Pair of boots

The right one is what they are both supposed to look like. I treated both boots the same, and one turned lighter in color while one stayed almost exactly the same.

  • Just to be clear: did you treat both boots the same or just one of them? If you treated both, did one actually darken? Did the other one become lighter in color or just not as dark as the other one?
    – Elmy
    Aug 24, 2019 at 13:56
  • I did treat both of the boots the same. One didn't darken a whole lot but it did darken a little bit. The other one became lighter in color, the darker one is almost the same color as how I got it from the store. @Elmy Aug 24, 2019 at 14:01
  • 1
    This is important information to answer your question and you should edit your question so people can see it at once without having to read the comments.
    – Elmy
    Aug 24, 2019 at 14:05
  • I'm speculating here, but as these are genuine leather it's possible the two pieces of leather started off as somewhat different colors, and wear and cleaning has revealed this through the removal of some applied pigment/dye.
    – wordsworth
    Nov 5, 2019 at 4:52

2 Answers 2


I never had cowboy boots. But I wore (and still wear) leather shoes, and wore leather jackets. Eventually, some of them got damaged, due to wear usually, especially the jackets.

I applied the following procedure every time, and every time I was extremely satisfied with the results.

  1. Clean the dirt / dust / whatever from the area. I used some wet cloth, eventually with a bit of normal soap (soap only if I was not satisfied with the cleaning).
  2. Wait for the area to dry completely.
  3. Rub the area with some alcohol, to remove eventual grease.
  4. Apply some coloring agent, suitable for leather. For me, shoe polish worked like a charm every time. You may need to be creative, if you really want a special shade. Apply it with a shoe brush. Remove the excess and polish, using the polishing shoe brush. Repeat until satisfied.
  5. Let it "rest" for maybe 1-2 days - if you think it is needed.
  6. Remove all excess of shoe polish.
  7. Apply a grease for leather. I was always satisfied with what I call "paraffin oil" - it was cheap and available for purchase at pharmacies. Remove excess.
  8. Let it rest for at least 1 day to understand the results. If needed, repeat 7.
  9. Carefully remove any excess of grease. You do not want all your clothes oiled.
  10. Happily wear your new old boots.

Note: For the "painting" part: I fixed some shoes, and the shoe cream was a totally different shade of brown. To make things worse, the leather was not suede, but still strongly absorbent. For the moment I thought I ruined the shoes, until I decided that the new color was not bad, but only the difference of colors.

Since I was in a hurry, I used different shoes. Later, I applied enough shoe creme on both shoes, until they looked OK again. I was happy afterwards wearing them.

I plan to apply the same treatment to my car's steering wheel (covered with natural leather).


Isn't saddle "soap" primarily meant to clean leather? Regardless, there are many different formulas sold as such. Maybe the kind that you used cleaned off the dirt or even the dye in the polish.

Neatsfoot oil darkens everything leather that I have ever used it on.

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