Last week, we gave you tips on choosing a pair of cowgirl boots that is right for you. Now, if you are anything like most women, you probably have more than one pair of said boots, which means you don't wear them all equally, and you don't wear them all the time. That brings us to the subject of properly caring for and storing your leather boots when they are not in use.
The best, simplest thing you can do for your cowgirl boots on a daily basis is wipe off the dust. Dust is the arch-enemy of cowgirl and cowboy boots. It causes microscopic cuts in the hide, which ages the leather rapidly. It will also cause finish to wear off and leather to split, usually around stitching.
Your daily routine, after wear, should be to dust your boots off with a soft, damp cloth before putting them away. Also, if you have mud or other debris in the crevices around the stitching, remove it using a q-tip or a soft, baby toothbrush. This is a gentle but efficient way to remove the caked dirt from your boots, and it goes a long way toward extending their life and good looks.
What if you don't use your boots on a daily basis? Say, you only use them in winter time, and want to make sure they are properly stored during the hot summer months.
There are different methods different people swear by for storing leather boots away during the warmer time of the year. Whichever school of thought you decide to follow, the most important thing is not to skip the daily cleaning tips listed above. Also, make sure that anything that needs repair (such as heels) is repaired before boots are stored away.
Here are four steps to follow before storing your boots away for the summer:
Once the boots have been dusted off and cleaned, rub some leather cleaner, mink oil, or olive oil into the leather of your boots. That is especially important if there are any salt or mud/water stains on them. Leather cleaner will remove those.
Fill two socks with baking soda, and tie them off. Insert a filled sock into each boot's toe bed. That will help protect your boots from moisture or odor, as the baking soda will absorb them. Another option to keep your stored boots from absorbing moisture and developing odors is to place some silica gel packets inside each boot for moisture protection, and lavender or cedar chips to combat odors.
Create support for the boot shaft by stuffing it with crumpled paper. This is done to help the shaft retain its shape during all those months your boots will be hiding in the closet. An even better option, although it may require some craftiness on your part, would be to make cardboard 'legs' for your boots. You've probably seen them in your boot shafts when you originally purchased your boots, but who ever saves all the packaging that comes with something they buy? Fear not, they are easy to make.
First, make a paper template of the shape of your boot from the heel portion to the top of the shaft (make sure you use the shaft side opposite the zipper if your boots zip up). Fold your paper in half before drawing the template, so that you get a mirrored image of the side of your boot's shaft once the template is cut. Then, open up your paper template at the fold, place it on top of cardboard, and cut the 'leg'. Lightly fold the cardboard 'leg' in the middle lengthwise, and place it into the boot shaft with the fold facing the front of the boot. You might want to cut your cardboard 'leg' a bit wider than your boot's shaft, so that you can overlap the edges in the back and prevent them from poking a sharp line into the back of the boot.
Place your boots in their original shoebox - if at all possible - or in an appropriate storage bin with a lid. Make sure that the boot toes point away from each other. Storing your boots horizontally in a box helps them maintain their shape, and protects them from dust.
Now that your prized leather boots are happily stored away, go and enjoy some summer fun! Yee-haw, cowgirls!
Do you have any tips and tricks for long term storage of leather boots not mentioned above? Share them in the comments to this post.
Romance and mystery of the Old West, as well as numerous legends surrounding the story of how the West was won, have many of us women folk yearning to dress the cowgirl style. Of course, achieving cowgirl style is virtually impossible without a good pair of boots.
There is something captivating about cowgirl boots that is inexplicable. They are unique, mysterious, chic, and on the right pair of legs, they are downright sexy.
If you are in the market for a good pair of cowgirl boots, there are some things you should pay attention to in order to assure a comfortable long-term relationship with the pair you purchase. First of all, you need to decide what purpose your boots would serve: work or play. That will determine the material and style for your chosen pair. You also might want to set a budget, because cowgirl boots, especially those in the fashion category, can be rather pricey.
