We love our Red Wing boots and oxfords, particularly the S.B. Foot leather, and do our best to take care of them so that they last as long as possible. In that spirit, we put together our guide for cleaning and conditioning the leather and Christy soles.
Note: This method is only intended for "smooth" leather shoes and boots, not for suede or roughout.
(Before Cleaning, After Cleaning)
Our method may be a bit unorthodox, so we recommend following Red Wing’s official guide to cleaning and conditioning your Red Wing boots and shoes.
Now that we have that disclaimer out of the way, here’s our process…
Supplies you’ll need…
- Leather Conditioner (We use Friday & River natural leather conditioner)
- Cloth for cleaning
- Cloth for leather conditioner
- Shout, or other mild soap
- Scrubbing pad (plastic, not steel wool)
First we clean the Christy soles. Christy soles are porous so they attract lots of dirt. This also means that they wear very easily, so we do this very rarely in order to minimize unnecessary wear. In fact this is the first time these soles have been cleaned in years.
To clean the Christy soles apply a small amount of Shout (or your cleaner of choice) directly to the sides of the soles, wet your scrubbing pad, and start scrubbing. After you’ve scrubbed for a bit, rinse the soles with water. You will likely have to repeat this step a few times to get them clean, and it takes some elbow grease, but be patient, the result is worth it. No matter how much scrubbing you do the soles will not be pure white, but they’re Red Wings, they’re not supposed to be.
Another popular method of cleaning the Christy soles on your boots is the "toothpaste method" it's basically the same except you use toothpaste instead of soap. For the effort involved in cleaning the soles using toothpaste seems expensive and wasteful, however some people swear by it. Again, they're Red Wings, they're not supposed to be too pretty.
After you’ve cleaned the soles of your Red Wings, it’s time to condition the uppers. Use a lightly damp cloth and wipe the excess dirt from your boots. Once dry, apply your favorite leather conditioner, working it into the corners and seams with your fingers. Wipe off the excess, and your Red Wings are good to go.