This guide will help you repair leather boots that have developed cracks. It is important to clean the boots before repairing them, as dirt and other substances can be trapped in the cracks and inhibit adhesive bonds.
Once you’ve patched up your footwear with this fix, soak them overnight in water to ensure they remain supple. Remember to take care of your leather goods by keeping them out of the water, away from direct sunlight, not overloading with too much weight, and treating them with a protectant for prolonged life.
How to Repair Cracked Leather Boots?
What you need:
- Latex, vinyl, or plastic gloves
- Vegetable-tanned leather scraps pieces (other leathers might not survive this process)
- Leather adhesive (See below for more info)
Step 1: Remove all laces from the boot
Remove the laces from the boot. This will help you to create the right shape for your patch. When removing the laces, try to separate the threads that are already snapped with your fingers.
Step 2: Cut out rough shapes of your patch
Now you need to cut out rough shapes of your patch using a ruler and create a pattern so that you can carefully hand stitch them together. Cutting out the pattern is necessary so that when you do start stitching, it will be proportionate with not too much excess anywhere or any significant overlap.
Step 3: Use adhesive
Next, thinly spread your adhesive onto tufts of leather, making sure that they are evenly distributed throughout the boot (this is important because if there’s too much or not enough, then it won’t stick properly, wasting your time). Next, line up your patch of leather to the boot. Make sure you smoothly side it over the cracks, stopping at the stitches of the shoe.
Step 4: Sandwich your patch between more leather for extra support
Sandwich your patch between two pieces of more leather for extra support. Next, stitch the boots using a needle and thread in a tight, neat pattern around all edges of your patch. Remove any threads that are already broken by pulling them out. Allow them to dry overnight to ensure that they adhere properly and form a strong bond.
Step 5: Alternatives
If you’re looking for another way to repair your leather boots, consider using some mink oil. Mink oil is a natural product that helps preserve and soften the leather. To do this, you need to moisten a small cloth with mink oil and rub it into the leather. Make sure you remove any excess to prevent slipping over your boots.
Using these steps will make it easy for you to repair and sandwich together two layers of leather to reinforce them and make them last longer. Of course, this method can be adjusted depending on how badly cracked your boots are or the condition of the existing material it is made from; however, these steps should help you get started.
What Causes Leather Shoes to Crack?
The leather is exposed to extreme heat or cold
There are numerous reasons why your leather boots may experience cracking. One of the reasons why cracks form is that the leather is exposed to extreme heat or cold. If your shoes are exposed to extreme heat or cold, then take them out of your closet and leave them out in the air overnight. The air will allow them to dry off and re-absorb moisture which may cause cracking.
Poor quality leather
Another reason your boots may crack is due to the material used during manufacturing, or it could be due to poor-quality leather. For instance, if you’ve just purchased a new pair of boots, they’re likely to crack if they don’t have enough time to break in.
On the other hand, if you purchase used boots, then they may already be cracked. Boots with holes in them are prone to cracking because they’re more likely to remain wet with sweat and become chilled.
Clean Boots Before Treating Cracks
Leather is a natural material that contains a significant amount of oil. If leather boots are not cleaned properly, this can result in cracking.
Step 1: Remove any mold or mildew that you notice on the shoes
Any visible green spots on the shoes will invariably obstruct your repairs. Take your shoes outside first to avoid bringing mold or mildew spores into your home. Then, using a soft-bristled brush or a dry cloth, scrub the spots.
If you’re having difficulty removing the green spots, dampen the brush or towel in a small amount of warm water. Consider discarding the brush or towel after use to prevent the spread of mold spores. An old toothbrush makes an excellent scrubbing tool. When you’re finished, you can discard it.
Additionally, inspect the storage area for mold and mildew. Frequently, the spores germinate in warm or moist storage areas. To neutralize the spores, dilute bleach in water.
Step 2: With a damp cloth or brush, remove as much grime as possible
Utilize a cotton cloth, a microfiber cloth, or a decent scrub brush for this task. First, in very small amounts of warm water, dampen your scrubber. Then, from top to bottom, wipe the entire shoe, removing as much visible grime as possible.
Rep with the other shoe to clean and moisten it lightly. Ensure that the cloth or brush is not dripping with water. Leather is not intended to be submerged in water. A light coating will not harm it and will also aid the next cleaner you use.
