How to Take Care of the Leather for Red Wing Shoes

Written by erin legg
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How to Take Care of the Leather for Red Wing Shoes
Caring for the leather of your Red Wing shoes extends their use. (Hilary Brodey/Photodisc/Getty Images)

The Red Wing Shoe Company has been making durable footwear for more than 100 years. Its leather footwear line includes work boots, work shoes and motorcycle boots. These shoes are found all over the world, withstanding a variety of conditions. Understanding the different types of leather and the different requirements for its care can extend the life of the leather.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Warm water
  • Stiff shoe brush or 120 grit sandpaper
  • Waterproofing paste
  • Soft shoe brush or toothbrush
  • Clean cloth
  • Leather protector
  • Suede cleaner bar
  • Silicone
  • Leather cleaner
  • Boot oil or mink oil

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  1. 1

    Clean the leather using warm water and a stiff shoe brush to scuff away any dirt or mud.

  2. 2

    Condition using seal paste. Apply using a soft brush to ensure all cracks and seams are treated. Let penetrate overnight in a warm location, then wipe dry.

  3. 3

    Protect by spraying leather protector. This keeps dirt, water, and salt from getting into the leather and makes it easier to clean.

  1. 1

    Clean using a suede cleaner bar. Follow up by scuffing with a stiff bristle brush to re-engage the nap. A 120 grit sandpaper can also be used to loosen the nap when the suede appears shiny.

  2. 2

    Condition using silicone. Be sure to test an area first, as silicone may discolour the suede.

  3. 3

    Protect by applying leather protector.

  1. 1

    Clean using leather cleaner after wiping the surface with a damp cloth.

  2. 2

    Condition oil-tanned leather with boot oil or mink oil. Both products weatherproof and condition the leather, but mink oil is safe to use on any type of non-suede leather, including waterproof. Condition dry-tanned leather with silicone.

  3. 3

    Apply leather protector spray to the shoe.

Tips and warnings

  • Cleaning Red Wing shoes regularly will keep dirt and dust from damaging the leather. This must be done before conditioning or weatherproofing.
  • Conditioning helps prevent the leather from drying out, cracking or tearing. Conditioning should be done weekly if the boots are used in harsh, wet environments, and up to monthly where it is drier.
  • Protecting the shoes helps keep dirt, moisture and salt from penetrating and staining the leather.
  • Shoe cream can also be used to protect the shoes, and helps bring back the original colour of the leather while offering a shiny finish.
  • Always apply shoe care products according to label instructions.
  • Do not use Red Wing Leather Cleaner on suede or waterproof leather.

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