My leather cowboy boots are close to a year old, and I wanted to find a way to break them in to achieve a well worn, comfortable, and aged look ~ like they’d been through a few rodeos and cattle drives by now! 🙂 Unfortunately, as I don’t live on a ranch, haven’t ridden in a rodeo, or participated in even one cattle drive from Montana to Texas, my boots haven’t naturally shown any wear and tear from ridin’ the range.
I’ve worked the leather uppers by hand a number of times to soften the leather, but wasn’t able to achieve much in the way of progress. Knowing that traditional leather horse tack is oiled, I decided to oil my boots with coconut oil in the liquid state (room temperature in the summer). Coconut oil is a solid when cold, and liquid at room temperature ~ as well as reportedly anti-bacterial, anti-microbial, anti-fungal and anti-viral ~ and never goes rancid in the jar.
First, I used a half-inch wide paintbrush to paint the coconut oil on with shoe stretchers inserted into the boots. Then after the coconut oil soaked in and dried overnight, I worked the leather shafts (uppers) in every possible way until both the leather and my hands were tired ~ and then after a few days repeated the entire process from the beginning with the paint brush.
The result is that the leather is now soft and supple, and absorbed the coconut oil well. The leather’s dry to the touch and not greasy, and I’ve decided to not buff them, and leave them in a well-worn looking condition. They may not have seen a rodeo before, but they are considerably softer and more supple now, then when I began the process.
Here are a couple of photos of my well-worn looking boots, and now I’ll wear them for the next year and revisit the issue whether coconut oil did the job I expected it to do, or not. In the meantime, I’ll hope to sign on to a cattle drive or two! 🙂
Update #1 ~ It’s now October 5, 2016, and I’ve since worn my broken-in cowboy boots (Cody James@ Men’s Distressed Round Toe Western Boots) that I love a few times now, as the summer shorts season is coming to a close and it’s time for wearing my Wrangler jeans and cowboy boots! 🙂 The two coconut oil treatments while breaking-in the leather by hand, has worked wonderfully, leaving the leather butter soft and supple, with no negative effects. Each time I wear them now, it feels like I could easily sleep in them, as they’re that comfortable. My only additional update is that I inserted a comfort insole into my boots for walking, and otherwise I’m sold on using coconut oil to treat my boots once a year from now on to keep the leather soft and supple! ☼ 🙂