Let's assume you are not going to ride horses or rope cattle in your new boots, but are purchasing a pair of fashion boots to go dancing in. What are the things you should be looking for?
1. Size does matter...
Cowgirl boots do not fit like your regular shoes, and the size of shoe you normally wear might not be the size of boot you need. Before you start thinking about shapes and colors, make sure to measure your foot. A good cowgirl boot should fit like it was made for you. True, the leather may stretch a bit with wear, but if the fit doesn't feel good right off the bat, it will not get much better with wear. Make sure you are wearing a pair of boot socks or knee high sports socks when trying the boots on to assure the proper fit.
The most important thing when fitting a boot is that the ball of your foot is at the widest point of the boot. This will alleviate undue stress on your feet. Also, make sure that the boot shank and your arch have matching curves. Next, it is important that the instep fits. You can determine this by taking the leather of the boot between your thumb and index finger and rubbing your thumb across the instep. A very slight wrinkle means the boots fit properly. A large wrinkle means boots are too loose. Last but not least, make sure you have a bit of a heel slippage. About a quarter to half of an inch of slippage is fine.
2. Toe the line...
Toes on cowgirls boots come in different shapes, and it is very important to determine which shape suits your feet best. Are you comfortable wearing pointed-toe shoes or do you prefer rounded toes? If you have a wider foot, square toe would usually be a good choice. Choose a boot toe shape for comfort first, and then for style. Also, make sure that there is about thumb's width of space between your toes and the tip of the boot. Most boot companies put extra reinforcement in the toe area, called "toe cap." This extra reinforcement is stiff, and if toe cap is bothering you in any way, you may need a larger size.
3. A tall drink of water...
Heels of cowgirl boots come in different heights. Standard height is between 3/4 inch to one inch and 3/4. However, fashion cowgirl boots can have much higher heels than that. As cowgirl boots are meant to take you from day into night, go with the heel height that feels most comfortable to you. Unlike other footwear, the statement here is definitely not in the heel height.
4. Loose purse strings...
Invest in a quality pair of cowgirl boots. Good cowgirls boots can be expensive, and it is tempting to start out with a super cheap pair. If you go this route, you will be paying in blisters, discomfort, and dissatisfaction. Also, make sure to pick a pair that matches your personality. For high style pizzazz, look for fancy embroidery and vibrant colors. If you are fun and funky, you will enjoy wild animal prints and exotic leathers. In a nutshell, let the boots "speak to you" and speak about you.
5. Let it all hang out...
To tuck or not to tuck, that is the question. Traditional cowgirl folk will tell you that real cowgirls don't tuck their jeans into their boots. On the other hand, cowgirl fashionistas around the world will tell you to tuck those jeans in and show off your boots. It is up to you to decide which advice you'll take, but keep in mind that skinny jeans look better tucked, and bootcut jeans are meant to be worn untucked.
6. Last words...
Last but not least, apart from jeans, what else can you wear with your cowgirl boots? Dresses, long skirts, short skirts, leggings, gauchos, shorts... possibilities are endless. The only thing to keep in mind when you are wearing your boots with dresses and skirts - if you have short legs - is that you should wear a boot that has shaft height of 10 inches or less. Shorter boots will visually elongate your legs, as more leg will be seen between the top of your boot and your hemline.
Regardless of what style of cowgirl boots you end up choosing, make sure you wear them with the right attitude: fearless, confident, unique, and cowgirl chic. Cowgirl boots are definitely not for a shrinking violet.
(Boot styles shown above can be found at oldgringodirect.com * Allen's Boots * Maverick Style and Ariat.com)
* how the story of hART Sense Design began *
As children, we are often asked by different adults in our lives what we want to be when we grow up. Depending on our interests at the time the question is posed, we might say one thing or another.
