Do you want to increase the lifespan of your snake skin boots?
Read here for our guide on how to care for these boots to keep them looking good!
Buying exotic leather boots isn't the same as strolling into Macy's and buying a pair. Exotic leathers can carry a healthy price tag because they're rare and ornate pieces. But they're also investments because a great pair of boots can last for decades.
All exotic leathers (any leather that doesn't come from mammals) need special care. Snake skin boots are no exception. For a lifelong enthusiast or someone buying exotic boots for the first time, the advice is the same. You need to follow a few essential steps to make them last.
Check out our boot experts' helpful tips about how to take care of snakeskin boots.
Basic Steps for Maintaining Snake Skin Boots
Snake skin boots need to be maintained with the same four steps as all leather boots:
There are special considerations for each step, though, so read on to learn more.
Step 1: Cleaning
Over time dirt and dust on snakeskin boots can degrade the leather. For this reason, you need to clean off the dust and debris often.
You should clean your boots after each wear. But as any frustrated homemaker knows, dust builds when boots are sitting unused, too. Even if you wear them rarely, clean your boots often.
The first step in cleaning your snake skin boots is to rub gently with a dry cotton cloth. Stroke along the direction of the scales to keep them from lifting.
After using a soft cloth, grab a small, soft brush like a make-up brush. Use this to detail the crevices between and around the scales. Be careful not to lift the scales in the process.
If there is still some remaining dirt, you can rub the boots gently with a damp cloth. Rub along the direction of the scales.
Make sure the cloth is only slightly damp. Snake scales are waterproof, so any extra water falls into the membranes around them. This can damage the membranes and shorten the life of your boots.
Step 2: Conditioning
If you've cleaned your snake skin boots with a damp cloth, let them dry before you condition them. Conditioning using a specific product to moisturize the leather and make it last.
There are many leather conditioners to choose from, but be sure to choose one labeled for snakeskin. It should be lanolin-based, not oil-based. Oil-based conditioners can clog the pores and make the snake skin drier.
Before you try a new conditioner, do a test spot. Apply the conditioner to a small and discreet area. If the leather doesn't discolor or react poorly, it's safe to use the conditioner elsewhere.
When you're ready to condition, apply the conditioner in several thin layers. Snake skin doesn't absorb conditioner well. The thin layers allow the conditioner to work its magic.
Make sure the conditioner reaches the sole line (where the snake skin meets the sole).
Some snakeskin boots have the snake skin applied on top of cowhide. If this is the case, use a cowhide conditioner on the inside of your boot. The same applies if your boots have leather soles.
There is one caveat to conditioning your boots. You may not want to condition older snake skin boots.
Some older boots were made with a salt-tanning process. In these boots, the conditioner will block the leather from absorbing moisture in the air. This will make the snake skin even drier and shorten the life of the boots.
If you have older snakeskin boots and you aren't sure, it's best not to condition them.
Step 3: Polishing
Cleaning and conditioning your boots help them last longer. Polishing, though, is primarily done for a shiny appearance.
For snake skin, only use a cream polish. Wax polishes, like oil-based conditioners, can clog the pores and harm the boots.
If possible, look for a polish that is labeled for snake skin.
You should also choose a polish that is natural, not colored. In some cases, colored polish can react with the chemicals from the tanning process. This can discolor your boots.
Some people advise that you can choose a colored polish that matches the color of your boots. But it's safest to avoid colored polish altogether with snake skin boots.
Once you've chosen the right polish, apply it and buff gently with a very soft cloth.
Polishing helps most snakeskin boots, but it's not necessary for rattlesnake boot care. Rattlesnake skin tends to retain its natural sheen, so you can skip the polish.
Step 4: Protection
To keep your boots looking their best, you want to protect them from future damage. You can do this by applying a stain protectant and/or water protectant product.
Be sure to look for a non-silicone product. A protectant that is designed for snake skin (or at least for reptile skin) works best. Water protection is especially important because water can damage the membranes between scales.
On top of water protection, there are other steps you can take to keep your boots looking their best:
- Store your boots in a cool, dry place
- Don't store your boots where the sunlight can reach them
- Avoid wearing your boots in wet weather if possible
Don't Forget: Quality Lasts
When it comes to boots, you get what you pay for. All the steps above can help your boots stay in tip-top shape. But if you buy low-quality boots, they still won't last.
Giving your boots a long life begins with the purchase. Snake skin boots are an investment. Take your time to research the most reliable brands. Learn more about python skin, rattlesnake skin, etc. and decide which you prefer.
Talk to people who have had their snakeskin boots for a long time. Find out what type of boots they have and what boot care products they use.
At the end of the day, investing in high-quality snake skin boots and caring for them correctly will pay off. For more boot care tips, check out our blog. Or, start shopping and browse our selection of snakeskin boots.
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