Step 3: Distribute a leather cleaner evenly between the two shoes
While saddle soap is frequently used to restore damaged leather, there are numerous other cleaners available. First, scrub the shoes in a circular motion with a shoe dauber or cotton cloth dipped in soap. Keep an eye out for the leather lightening in color as the lather extracts dirt and moisture. Next, scrub the shoes until they feel dry and flexible to the touch.
Lye is abrasive on leather shoes, so avoid cleaners that contain a high concentration of lye. Rather than that, create your own or purchase a product designed specifically for shoes.
Online, you can purchase any leather treatment product you require, including soap.
Additionally, check your local general store, home improvement store, or store that specializes in leather goods. Another option is to purchase a leather care kit. A good kit will include nearly everything you need, such as a cleaner, conditioner, filler, and applicators.
Step 4: With a clean cloth, dry the leather
Remove the dirt, cleaner, and water immediately with another cotton or microfiber cloth. Buff the leather in a circular motion until the entire surface of both shoes is scrubbed. Particular attention should be paid to the cracks. Scrub those areas vigorously to remove any dirt hiding in the cracks.
Another option is to leave the cleaner to dry overnight. This is safe to do with saddle soap; however, consult the manufacturer’s recommendations for other products. Finally, dry your shoes by hand if they are still dirty or if you intend to work on them immediately.
Repairing Deep Cracks in Leather Boots Using Shoe Cream and Mink Oil
Clean them is by using saddle soap
As you know, saddle soap is made with oils and waxes. This makes it ideal for restoring good leather shoes. When you utilize saddle soap to clean leather boots, your goal is to remove any dirt, stains, or conditioners but not the oil.
To do this, use a microfiber cloth or soft, absorbent cloth that will not cause abrasions to the shoe’s skin. Next, apply an even layer of dampened soap over the entire shoe with your hands. Make sure you rinse your hands after touching the shoe so as not to leave any residual oil on them, which can stain upholstery or carpeting if you touch it afterward.
Stuff your shoes with a newspaper
Place your boots in a clean plastic bag and fill it with newspaper to absorb moisture and prevent the further spreading of mold and mildew. This will allow the boot to dry completely for at least 24 hours. After that, you can remove the boots from the bag, put them back in your closet or on a flat surface where they will be safe from dust and dirt.
Apply mink oil
Before applying the mink oil:
- Make sure your boots are completely dry and clean.
- Put a little mink oil and rub it all over the boot with your fingers.
- Run your fingers over the entire surface until you have completely covered the shoe with a thin layer of mink oil.
- Allow the boots to dwell for at least 24 hours before storing them rack or shoebox.
Spread some shoe cream
Apply a small amount of a cleaner or a mixture of saddle soap and mineral oil to lightly rub in the leather. After the leather is completely dry, apply a thick coat of shoe cream all over the shoe. Let it dry for approximately three hours before wearing so you can finish up by giving the boot one final light coat before putting them on. Apply this layer to add an extra layer of protection from future wear and tear.
Can cracked leather be repaired?
Yes, cracked leather can be repaired. Cracks are an indication that the leather needs to be conditioned. Condition the leather with mink oil or boot cream until it is supple again. You can also choose to use a compound filler if the crack is too large for just a conditioner.
How long does it take for cracked leather to dry?
It depends on the thickness of the leather, how much moisture content it contains, and the humidity in your living space. It may take up to 24 hours for thick or damp leather shoes to dry completely (thin or new shoes will dry faster). If you live in a very humid area, ensure good ventilation when drying your shoes. And, you can also use a hairdryer to speed up the drying process.
Are leather shoes and boots waterproof?
Leather shoes and boots are not completely waterproof. They will keep water and other elements such as dust and dirt, but not liquids such as sweat or shampoo. Select a shoe that is suitable for your preferences. For example, if you work in a dusty environment, do not choose a shoe with a rubber foot sole to prevent the dirt from getting into the shoe itself.
Can I have my leather shoes restored?
Yes, most quality leather shoes can be restored with saddle soap. The advantages of using saddle soap are that it is compatible with many types of shoe polish, and it does not contain oils. So, your shoes can also be protected from the harsh elements with the use of saddle soap. However, you have to keep in mind that saddle soap has a greasy effect on the leather, which will make it sticky when you touch it.
How do I stop my leather walking boots from cracking?
It is best to treat the affected area with a penetrating cream to stop water from getting into the leather. Then, wait at least eight hours before wearing the boots for you to let the material dry completely. If there is a possibility that you will need to use boots in wet weather, select a waterproof shoe.