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Put some shine in your step.

Betsy Cribb

Boots are practically the uniform here in the South: We wear them with sundresses in the summer and our cords in the winter. They carry us through game day tailgates and football games and ferry us through weekends at the family farm. And we don’t have just one pair of boots, either: We’ve got ankle booties for running errands around town, cowboy boots for kicking around the ranch, and knee-high riding boots for those occasions when we need to dial up the polish. And we’ll happily throw on any old pair of boots to head to the local dance hall and do the boot scootin’ boogie. No matter what your boot style, though, there’s only one thing that a good Southerner will use to take care of her boots: saddle soap.

 

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So-called because it’s long been used to clean and condition (you guessed it) saddles, saddle soap is a leather conditioning product that’s used to clean, condition, and protect leather from damage and wear. But you don’t have to be a cowboy or ranch hand to appreciate the qualities that make saddle soap your leather goods’ best friend.

1. It can help prevent your boots’ leather from drying out.

Most saddle soaps contain beeswax and lanolin, a waxy substance with moisturizing properties that’s helpful in conditioning the leather on your boots (and is sometimes used in lip balms and baby lotions). If the leather on your boots gets too dry, it could crack – saddle soap helps prevent this from happening, too.

2. It is a dynamite cleaning agent.

When a damp cloth can’t kick the dirt off your boots, it’s time to bring in the saddle soap. Buff out caked-on mud and other gunk for boots that are ready to take you from town to country and back again.

3. It’ll make your boots shine…and keep them that way (for a little while, anyway)!

In addition to returning your leather boots to the supple state in which they came to you, saddle soap also creates a polished barrier that will maintain the look of your leather once you’ve finished buffing them up. One helpful hint: You should clean your boots with saddle soap once every few months to ensure maximum polish and protection, but no more! Conditioning them too often will infuse the leather with too much moisture and then…hello, mildew.

If you’re new to saddle soap, try one of these cowboy-approved classics: Fiebing’s Saddle Soap or KIWI Saddle Soap.

So go ahead, shine up your boots and take them walking – that’s what they were made for, after all!