Personal Care

How to care for exotic leather boots

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exotic boots
Exotic boots require some additional tender, loving care
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If exotic boots are your preference, learn how to care for them properly.

Most items made from leather are derived from the skin of common domestic animals like cows or pigs. Exotic leather comes from the skin of exotic animals, reptiles or birds. Alligator, crocodile, many types of snake or lizards, ostrich and stingray are used for exotic leather. Exotic leather is attractive, unique and comes in a wide range of textures and tones that are suited to a variety of purposes. Shoes, wallets, belts and furniture are made from exotic leather.

While there are some species of animal that are endangered, and their hides made illegal to use for leather, many animals are abundant and not threatened by the leather trade. A reputable dealer will only sell exotic leather products that are legally obtained and traded in their country of origin.

If you are the owner of a pair of ostrich boots -- which is considered an exotic leather -- you obviously want to keep them in tip top shape. This can be achieved rather easily, since ostrich boots are considered low maintenance when it comes to exotic boots. Ostrich leather is very resistant to scratches and scuffs although no one is sure why they are so resilient.

To care for ostrich boots, dust off any loose dirt or debris with a cloth or brush Use professional quality boot care products. Use a lanolin based leather conditioner, such as Bick 4, to thoroughly clean the boot. Afterward, apply a fine layer of a neutral shoe cream, after which you must rub or buff the boot with a soft cloth until you reach the desired luster. If you want your boots to be exceptionally shiny, apply a very thin covering of paste polish on the darker colors of the boot and buff some more.

Ostrich boots, although considered exotic, are durable, unlike most other exotic leathers. They do not require any more maintenance or care than a non-exotic leather boot. Most exotic boots, including alligator, eel, elephant, water snake, lizard and python, require a little extra care than do your run-of-the-mill cowboy boots.

Reptile leathers, which include snake, lizard and alligator, require frequent applications of conditioner, boot cream or light applications of Vaseline. Vaseline can be used along with the conditioner and boot cream if you prefer. These skins consist of an underlying level of membrane, which holds the scales together. Consequently the leather requires routine lubricating to prevent scale loss and cracking.

When you are wiping off your snakeskin boot to remove dust and dirt, wipe against the scales and then apply a cream polish and polish with the grain of the scales.

When using conditioning cream on an exotic boot, use a matching cream polish, which renews the color of the leather. If you cannot find a matching cream color use a neutral color cream. You should also use neutral colors when going over the special effects or embroidery, especially on the fancy western boots, because you want to maintain the colors of threads and other decorations.

If you know that you are going to be walking in mud or manure, coat your boot with Mink Oil or Snow Seal. If your boots get totally immersed in gunk you can rinse them off with a little water. Let the boot dry at room temperature and then add another coat of conditioner.

If mud gets into the crevices, use a reptile skin conditioner and cleaner that comes in spray form. Position the spray nozzle approximately six inches away from your boot and spray. The contents will foam and this will help extract the debris and dirt out of the scales. If you leave the spray on for more than four minutes a white residue will result; however, this can be wiped off with a damp cloth.

Get in the habit of wiping off your boots as soon as you remove them. This prevents dust, pollen and dirt from making tiny cuts within the crevices in the boot. Cuts allow moisture and dirt to penetrate an exotic skin, which can cause irreversible damage. Boot trees and shaft shapers help keep exotic leather boots in excellent condition.


Ostrich Boot Care
Video: Cleaning Cowboy Boots

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