Keep your boots clean and in good condition.
1. Mud will dry out leather. While sometimes it's fun to get boots muddy, it is also important to clean it off when you're done playing so the leather is not permanently damaged.
2. Wipe off the boots at the end of the day with a damp cloth or rag. This will give a longer life to the boots.
3. Avoid getting boots that are made of snakeskin or lizard wet. Scales on snakeskin boots will curl when they get wet, and they will not “uncurl” when they dry.
4. Use a quality leather conditioner or reptile skin conditioner on your boots. Avoid using waxy shoe polish on boots (or parts of boots) that are made of materials other than leather – snake, lizard, alligator, etc. Waxy shoe polish can build up within the scales or fine crevasses on boots and dull the finish or ruin the skin. (Note if you have lizard or snakeskin boots: a product is made specifically to treat boots made of these skins. It is called “reptile skin conditioner.” You can find it in some large western stores as well as on-line.)
5. Do not use a hair dryer on boots, put them in an oven, or place them near a source of heat such as a radiator or forced-air heat vent. That can cause leather or skins to shrink permanently. If boots are wet and you want to hasten the drying process, a trick I learned from Bamaboy is to put the boots on top of a water heater.
6. Store boots so air can circulate around them. Keep them in a well-ventilated area. Keep them in the light – avoid storing boots in dark, damp places. That includes storing boots in a box when the boots may be wet. Mold and mildew love “dark and wet”. They “eat” cellulose products, and particularly have a “taste” for leather. To avoid having boots be destroyed by mold and mildew, keep them dry, in the light, and in a place where air circulates.
7. Allow at least a day between wearing the same pair of boots. The boots need to “breathe” and to allow sweat to evaporate. Try to have at least two pairs of boots if you plan to wear boots on a daily basis. Changing boots daily will extend the life of both pairs much longer for each.