I received a question from a loyal blog reader who asked,
I recently purchased my first pair of full quill ostrich boots and have a question about caring for them. Do I need to worry about damaging the raised follicles when rubbing in conditioner or buffing polish? Some of them have a bit of ‘fray’ at the crown of the bump that moves back and forth as I rub them. Is some dulling of the follicles on ostrich leather normal with wear?
Ah, yes, how does one care for ostrich skin cowboy boots?
My reply was as follows–
Caring for ostrich boots is easy — a light rub with a very small amount of leather conditioner such as Bick 4 or Lexol over the vamp (full quill foot) of each boot, as well as on the shafts, heel counters, etc. — would do just fine. Do not buff or use wax polish the full-quill vamp (foot). Buffing with a brush can damage the quill appearance, and paste wax can cake up around the quills and dull the appearance quickly.
If you see some “dulling” of the quills — that could be from build-up of wax or too much conditioner. In that case, get some leather cleaner (Lexol or Bick 1 leather cleaner), follow the label directions, and remove the build-up. Never use wax on exotic skins — only use paste shoe wax on real cow (or deer or kangaroo) leather.
Yes, over time, the quill areas on full-quill boots eventually become a bit more dull as they oxidize when exposed to air. Using a good quality leather conditioner occasionally will delay or prevent that process from happening.
The final word of advice: “a little bit” goes a long way. Use leather conditioner sparingly. “More is better” does not apply and actually makes things worse.
This video by the makers of Bickmore products illustrates the process of cleaning and caring for ostrich skin cowboy boots:
Life is short: care for your boots!