1. Clean the shoes with leather cleaner to get the grime off the top. Never use a cleaner that contains an acid or a detergent as both destroy the natural oils, damaging and aging the fine leather of the shoe. When necessary, use a proper saddle soap and water for a better cleaning. Be sure to rinse away all of the saddle soap which will damage leather and cause excessive drying. A solution of 50/50 water and white vinegar is an excellent rinsing agent.
2. Condition the leather to soften. While the leather is still slightly moist after a good cleaning, apply a leather conditioner to replace the leather's natural oils. We recommend Lexol conditioner or any good quality conditioner containing lanolin. Set your clean and treated boots aside for 24 hours to dry. It's always a good idea to use shoe trees so that your boots maintain their shape. Later, apply boot polish or wax, and buff to a shine.
3. Use paste, wax or cream polish to shine your shoes. Make sure the polish matches the shoes. Use a cream a shade lighter than the shoe to cover scratches. Neutral is the "color" for light colored shoes. Other colors are best matched by taking a shoe with you when you buy polish. Cream or paste polish moisturizes fine leather, keeps it flexible, and soaks into the leather to allow leather to breathe. Wax polish shines leather better than cream, but it seals the leather and causes it to dry out. Avoid liquid polish, although it puts a fast shine on your shoes it can dry out and crack the leather. You can apply the polish with a soft, clean polishing rag; old socks will work fine. Wrap the corner of the cloth around your first and second fingers of your dominant hand. Twist the remainder of the cloth to tighten the portion around your fingers and hold that part in the palm of your hand. You can also use a horsehair brush dauber instead of a cloth; if you use a dauber, you'll need a different one for each color of polish you use.
4. Allow the shoes to dry (about 10 minutes) then buff the shoe with a polishing brush -- preferably horsehair --and use a soft, clean cloth to bring out a high luster.
5. Weatherproof your shoes. A protective spray is an excellent way to protect your shoes from water, snow, mud, and spills. The best way to protect your shoes is to wipe the leather with a damp cloth, following the instructions on the protector spray. Spray your shoes before wearing and on a regular basis thereafter. A water and stain protective spray for leather, provides water protection, and doesn't alter the color like mink oil can.