How to Make Steel Toe Boots Last Longer? (17 Ways)

Steel toe boots definitely are a pinch for your pockets and you cannot keep buying them after every while, right?

But you definitely need to wear them to work everyday and for the very same reason they get damaged earlier than your causal wear shoes and boots!

Steel toe boots can face various issues like the cracking of the steel toe caps after suffering an impact, fading of the color of the leather, developing cracks, drying out of the leather, developing creases, wearing off of the sole, thinning of the insole, etc.

How to Make Steel Toe Boots Last Longer

So, what do you do after your steel toe boots have developed any of the above-mentioned problems?

You throw them right away?

Or you want to mend those problems?

If you want the second one, then you have come just to the right place because in this article I am going to share with you 17 amazing tips to make your steel toe boots last longer so that you can wear them for years without investing in a new pair of boots!

Wondering why and how to do these things?

Well, you will come to know in just a few minutes of reading….

17 ways to make steel toe boots last longer

Proper care and maintenance are the key to make steel toe boots last longer. But let’s find out the ways of how to take proper care of the steel toe boots so that it lasts longer:

1. Have alternate pairs of boots

Having an alternate pair of boots is very necessary because leather sometimes need time to repair and relieve by itself.

Also, if they are wet for some reason, or they have developed cracks and creases, you need to treat them first and repair the damages before wearing them to work again.

2. Do not wear wet pair of boots to work

This is very important to remember. You should never wear wet boots to work if they have not dried completely.

Wearing wet boots to work again will make the condition even worse and will damage the leather fibers completely.

3. Insert an extra pair of insoles in the boots

With regular wear, the insoles of the boots start to thin or become pressed. You then start feeling uncomfortable in walking in those boots.

Therefore, after wearing the boots for a few months, its better to insert a new insole that suits your needs. You can get the memory foam ones or you can also get the orthopedic ones.

4. Re-sole the boots before they are totally worn out

When the outsole of the boots starts to thin, you experience hardness while walking in the boots. Once you experience such condition, know that its time to re-sole your boots.

You can get a pair of new outsoles and do it on your own or you can take your boots to the shoe-makers for the same. In case you want to do it on your own, here are the steps below:

1.) Use a knife to take out the old sole from the boots.

2.) If the sole is secured with nuts, make use of the plier to take the sole out.

3.) Use a sandpaper to even out the lower of the boots and apply a glue to the lower of the boots.

4.) Leave in the glue to semi-dry for a few minutes.

5.) Apply the glue to the new outsole and let it semi-dry too.

6.) Take the glued outsole and press it hard on the lower of the boots.

Make use of some nuts to secure the outsole permanently to the boots. You can do it with the help of hammers.

5. Try double-stitching the seams of the boots

Seam is the part of the boots which attaches the outsole of the boots to its uppers. The very first problem that boots show is that the outsoles come out of the boots. Therefore, in order to make your boots more durable, you should double-stitch the seams.

6. Wash them every month

Do you wear dirty clothes every day to work? Not really, right? So, how can you wear those dirty boots to work regularly? There is no doubt in the fact that your boots will get dirty in the work. But this is also true that it is not possible to clean and wash them every day you come back home.

But you can certainly spare a day in a month to clean and wash those dirty boots and that is going to increase the life of the boots as well.

Dirt and grim block the pores of the leather and decreases their breathability. Such leather will damage soon. Therefore, cleaning them after a few days of wear is very important.

Soap Water Solution

In order to wash your steel toe boots, you must first take out the insoles and laces and wash them separately. Then you need to clean the outer of the boots by removing the loose dirt from the uppers using a horsehair brush.

Then you need to prepare a soap-water solution and use a soft bristled toothbrush to clean the inside as well as the outside of the boots.

Next step is to clean off the soap-water solution with clean water. You can run your boots under water or you can also make use of a microfiber cloth dipped in water for the same. At last, you need to dry your boots thoroughly under the fan or using a hair dryer or boot dryer. 

7. Oiling the boots is very important

Oiling the boots has several benefits in increasing the life of the leather. Oiling helps to add shine to the leather, it conditions the leather, it makes the leather water-repellent, it helps to alter fading, it makes the leather soft and supple, it makes the leather flexible. Some very effective oils to condition leather are mink oil, coconut oil, jojoba oil, etc.

8. Proper conditioning of the boots is essential

Conditioning is the 3rd step to washing the boots. After oiling, you would want to add another layer of moisture just in case your boots have turned out extremely dry. Or conditioning can be done after washing if you want to avoid the oiling.

