So you just dropped a couple hundy-sticks on a fresh new pair of boots. You'll want to protect that investment so you get years of enjoyment from them. I love the patina leather gets from wear, but I also want to make sure my boots are well taken care of especially after a long Wisconsin winter. Here are a few steps I take to keep them looking their best.
As a general rule of thumb, for all of my leather footwear, my maintenance is pretty standard. After a day's wear, if they're dirty, I'll wipe them down with a horsehair brush or damp cloth and then put in a pair of cedar shoe trees.
Try not to wear the same pair back to back allowing them to dry for at least 24 hours. Condition them every so often to keep the leather in good shape. Leather needs to be conditioned when it feels rough to the touch, is in good condition when it is smooth and soft and is over-conditioned when it feels tacky. A few conditioners I've used and recommend are Lexol Leather Conditioner, Allen Edmonds Conditioner Cleaner, Filson Boot Oil or Obenauf's Leather Oil.
One issue during the Midwest winters is the dreaded salt stains. As soon as possible, wipe the stained area down with a damp cloth and allow them to dry. If a residue forms, wipe them down again with a 50/50 water/white vinegar mix. Let them dry and brush away anything that's left.
If you follow these easy steps, your boots will take care of you for years. Don't worry about some scuffs and scratches from everyday wear, I feel it gives your boots some character and tells your story.