How To Care For Red Wing Boots?

Should you be one of the lucky people that own a pair of Red Wing Boots, you will either own a pair of oil-tanned leathers, roughout leathers, or a pair of smooth-finished leathers. The type of leather that your Red Wing boots are made of will dictate how to care for them properly and what products to use when cleaning them.

Red Wing boots are made out of three different leather types: oil-tanned leathers, roughout leathers, and smooth-finished leathers. Specific care products are to be used for each leather type. Oil-tanned and smooth finished leathers require warm water, a clean cloth, and a soft-bristle brush to clean.

Red Wing boots are made out of a combination of sturdy soles, the best premium leathers, Puritan triple stitching, and Goodyear welted construction. These boots are made to last for many years and with the proper care, even a lifetime. This article will describe how to care for your Red Wing boots and how to ensure that they last as long as you do.

How To Care For Your Red Wing Boots?

It is vital to note that not all the S.B. Foot Tannery leathers that Red Wing uses for their shoes are the same. The leathers used can be grouped into three distinct types, and for optimal care, you will require different care products for each other kinds of leather.

Red Wing Heritage Men's Classic 1907 6-Inch Moc Toe Boot,Copper Rough & Tough,8 D US

Red Wing Heritage Men's Classic Moc 6" Boots

Oil-Tanned Leathers

These leathers are extraordinarily durable and have been used to manufacture countless Red Wing styles and models over the years. It is water, stain, and perspiration resistant, making it a delight to care for and easy to clean.


The first step in taking care of your oil-tanned leather Red Wing boots (Iron Ranger 8111 and Irish Setter 877 are popular models) is to start by cleaning them.

You will need the following:

  • Warm water
  • Clean cloth
  • Soft-bristle brush
  • Red Wing Foam Leather Cleaner

Start by removing any dirt from your footwear by using warm water and a soft-bristle brush. Dry the shoe with a clean cloth after cleaning.

If your shoes are heavily soiled, continue to use the Red Wing Foam Leather Cleaner by either using the cloth or soft bristle brush to apply. After applying the leather cleaner, wipe away the residue with a damp cloth and allow the leather to dry naturally.


The conditioning of your boot is vital in helping to preserve the finish and extending the lifespan of your particular footwear. The care product is dependent on the type of leather used in your boots.

Type Of LeatherProduct To Be Used
Harness, Oil Slick, Oro-original, and Worksmith LeathersRed Wing Shoes All-Natural Boot Oil
Blackstar, Boomer, Chrome, Mustang, and Portage LeathersRed Wing Shoes All-Natural Leather Conditioner
Mesa and Rough & Tough LeathersRed Wing Shoes Mink Oil

Apply the different types of conditioners to the leather by using your fingers, cloth, or sponge.


After you have cleaned and conditioned your leather, proceed to apply an additional shield of protection. It is done by using Red Wing Shoes Leather Protector. To apply this, you will need to lightly mist your entire shoe by holding the spray bottle 6-8 inches from the leather and spraying in a sweeping motion.

The Red Wing Shoes Leather Protector will not stain the leather of your boots. Instead, it will provide a shield against dirt and moisture.

Red Wing Heritage Iron Ranger 6-Inch Boot, Oxblood Mesa, 4 D(M) US

Red Wing Men's Iron Ranger 6" Boots

Roughout Leathers (Nubuck)

Using a reverse-suede technique, using the other side of the hide, Red Wing Shoes creates their roughout and nubuck leathers. There is no loss of durability by employing this technique, and the result is a beautiful roughout and nubuck leather.


The first step in taking care of your roughout and nubuck leathers is to make sure you have purchased the Red Wing Shoes Roughout/Nubuck cleaner kit. This kit includes:

  • Cleaner bar
  • Bristle brush

Take the cleaner bar and proceed to rub the soiled areas of your shoe. If some of the stains persist, wet the cleaner bar and reapply. Allow for the leather to dry, restore the leather's nap by using the bristle brush.

Should there be any water spots on the leather, let the leather dry out, then use the cleaner bar on the spots, finishing it off with the bristle brush. Muleskinner and Mohave leather is water-resistant.


Roughout leathers include Abilene, Mohave, and Muleskinner. When it comes to the conditioning part of these leathers, you only need to apply Red Wing Shoes Mink Oil if you have purchased the Muleskinner roughout leather boot.

All other roughout/nubuck leathers do not require any conditioning. Take into consideration that the mink oil darkens the leather and should be used sparingly.


After thoroughly cleaning and conditioning (Muleskinner leather only), proceed to add a protective shield layer by spraying your boot with Red Wing Shoes Leather Protector. Hold the spray bottle 6-8 inches from the shoe and spray in a sweeping motion. The leather protector will not darken the leather. It will only add a layer of protection against dirt and moisture.

An essential hint when it comes to caring for your roughouts is to never use leather cleaner on them as it might change the leather's texture and stain your boots.

Red Wing Heritage Men's Six-Inch Moc Toe Lug Boot,Brown,7.5 D US

Red Wing Heritage Men's Roughneck Lace Up Boots

Smooth-Finished Leathers

Red Wing Shoes' smooth-finished leathers have a polished surface that is indicative of its quality and beauty. The smooth-finished leather is made from the best quality hides and is used in premium Red Wing Heritage styles (Featherstone used in the Beckman Collection and Chaparral).

This type of leather needs more extensive care and attention than the other leathers in its stall.


This type of Red Wing Shoe needs a quick examination every few weeks to confirm if any care or maintenance is required. You can use warm water, a clean cloth, and a soft-bristle brush to remove any stuck-on dirt.

Should you spot some more severe stains on your leather boots, proceed to use Red Wing Shoes Foam Leather Cleaner. By dipping the sponge in the foam leather cleaner, apply the dipped sponge on the areas with stains on, and see how they disappear. Remember to remove the cleaner with a damp cloth and allow the leather to dry.


When it comes to the conditioning part of smooth-finished leathers, you have a lot of options. Start by applying either Red Wing Shoes Leather Cream or Red Wing Shoes Neutral Boot Cream to hydrate the leather. Using one of these options will ensure that you do not darken the leather and bolster the leather's water resistance.

To cover scuff marks, you could use a corresponding cream to cover up the damage. Depending on the color of your leather boots, you can choose from the following Red Wing creams:

  • Black Boot Cream
  • Brown Boot Cream
  • Burgundy Boot Cream

Red Wing Heritage Classic Chelsea Ebony Harness 7 D (M)

Red Wing Men's Classic Chelsea Suede Leather Boots


Lastly, after finishing with the cleaning and conditioning steps, it's time to add a layer of protection to your boots. Using a sweeping motion, 6-8 inches from the leather, lightly mist your boots with Red Wing Shoes Leather Protector. It will not darken your footwear, instead providing an invisible layer that protects against moisture, mud, oil, and dirt.


The best way to care for your Red Wing Shoes is to use Red Wing’s care and cleaning products. It works so well together, and who better advises on care of their products than the manufacturer.

Taking regular care of your Red Wing boots will ensure that the leather will stand the test of time. According to Red Wing themselves, “Actively maintaining leather is the most effective way to ensure integrity and longevity." Straight out of the horse's mouth!

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