How To Darken Leather Boots

The patina of vintage leather is highly desirable to some people, so you might wonder how to darken leather boots without having to put years of wear and miles and miles on them beforehand.

There are a few ways, of course, and the good news is that almost all of them are actually just normal boot leather care that will darken the color of the leather which you should be doing anyway. We know people get busy, but if you're going to bother buying handmade leather boots, you might as well put in the time to maintain them.

With that said, here's a few methods for how to darken leather boots if you'd like to get that worn-in look without the years and mileage required.

How to Darken Leather Boots: Use Boot Grease

The simplest method for how to darken leather boots is to just use boot grease or leather conditioner as normal. It's known for the darkening effect that it has on leather, along with the protectant properties that make it an essential part of boot care.

What happens when you use boot grease or other leather conditioner is that the leather itself - which is the preserved skin of an animal - is being rehydrated. It's essentially the same thing as putting lotion on your skin. You're applying a compound to put a bit more water back into the skin cells.

This creates a darkening effect which some people find distressing if it's their first pair of quality leather shoes or boots and they've chosen a color other than black. However, it's not only perfectly natural it's actually a good thing; it means the leather is hydrated and will be supple and strong.

So if you want to darken the color of your boots...just maintain them. That will darken the color just fine. However, some people want to go a bit further than that, and there are a few other tricks a person can resort to.

Darken Your Leather Boots Using Polish Without Shining

treatment for darker leather boots

Another method for darkening the color of your boots is to polish them without shining them. It's a simple trick, and if anything will make the polishing process a whole lot shorter.

This particular trick relies on the use of wax polish, such as Kiwi or similar products. The idea is to apply polish but to avoid shining them so that it dulls the appearance while still maintaining the protective coating of wax polish.

It's pretty simple; you put the polish on and spread it around, creating an even coat on the surface of the leather, a lot like painting a wall or something along those lines. After the polish is applied, you simply buff away the excess but don't take the extra step of shining your boots.

You may need to apply a couple of coats to get a good uniform spread, but this is normal. In essence, you're doing a lazy polish job on your boots but with a purpose other than not wanting to take the time to do a full polish and shine.

Again, the idea is to dull the appearance, which will make the leather appear darker.

However, there's another good trick to darken boots using polish, but this one is a little more involved.

Darken Leather Boots With A Dark Shade Of Polish

darkening leather color

Another trick for how to darken leather boots is to use a darker shade of polish than the actual leather underneath it.

The best method for doing so is to apply a darker shade of cream polish as the conditioner to the lower and the heel (even the upper, if you feel like it) to make the leather appear darker than the shade of dye actually is. Then you apply a similar darker shade of wax polish on the appropriate areas, and buff and shine as normal.

However, this particular hack has limited applications.

It doesn't work on black boots (how much more black could they get? none, none more black) and obviously won't work on white leather boots...which are just weird, anyway...so this is really a brown-boots-only proposition.

Medium brown boots can be darkened with dark brown polish, a more orange brown can be darkened with oxblood polish and so on and so forth.

The Best Way To Darken Leather Boots Is To Wear Them

Really, the best way to darken leather boots is just to wear them. Sure, the patina of a vintage item is very desirable, but why not put that patina on there by wearing your boots and actually doing things in them?

Invest in a great pair of boots, that's made the right way and to last as well as to look good, and you'll WANT to wear them long enough to develop it. Why bother getting the kind of quality item that will last long enough to really put the patina on them if you aren't going to actually wear them enough to really develop it?

Get the right pair, and you'll never want