I just got a new pair of “vintage” work boots and I’m wondering how I should go about maintaining them. The leather is dull, not shiny, and I’m not sure what kind of shoe-care products I should be using. Any suggestions?
We’re not sure if those “quotes” mean that you think “vintage” is jargon that demands to be set apart, or whether they mean that your boots are faux-vintage.
If the boots aren’t meant to take a shine, then don’t shine them. You can use a conditioner on them – you should be able to get some at your local shoe repair – and that will moisturize the leather and help prevent cracking. This is especially important if they’re actually vintage, and not just “distressed” or whatever. (Can you tell we don’t like simulacra here at PTO?)
One product we’ve had good experiences with is Obenauf’s LP. It’s a combination conditioner and protectant that was originally created for wilderness firefighters. It moisturizes, but it also contains some waxier oils that both protect the outside of your boot and “melt” in over time. It also smells like beeswax, which is nice, especially for those of us who aren’t wilderness firefighters.
And perhaps this is obvious, but we’ll say it anyway: don’t do any of this to suede or completely unfinished leather. It’ll mess up the nap.