubbed on the boot polish, let it dry, buffed it up, and then took cotton balls moistened with rubbing alcohol and rubbed the boots with the cotton ball in tiny circles. He said you could see your face in the boots. He also said that it could potentially dry out the leather....but that's what they did...everyday. That was in the early 70's, and he still has his boots.


                  • #10
                    More stupid questions from me. lol How do you know when polish is dry (I also use the solid Kiwi stuff)? And what are these brushes everyone's talking about?


                    • #11
                      My old Dad taught me literally to spit and polish.

                      Take a damp cloth to wipe clean, then first of all brush on Kiwi black polish, apply with stiff (ish) brush, then buff with a soft brush, then polish with a soft cloth.


                      Take cloth, wrap it around your forefinger, dip it on the polish, then literally spit on the boot, and work it in well with your finger, wrapped in it's kiwi dipped cloth. Work it in small circles until all the polish is absorbed and a shine appears, then repeat in a small spot next to the first.

                      Being as I usually lack a lot of patience, I only give the full 'spit and polish' treatment to toe and heel caps, but you can get them to shine like a mirror this way.
                      I'm not sure if I grew out of stupid or ran out of brave.

                      Practicing Member of the Not too Klassy for Boxed Wine Clique


                      • Original Poster

                        Oh, dear Herbie, you'd never let me in the same room as your boots.

                        <IMO the most important thing to maintaining a good shine is to never get them wet.>

                        So, I used to Murphys soap them once a week to get the mud/sweat/grime off, rinse under sink, dry w. paper towels, let dry overnight. Oil when needed. And polish - what's that?

                        They stayed in pretty good shape; just have a matte finish.

                        I guess the water/oil breaks down the finish the company puts on them?


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by sonomacounty View Post
                          Oh, dear Herbie, you'd never let me in the same room as your boots.
                          Haha you're probably right! I'm so crazy that I don't even give baths in my PADDOCK boots--they are perfectly polished as well. Even my horse's eskadrons are polished for that matter. What can I say, I have issues.

                          That being said, if you don't care about shine, I think what you're doing us just fine!

                          And I guess I'd better save my Vogel's conditioner for a rainy (lilerally!) day if they've stopped making it!
                          Originally posted by EquineImagined
                          My subconscious is a wretched insufferable beotch.


                          • #14
                            I agree with everybody who uses Kiwi. The only shoepolish which works. It makes them shiny and IMO also exactly as soft as required.
                            Only water to remove dirt and afterward you have to dry them before you put on Kiwi.

                            After I found out you even get it in Publix over here I got really happy. In Germany its more tricky to get it....


                            • #15
                              Here is a good article in Practical Horseman regarding tall boot care.


                              NO: saddle soap, Murphy's Oil soap, oil, Lederbalsam.

                              YES: damp cloth, castile soap (rarely and sparingly), Lexol conditioner, Leather CPR, Leather Therapy conditioner, Kiwi Parade polish, yes other high quality wax based polishes.



                              • #16
                                I'm breaking in new (brown ) dressage boots at the moment.

                                If the ankles are biting you, saddle soap or conditioner or mineral oil on the INSIDE of the boot, not the outside. Apart from anything else, if the boots are lined, the softening agent is never going to get there if you put it on the outside.

                                Oh, and remember not to polish the inner calf of the boot unless you want to listen to it squeak against your saddle...


                                • #17
                                  Those Crowne Pros are super thick and stiff. I have a pair I got off eBay super cheap and a year later (besides the broken zipper, GRRR!), they are still pretty stiff, but I have decided I kind of like that. My ancient, only for shows Vogels feel really strange to me, now, as do the brand new Ariat Heritage Selects(way thinner leather) I've been wearing since my Crowne Pro zipper broke.
                                  I made a pilgrimmage to Vogel in NYC after the boot conditioner and was told the company they got it from no longer made it and they recommended Lexol. I haven't done that, yet. I only use their polish, too, but find that it NEVER seems to dry. I always end up getting it on my pants.


                                  • #18
                                    Military here, they taught us how to polish our boots using a slightly more sanitary version of spit and polish. Basically rub regular kiwi wax (not the parade gloss) in small circles on the toe and heel cap. Let dry and then wet a cotton ball with water (just a little, not soaking wet) then buff in small circles. The water helps push the wax into the grain, rather than scraping it off.

                                    You have to rinse and repeat this process until you finally fill in the grain of the leather and can get a nice smooth surface. It can take hours at first, but once you have a good base you just have to add a single layer and buff unless you get a really nasty scuff.

                                    This method can only be used on the toe and heel because it creates a hard "shell" of wax that completely fills in the grain of the leather. If used on areas of the boot that flex it will crack and fall off.

                                    For the rest of the boot a light layer of wax buffed with a brush or, better yet, with an old pair of panty hose works to get a nice soft glow over the rest of the boot. Was humerous to see our ex-fireman drill seargent pull out a pair of knee highs and tell us they were his secret weapon for a good pair of boots.
                                    For the horse color genetics junky


                                    • #19
                                      Aw, Twisting, your post reminds me of my Marine father, who took great pride in the polish of his shoes and taught me as a kid how to take care of my own. Thanks for the sweet reminder of someone I miss every day.


                                      • #20
                                        I don't think I've ever seen a soft pair of Ariat's to be honest.