Leather conditioners work great in returning the essential moisture, nutrients and oil to the leather, thus saving them from drying out, fading and developing creases and cracks.

Apply the conditioner in gentle circular motion and leave it in the boots for a few minutes. Later wipe off the excess conditioner from the boots and let them dry out completely.

9. Spray leather protectant sprays

Leather protectant sprays act as a barrier for the leather against all the elements of nature. They help to lock in the moisture and essential oils of the leather thus preventing the leather from drying out and forming cracks, they increase the water repellency ability of the leather and also save the leather from scratches and fading. 

10. Waterproof the leather

Waterproofing of the boots is very essential to increase the shell life of the boots. Some boots come with waterproof coatings and some do not.

Whatever it be, you need to add that waterproofing layer to the leather so that water and harsh elements in the work environment can’t damage the leather.

11. Change the laces once they start to worn out

Laces play an important role in the boots. They help to maintain the proper fit of the boots and enable you to walk comfortably in the boots.

But if the laces have worn out, you might face complications in the fittings of the boots and might think that the boots have started to have some problems.

The time you notice threads coming of the laces, replace them with sturdy ones and your boot’s fitting will be back to normal.

12. Dry the boots immediately

Wet boots will damage the leather and drive out all the essential oils and moisture from the boots. It can also develop fungus and mosses in the boots and damage the boots forever.

So, dry the boots as soon as they get wet by wearing them off and driving out all the water from the boots. Ways to dry boots include:

      • Wear them off immediately
      • Stuff towel or newspaper inside the boots to let soak up all the water
      • Wrap the boots in towel to soak up the water from the outside of the boots
      • Dry the boots using a hair dryer or a boot dryer

13. Mend the creases and cracks as soon as they appear

Do not ignore the cracks and creases thinking that there’s enough time left for them to damage your boots. Also, you would not like to wear those shabby and cracked boots, right? Therefore, as soon as you notice the first and slightest crease or crack in the boots, remove them.

You can do away with the cracks and creases by oiling and conditioning the cracks and then weather coating them with protectants. If the cracks are severe, you might have to use sealants.

For creases, proper storing of the boots is necessary. Store the boots in a shoe tree or stuff newspapers in the boots to get the boots to their original shape.

14. Polish the boots before they start fading

After a year or so, due to regular wear, the leather boots will start fading its color or become patchy. The moment you feel that the boots have become lighter in color, polish them using a good leather polish.

But remember, the color of the polish should match the original color of the leather. You can also make use of coconut oil, jojoba oil, olive oil, etc., to polish your boots.

15. Do not expose them to direct heat

If you expose the leather boots to direct sunlight or dry them using heat like near an oven, the leather will fade its color, dry out and form cracks.

16. Store them properly

Storing the boots properly is an integral part of proper maintenance and care. If you do not store the boots rightly, they can form creases.

Therefore, use a shoe tree to store the boots or you can also stuff newspaper inside the boots to maintain their proper shape and save them from developing creases.

17. Replace the steel toe caps once they have suffered an impact

You will surely know this when your steel toe boots have suffered an impact. And after it has, you should know that its time to take out those dented steel toe caps and replace them with new ones because the damaged steel toe caps can never give you the same level of protection. The second time they will receive an impact, they are going to crack.

Average life of steel toe boots:

The average life of steel toe boots is somewhere between 6 months to 1 year! This is the fact for every work boot because you wear them to work every day and they go through a lot in the work environment.

But, with proper care and maintenance, you increase the life of the steel toe boots to 3 to 4 years and in the next section I am going to reveal the ways by which you can do so!

How often should you replace steel toe boots?

In general, you should replace your steel toe boots after every one year. But, the rule of thumb is that you should replace your steel toe boots once you notice dents in the steel toe caps after they have received an impact!

Let’s call it a day!

You can make your steel toe boots last longer only by taking proper care of your boots and maintaining them the right way. Washing, conditioning, polishing, oiling, and storing the boots the right way are the basics.

Alongside, you have to waterproof them, insert new insoles, repair the worn-out soles, double stitch the seams, replace the steel toe caps after an impact and keep an alternate pair of boots.

That’s all with taking care of steel toe boots and increasing their life span!

I hope the next time your steel toe boots start showing any problem, you know the ways to mend it rather than discarding your boots!

See you soon in the next column, till then take care and take proper care of your boots!

Stephen Luettgen
I have 12+ years of experience in construction, inspections, handy work, and currently working as a Construction Site Manager. In today’s day we spent a significant part of our time at workplace and a right work gear can have significant impact not only on your safety but also work quality.

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