Who doesn’t love a good pair of R.M.’s ? For most people, owning a pair of these classic Australian boots is an investment. They cost a fair chunk of cash, even at our low prices. That being said, they can also last a very long time. Some people even hand down their R.M.’s to the next generation, like my dad did. So if a pair of boots like the Craftsman’s can last such a long time, it is probably a good idea to put a little time and care into maintaining them so they live their best life possible in your wardrobe.

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Here is our helpful guide to caring for your R.M. Williams Boots:

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Let's start with the basics. Put them on right:

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There’s two woven ‘tugs’ at each end of the opening at the top of the boot. Slip a finger through both of them and pull the boot on with even pressure on both tugs. This will allow the tugs to take the strain instead of the leather and the elastic. You will find it actually becomes a lot easier to get your boots on if you use both tugs instead of just the back one. 

Never sit your boot on the ground and attempt to squish your foot in using only the back tug, or no tugs at all. This will cause unnecessary creasing and damage to the leather of the boot and diminish the overall appearance of the boot, as well as change its shape over time.

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The First Wear:

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Caring for your Craftsmans

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It is recommended, but not necessary, to apply leather conditioner to your boots before you wear them for the first time. R.M. Williams make a great range of leather care products specifically suited to their boots and the conditioner is a fantastic inclusion to the range. 

If you do decide to condition your boots before you wear them, just apply the leather conditioner to the boot all over using a sponge, or just your hands. You will need to leave them for 24-48 hours afterwards to allow the conditioner to fully absorb and for the boost to fully dry out before you wear them. 

Wear your boots, if possible, in dry conditions on the first few occasions. Fine leather boots require a full day to dry out from natural perspiration, so it’s recommended to alternate wearing your pairs of boots every few days if possible, and give them time to dry out from natural perspiration for a few days before you wear them again.

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Wet and Muddy Boots:

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Caring for your Craftsmans

If your boots do become wet or muddy, it's a good idea to remove mud and dirt from the boot while they are still wet with a damp cloth. Dried up mud will be harder to remove and doing so could damage the leather. Spray leather cleaner directly and evenly onto your boots. Rub cleaner evenly over boots with a damp cloth until clean. Remove any excess cleaner with a dry cloth. R.M. Williams make an excellent leather cleaner that will do a great job on your boots. 

If your boots are wet you will need to let them dry out completely before you wear them again. Do this in a well ventilated area away from heat sources or direct sunlight. Never leave your boots next to a fireplace or heater to dry. This will cause the leather to dry too quickly and that’s how you get rough cracked surfaces on the leather, which permanently damages the boot.

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Storing your boots:

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Caring for your Craftsmans

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Moisture and mould are the enemy of your boots. Leather is a skin and is a food source for mould. Before storing your boots make sure they are completely dry and free from dirt, or anything that may encourage mould growing on the boot while in storage. 

The best place to store your boots is in a well ventilated, mould free environment, like the bottom of a wardrobe that is opened regularly, or under a bed. If you are needing to store the boots in a sealed location, consider buying moisture absorbing silica gel packets to pack in the container with your boots.

Cedar shoe trees also are popular to help keep the shape of the boots while in storage, however they’re not completely necessary as the leather will re-mould to your foot shape as you start to wear them again.

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Boot Repair:

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Caring for your Craftsmans

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R.M. Williams offer a full repair service for their boots. From a simple re-sole to a full re-last, where the boot is completely stripped back and re manufactured, there is a whole range of options to repair your boots and keep them looking good and performing well for years to come. Most R.M. stockists, including ourselves, can send your boots into the Adelaide factory for repair. Please contact us for more info and for repair quotes.

For a complete list of possible repair options for your boots, please see the R.M. Williams website here:

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Conditioning and Polishing:

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Caring for your Craftsmans

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R.M. Williams master boot maker Steve Moore recommends giving your boots a quick condition and polish every four or five weeks to maintain their good looks. 

Apply leather conditioner evenly with a clean cloth or clean hands. Allow the conditioner to penetrate before buffing the excess conditioner off with a soft dry cloth.

Apply boot polish to with a clean cloth and rub in well. Buff briskly with a buffing cloth to obtain a high shine. For boots which are badly scuffed, R.M Williams make a range of boot polish in colours to match your boots. For best results apply the coloured polish on the scuffed uppers and leave overnight overnight. This will ensure the pigment is absorbed into the leather. Buff briskly with a shoe shine brush and finish with a buffing cloth to obtain a high shine.

We recommend you use R.M. Williams products on your R.M. Williams boots. The main reason is if you use other products that are alcohol or oil based this could void any warranty claim on your boots. Alcohol or oil based polishes have also been know to damage leather over time. For the full range of R.M. Williams care products please see here.

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Protecting Suede:

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Caring for your Craftsmans

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It’s a good idea to apply R.M. Williams Suede Protector before you wear your suede boots for the first time. Spray in one direction, onto clean footwear at a distance of 20cm and allow to fully dry. Spraying in the opposite direction, repeat this process for a total of 3 times for the best results. This will help repel water and protects against stains that occur with regular wear. 

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Recommended Procedures for Custom Leathers:

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If you have custom made R.M. Williams boots and unsure if the general care advice we have given applies to your boots, here is a handy chart by R.M. that shows which product is best to use on all of their leather types. We stock a full range of R.M. Williams care products which can be ordered online, which you can shop here.

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Caring for your Craftsmans