In his new book, "Freaks Shall Inherit The Earth," Chris Brogan says that, “many of us were raised to seek out a job that required us to fit in, to conform, to adapt until we fit the mold,” yet most of us secretly yearned for something vastly different. Like many of you, I have thought of pursuing different occupations over the years, from a pediatric dentist, over a language teacher to a technical translator, and I even worked in the latter two professions. However, neither of them made my heart sing. So, I turned to art.
Many people ask how in particular I decided on making jewelry. As a matter of fact, it was a fairly long and somewhat winding road from where I started when I first decided I wanted to do something artsy. After returning to school to earn a degree in Textile Design (no, not fashion design, but textile construction and print design), I briefly worked in the textile industry while at the same time engaging in fine art as a hobby. I mostly painted with acrylics on canvas, and almost simultaneously branched out into painting on silk garments.
All was fine and dandy for a while. I was entering quite a few shows with a certain degree of success... until life took me on a journey from Southern California to an island in Alaska. I soon discovered that my new hometown had a solitary art supply store which was a bit overpriced for my budget. Having canvases and other supplies shipped from the Lower 48 was cost prohibitive, so I started thinking about a more portable artistic form I could undertake. And it "just so happened" that a local jeweler was looking for an apprentice at that time. I took the chance, got the job, and the rest is - as the saying goes - history.
Learning how to do something is only a small part of the puzzle. It took me a while to develop a personal style and signature techniques. Part of that process was again fueled by "circumstances," such as that the city ordinances in areas where I lived prohibited having most of the commonly used jewelry making equipment and chemicals in one's home. As the old adage goes, "necessity is the mother of invention," so I developed my style around techniques that do not require use of any hazardous materials or equipment perceived as hazardous.
As far as inspiration goes, I find it all around me. Having lived mostly in Western states, Western themes became a natural choice for my designs. As I like to say, I am hopelessly roped into the romance, mystery, and history of the Old West. Cowboys, cowgirls, Indians, miners, outlaws, sheriffs, pioneers, gold-diggers, tight-laced ladies, and shady ladies... they have all inspired me to do what I do best - wrangle wire into jewelry that tickles women's fancy.
The gleam of copper reminds me of the Native legend in which the Great Spirit creates the Copper Lady encasing her in copper colored skin; His own skin. He traps the wind and places it in her lungs. So, I knit copper wire into skin-like bracelets, with wind trapped between stitches, giving life to once lifeless piece of metal.
Trembling aspen leaves in the Hills teach me how, when the Great Spirit came to visit the earth during a special full moon, the aspen trees were the only living thing that stood still without even a quiver, failing to honor Him properly. He looked upon them and decreed that, from that day forward, aspens would quiver anytime someone looked upon them, and so it is to this day. I place aspen leaf pendants on necklaces I make as a reminder that everyone will someday tremble in His presence.
Open blue skies above the prairie whisper every day about interconnectedness of all: the Earth and the Heavens, and all living things. Mitakuye Oyasin. So, I include turquoise in my designs to help my customers carry a little piece of heaven wherever the trails may take them.
Like the full moon spreads her silver upon the sleeping earth, I wrap silver wire into my creations to help the wearer's soul shine its light into the world, for what would this world look like without the Woman?
This is my journey through the unique romance of the Wild West, with its cowboys, Indians, cowgirls, miners, outlaws, pioneers, gold-diggers, and cattle rustlers.
Would you like to join me?
When I grow up, I want to be the best wire wrangler in the West.
the mind and hands behind hART Sense Design. I am a designer and hand-maker of one-of-a-kind and limited edition jewelry and accessories for artistic, chic cowgirls, boho babes, and lovers of all things western.
All Announcements Black Hills Cowgirl Style Entertainment Free Offers Gift Guides 2014 Gift Guides 2015 Gift Guides 2016 Gift Guides 2017 Horses And Men Jewelry Pinterest Small Business Musings Western Home Wildlife And Livestock Wild West