If you’re into boots and western wear, you might enjoy a pair of exotic cowboy boots. They tend to be a bit pricier because they come from exotic animals bred in captivity.
As you choose an exotic leather boot, it’s important to understand the animal type involved. They are all different and require distinct levels of care and various types of maintenance to prevent deterioration. Here is a quick guide on how to care for boots made with exotic materials—read on to learn how you can enjoy your boots for years without wear and tear.
General Exotic Boot Care
When you have any animal skin, you should know that there is a level of care that will be necessary to keep your footwear working for you long term. Unlike synthetic materials, animal skins can generally last for long periods. Still, because they usually come from the animal’s hide, the material loses its natural oils and micronutrients.
For similar reasons, we must maintain them by regularly cleaning them. They all have different methods of boot care, so this is yet another factor to consider as you choose the perfect western footwear for you.
The more you work with your boots, the more they will work for you. The build-up in your boot’s insole can cause as much harm as the outer build-up, if not more. Make sure you dust off your boots to keep them from drying out after every use and clean the insoles too.
Care for Specific Exotics
Some exotic leathers are very particular when it comes to proper and effective care. Some leathers cannot get wet. The integrity of this type of leather means that you cannot apply most conditioners to them. Others will need a higher level of care, meaning you need to puff and prepare them on a regular basis to keep up that shine and elasticity for years to come. Understanding your specific boot’s needs ensures that you can maintain your footwear without putting it at risk.
Big Game Ostrich and Elephant
Because giant game tends to have tougher hide, it has some natural protection and remains more sensitive to oils and conditioners.
Using more conditioning can lead to faster decay over time. Even just one session of conditioning can change the leather. Similarly, they are also sensitive to moisture, so it’s wise to keep these boots away from water, snow, and ice as much as possible.
They shouldn’t start to unravel on the wearer upon contact with moisture, that said—moisture simply puts the toughness and integrity of the hide in jeopardy. Once too much moisture comes in contact with these kinds of leathers, they will begin to soften and can flake and degrade over time.
We want to slow that process down to a halt so that they remain intact for as long as you wear your boots. Another interesting fact is that you should not handle these leather varieties with your hands due to the natural oils in your skin. This oil will infuse into the leather, softening it and allowing it to break down and even stain the leather in certain spots. Instead, you can wear gloves when wearing them to prevent this form of damage.
When you’re providing your ostrich or elephant boots with daily care, you’ll want to wipe them down gently with a soft brush. Never brush them vigorously or with stiff bristles. Ensure that your brushes are soft but with high-density fibers to do the job correctly.
Finally, an optional step you can take is to use a silicone protectant as an outer shield. Silicone will help to preserve the leather, but one issue is that the protective coating that shields it from the elements can also dry out the leather. Many people are wary of using silicone conditioners to protect their boots, as drying out the leather can create cracks in the material.
These men’s exotic skin boots are even more sensitive than the high-dollar ostrich and elephant discussed previously. Fortunately, some aren’t as hard to care for.
Crocodile and alligator boots are the most durable reptilian leather boots. Due to their tough hides, boots made using these leathers can last for decades when cared for properly.
You won’t need to use conditioner on these boots often, but you might want to apply a light coat yearly just to keep them from drying out and breaking down.
Meanwhile, snakeskin boots are probably the most difficult to care for as they are highly elastic but are frail at the same time. Because these boots have scales, you should wipe them down with a soft rag in the direction the scales fall, but never against the scales. Going against the scales could make them flake off, permanently damaging your boots in a way that’s challenging, if not impossible, to repair.
You should only ever condition your reptile boots with specialized reptile boot conditioners. When you’re buffing out your snakeskins, you’ll always want to use lighter-colored creams always to get the best shine.
If you intend to prepare and maintain snakeskin boots often, remember to apply any leather maintenance supplies with care.
You will encounter sharks and stingrays more often than anything else when browsing through aquatic leather boots. However, several other fish species also appear in the boot leather catalog.
With anything that comes out of the sea, it will be imperative that you keep them dry at all costs. It might sound strange since they came from the water, but the material no longer has the nutrients and characteristics that made it water-friendly before. Therefore, you will have to care for sharkskin or stingray leather differently than you might expect.
Shark and stingray leather are some of the toughest leathers you can find of all aquatic style boots, with shark leather taking the lead. Because of its extreme durability, you can clean your sharkskin with a damp cloth and specialized soaps as often as you see fit. It might help to condition the leather now and then, but it isn’t necessary as often with these boots.
If you’re looking for the best in exotic footwear, you can consult Country View Western Store for all your fashion needs. We carry hand-crafted and hand-tooled exotic boots built to last and can help you learn how to care for boots made with exotic materials.