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Spring weather means spring cleaning- we’re here to help with your footwear (as the weather gets warmer and year round).

As a work boot brand, we build boots and shoes to protect your feet- which means things can get messy. Here’s some tips to revive your boots or shoes back to their original glory:

How to Care for Your Boots and Shoes:

  1. Remove laces. It is not recommended to put laces in a washing machine. The tips of the lace may not survive washing and laces could get wound up in the machine distorting the shape. To be safe, hand wash your laces and hang dry.
  2. Get Rid of Loose Dirt. If your boots or shoes get mud or dirt on them, remove it to keep the leather from drying out.
  3. Clean Your Boots. Apply a leather cleaner to gently remove any remaining dirt that might be stuck to the boots.
    1. For nubuck or suede, use a stiff brush to get the dirt off and avoid getting your boots wet. Remove salt with a mild solution of vinegar and water.
    2. For leather, use a soft cloth or a brush to remove any grime that may be stuck to the shoe’s leather surfaces.
  4. Condition Leather. Apply leather conditioner for 15 minutes and then buff off with a soft cloth. This will protect from any future stains and add shine and keep the leather from cracking.
  5. Dry your boots out. Make sure to loosen them up and air dry them out properly, without excessive heat to avoid the leather cracking. For faster drying, take out the insoles from the insides of the boots.
  6. Rotate boots. Most people will wear boots until they’re worn out. If your boots are taking a beating during work days, they’ll last a lot longer if you rotate them out. Alternating 2 pairs of boots gives each one to dry out in between uses.

More questions? We’ve got answers.

We asked our team of shoe experts to help answer a long list of questions on how to care for your boots. Don’t see your question or still not sure? Let us know what else we can answer in the comments below!

  1. What is the best way to keep my work boots clean?
    On a regular basis, brush away any surface dirt with a soft brush or cloth.
  2. What is the best way to clean mud off my work boot?
    Wash with mild soap and warm water. Be sure to rinse all soap off to avoid leftover residue.
  3. What is the best way to dry my work boots?
    Open your footwear fully to dry and remove the insole and laces and dry at room temperature. Never expose to your boots to direct heat! If you work in wet conditions and your boots are getting soaked, then dried, over and over, the more frequently you use something to nurture the leather, the better.
  4. Will my leather work boots crack?
    Leather will eventually crack or split without proper conditioning. The hide has oils that need to be replenished during the life of the boot.
  5. How do I take care of my leather work boots?
    We recommend treating leather with condition, to maintain the leather’s suppleness.
  6. How can I make my work boots last?
    You can condition your work boots, which will keep the leather from cracking. If you have a nubuck or non-leather upper, you can apply Cat Footwear’s Water and Stain repellent specially formulated to protect all types of Cat footwear including Smooth Leather, Oiled Leather, Suede and Nubuck. Water & Stain Protector applies an invisible, breathable layer of protection against rain, snow, dirt, and stains. This also allows you to easily wipe off dirt and moisture.
  7. How do I condition my work boots ?
    Recommended treatment depends on construction and materials of the footwear, but for leather uppers, use a boot oil or leather conditioner, often found at local shoe stores or hiking stores.
  8. Will conditioning my work boots change their color or appearance?
    Most likely, yes. Try in a small area to see the effect. Make sure you use a non-alcoholic based leather conditioner.  If you have leather boots, we do not recommend putting any oils or waxes on the material as it will change the look of the leather.
  9. What’s the best leather conditioner?
    There are many options available. We recommend checking your local shoe stores or contacting our customer service team for recommendations for your specific type of boots or shoes.
  10. How long should I wait to condition my work boots?
    Do not apply boot oil or boot paste/grease until the boot is broke in.
  11. Can dry or hot weather ruin leather?
    Leather is more damaged by dryness (loss of oils) than by water. Like your skin, it simply dries out. Wind, warm air (truck or car floorboard heaters) dust, chemicals, mud and normal wear (flexing) increase the rate of oil loss.
  12. What is the best way to clean stinky or smelly work boots?
    Spray the shoes with a mix of 50/50 white distilled vinegar and water into your shoe lining and soles and let air dry for 30 minutes. Use a hair dryer if you are in a hurry to dry the shoes. Follow up with baking soda in the shoe overnight.
  13. What is the best way to clean my rubber boots?
    The rubber shell and nylon upper are very durable and clean up easily with a spray of water or gentle scrubbing with soap and water. The rubber upper can be conditioned with wax polish or liquid detergent.
  14. Should I condition my rubber boots?
    It is not recommended to use conditioners on the outsole area. This may cause it to become slick in wet or icy conditions.
  15. Can I repair a hole in my rubber boots?
    Yes, but it does take some time and is not a permanent fix. This might mean it’s time for a new pair of rubber boots!
  16. What should I do if my rubber boots are punctured?
    The natural rubber can be repaired with sealant. First, clean the punctured area thoroughly, then apply the sealant over affected area and wipe to a thin film. The sealant should air dry for at least 24 hours.
  17. What is the best way to clean the inside of my boots?
    To clean the inside of your boots, mix a heaping tablespoon of baking soda into approximately 12 ounces of water. Slosh the mixture around inside the boot, making sure to wet all inside surfaces and then pour the mixture into the other boot and do the same, then dump it out, don’t let it set. Allow the boot to completely dry as the drying action will leach the acids, caused from sweat, out of your boots.
  18. Do I need to break in my work boots?
    Many boots come with comfort guarantees that re-quire no break-in. (To learn more about our boots with comfort guarantees, check out the Cat Footwear Excavator Superlite).
  19. How do I break in my new boots?
    It is best to wear them often and tied tight. If after frequent wear, your work boots are still uncomfortable, reach out to our customer service team to see how we can help.
  20. Is there any product I can use to break in my work boots faster?
    Break in time will vary by boot. To find boots with little break in required, browse our selection of work boots with an EASE EVA Midsole technology, which provides exceptional shock absorption and returns energy.
  21. What is the best way to lace up my work boots?
    It is important to lace the boot tightly over the instep and around the ankle, which allows the leather to seat properly.
  22. Is it possible to lace my boots too tight?
    By re-lacing the boots tightly, you will train the leather to not slip in the heel making for a much better fit after break-in occurs. (Snug is good; snugger is better).
  23. What is the best way to store my boots?
    For longer term storage of your boots, fill them with old socks or t-shirts or newspaper and lay them down on their side.
  24. Are cleaning products harmful to my boots?
    Silicones with harmful chemicals as carriers, including aerosols.  If the cleaning product has a warning label, it is your first indication it can harm leather and fabric.
  25. What is the best way to shine my boots?
    Spread a thick layer of paste polish over the leather to be shined. Wrap a soft, clean cloth around your index finger so you have a smooth area on the end of your finger and dip it in water so it is thoroughly wet but not dripping. Using a small circular motion, buff the dried polish with the wet cloth until a shine starts to develop. Still using the damp rag on your finger, apply a fine layer of polish in a circular motion and keep on rubbing lightly until a hazy shine develops. Keeping the rag damp, build up the shine with thin layers of polish applied in circles with light pressure until a glossy shine develops. When sufficient shine has developed, use a clean, dry, soft cloth to give it a final buff and remove any last haze.
  26. How do I keep my feet warm in my boots?
    You can wear thick socks during colder months. Many boots come with built in insulation. To find boots like these, check out our insulated work boots with Thinsulate.
  27. What is the best way to waterproof my boots?
    There are many products available to waterproof your boots. Many boots come with a waterproof liner built in. We offer a wide selection of waterproof boots and shoes.

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