How To Repair Cracked Leather Boots

If you wear leather boots for work, hiking, fashion or for riding, you must know how to repair cracked leather boots.

Leather has this cool chic to it. It is rustic and durable. However, on the flipside, it requires frequent maintenance and care for restoration.

One of the banes of leather boots is that they crack easily especially when they are not conditioned. If you expose yours to water and sunshine, these shoes will start to crack.

Imagine your timberland boots cracking! Nasty, isn’t it? When leather cracks, there is a separation of fibers. That is why if possible, you should know how to stop leather boots from cracking.

But don’t toss them away just yet. There are still some restoration techniques that you can use to prolong the lifespan of your footwear.

It is not hard to do it too, does not take a whole day or anything like that.

For restoring leather boots, follow the steps that we have outlined below:

Steps for how to fix cracked leather shoes

You might need a day or two, perhaps more for the job at hand. Therefore, we recommend that you do your leather boot restoration during the weekend, on Saturday so that they can dry out (if need be) on Sunday and then you can wear them to work on Monday.

Step 1: Gather all the things that you will need

You will need some, or all of the following things for how to recondition leather boots:

  • Water
  • Leather conditioning product
  • Palette knife
  • Cotton cloths
  • Shoe brush
  • Leather moisturizer such as mink oil
  • Leather soap/preferably saddle soap
  • Recoloring cream

Step 2: Clean the boots thoroughly

You need to clean your boots thoroughly. In the cracked leather restoration process, you will use certain products and they will not bond well with dirty surfaces.

If you have been using the boots for wading in mud, they will have caked on mud on them. You need to get rid of that.

One method that gets all the superficial mud out of the shoes is to slap them against each other. That way, all the dried mud will fall off. You may need to lay some old newspapers on the floor to hold the dirt and dust.

Image of repairing cracked leather boots

Remove the boot laces and the insoles. Inspect the boots carefully. When cleaning your footwear, you can find any defaults that need your attention. If you need to clean the boots in water, go ahead. However, for the sake of time, it is best to wipe the boots upper with a damp rag. You may clean the soles in water but do not immerse the boots inside because they will take too long to dry once the leather soaks up the water.

You will also realize that cleaning the boots exposes all the cracks in the leather. This will eventually make your leather crack repair easy.

Step 3: Using Leather Cleaner to repair cracked boots

The dirt and grime are gone and the boots are dry. It is now time to apply your leather cleaner or saddle soap, which is going to brighten the leather so that the cracks can stand out completely.

Before you can start to apply your cleaner on the boots, stuff them up with old newspapers. That way, the cleaner will spread easily.

Some people prefer to stuff theirs afterwards, but it really does not matter whether you stuff them before or after.

Saddle soap is just one of the cleaners. There are many more of them in the market. If you do not know what to use, you can visit the leather boots manufacturer’s website to find out what they recommend. Usually, leather cleaning product should not have harsh chemicals as that can cause damage.

Dip a sponge or piece of cloth in your cleaner and apply it on the boots in circular motion. Ensure you spread it all over the boots.

On the container of the leather cleaner, you should see the instructions for application. Follow them for the best outcome.

Step 4: Wipe the leather cleaner out

After step 3, let the shoes stay for some time, say about 60 minutes or as indicated in the instructions for use on the leather cleaner. By this time, the leather cleaner will have absorbed all the dirt. The reason for the wait is that the leather cleaner is usually wet. If you are not in a hurry to wear the boots the following day, you can even leave them overnight at this stage.

Take a clean piece of cloth and wipe the boots thoroughly. Just the same way that you applied the cleaner in circular motions, even when wiping it out, use the same circular motion. Ensure that none remains even inside the cracks.

Step 5: Using moisturizing product

Keep the shoes stuffed with old newspapers rolled into balls to help them retain their natural shape. At this stage, you are going to deal with the hideous cracks on your leather work boots.

Take a small soft brush, or a sponge or you can also use your finger to apply the mink oil into the cracks. The essence of using this product is to get the leather moisturized. It is not necessary to apply the moisturizer over the entire boot. To repair cracked leather shoes, just apply it on the cracks. Besides, you want to leave some for next time.

Make sure that the product seeps into the cracks so that it can soften them. This is one of the most important stages in the process of repairing cracked leather boots.

Once more, please note that mink oil is not the only type of moisturizer for leather that is available in the market. There are tens more popular products. Just use the product of your choice.

You could apply some heat on the boots with a hairdryer, gentle heat to help the moisturizer soak in and soften the boots. The reason for wanting to soften the boots a bit is because most cleaners leave the leather dried out. Dry leather is hard to cure.

Step 6: Using leather filler

Unless they are filled with something solid or with a paste, the cracks in the leather boots will still remain. However, this time around they will be more visible because you have cleaned the boots. Leather filler for shoes is very important. It restores the lost glory of your leather boots.

It is simple to apply this product. You just need a small, clean piece of sponge that you will dip in the product and dab it onto the cracks. However, for the bigger cracks, this might not work. You need to use the palette knife to apply the filler directly onto the cracks.

Once you have filled the cracked leather of both shoes, let them stay for a few hours so that the filler can bond with the leather. It is recommended that they stay for 24 hours to let them dry up.

After some hours, check the shoes. You may have to apply a second round of the leather filler for shoes, but this should be easy too.

Apply re-coloring cream to restore the shoes to their original color.

Image of leather boot restoration


That is it for how to repair cracked leather boots.

They will not be as good as new, but they will look better than when they were all cracked up. For how to stop leather boots from cracking, you will need a maintenance routine where you will apply the right conditioners.

To make it easier for yourself, you should buy a leather boot repair kit because it will have most of the products and materials that we have mentioned here.

It is that easy to restore leather boots DIY, without spending too much money.