Boot Blacking and Leather Care

Suggested Supplies

Angelus Direct -

                  Saddle Soap -

                                    Liquid and Paste

                  Shoe Polish -

                  Kits -

                  Cleaning supplies/kits -


Fiebings - - Like the product do not like the website – can also buy at   

                                    Shoe repair shops and leather stores – or from independent online providers

                  Saddle Soap/glycerine -

                                    Liquid, paste, foam and bar

                  Kelly’s Shoe care -

                                    Saddle Soap paste, Leather lotion


Huberds -

                  Boot and Saddle Soap

                  Huberd’s Shoe Grease


Pecards -

                  Classic Leather Dressing

                  Accessories (Leather cleaning brush, Nubuck & Suede Brush, cleaning cloths


Saphir Medaille ‘Or Shop -

                  Cream Polish and Shoe care products

Spit Shine

Bull polishing, bulling, spit polishing or spit shining refers to a method for polishing leather products in such a way as to give an extremely high level of reflection. It is commonly used in the military as a traditional method of presenting leather accessories (such as a Sam Browne belt) and boots for inspection.  For boots, emphasis is often put on the toe and heals.

Getting Started

In addition to your combat boots, you'll need:

  • Shoe Polish (recommend Angelus or another non-synthetic polish)
  • Cotton balls (or clean cotton cloths – flatly wrapped around your index and middle fingers)
  • Spray bottle with distilled water and cap of 98% isopropyl alcohol (or warm bowl of the solution)
    • Spit also works but be sure to have lots of drinking water on hand

How to Apply a High-Gloss Spit Shine

Allow about one to two hours to perform this process properly:

  1. Prepare to boot

This prepares the boot to be polished to its maximum potential

  1. Clean – remove dirt and dust
  2. Strip old polish (only if it has started to flake or dirt has been polished into the boot)
  3. Make any necessary repairs (clip off loose strings, glue down any pennants, etc)


  1. Apply the base coat (Generally only needed if the boot is brand new or old polish needs to be cleaned off due to reasons cited above)

This provides the foundations for all future polishing

  1. Apply two layers of polish
    1. Apply first layer to each boot (giving time to dry while working on the other boot)
    2. Buff briskly with horsehair brush to remove excess polish
    3. Apply second layer to each boot (giving time to dry while working on the other boot)
    4. Buff briskly with horsehair brush to remove excess
  2. Allow to dry (aprox. 5 minutes)
  3. Buff vigorously but lightly


  1. Apply the polish coat
    1. Dampen cotton ball (or clean cotton cloth) and lightly brush into the polish to pick up a thin layer of polish
      1. Apply polish to the boot in small circular motions, carefully pushing the polish into the leather.  Continue until you develop a hazy shine over the surface.
        1.  Add water or small amounts of polish as needed (When you feel the swab start to drag its time to moisten with water or polish)


  1. Shine
    1. Dampen clean cotton ball and buff using small circular motions until polish starts to clear
      1. Moisture will keep the polish from sticking to the cotton, so keep it moist, so it does not pull polish off the boot
      2. Continue buffing with a clean damp cotton ball or cloth  until you achieve a glossy finish on the first layer.


  1. Repeat
    1. Repeat steps 3 and 4 with smaller and smaller amounts of polish until you have applied 6 or 7 layers and have developed a smooth highly reflective surface


  1. Finish
    1. When the boot has been polished to a high gloss, give it a final buff with a clean dry cloth (a nylon dress sock works best)

Leather Care

- It’s not so much the act of shining the shoes but rather the process of conditioning the leather and polishing them for protection that is detrimental to the longevity of your shoes. Leather is a skin that no longer has a body taking care of it, so it needs treatment in order to remain healthy. Without that treatment even the best leather in the world would break down quickly and thus not give you a good investment on the money that you spent

  1. Basic kit for Leather care
    1. Basic Kit

i.Stiff brush – cleaning off caked on and dried dirt


  1. Saddle Soap
    1. Designed for use on Saddles but effectively used on Boots and other leather products
  2. Glycerin Soap
    1. Contains glycerin, a component of fat or oil (tends to be translucent)

iii.Soft bush for use with soap

iv.Wax polish (Black, Brown and Neutral)

v.Buffing Brush (horsehair)

vi.Lint free cloth

vii.Water in spray bottle (pref distilled water with a cap of 90% isopropyl alcohol)

viii.Boot Grease (Hubbard’s, Picards, Aussie Leather Conditioner)

  1. Advanced Kit

i.Toothbrush or denture brush – for nooks and crannies

ii.Leather dye with dauber/sponge


iv.Extra buffing brushes (for additional colors)

v.Colored wax polishes

vi.Edge Dressing/Paintbrush

vii.Wax applicator brushes

viii.Stocking/pantyhose/microfiber tights

ix. Leather balm or Leather conditioner

x.Waterless hand cleaner or hand sanitizer

xi.Plastic sheeting/tarp

xii.Suede brush, Suede stone, Suede cleaner

xiii.Exotic Leather Cleaner

xiv.Deglazer or acetone – for stripping

xv.Index Cards

xvi.Extra Laces

xvii.Scissors – for trimming stray threads, laces


  1. Leather type overview
    1. Style


  1. Generally extremely durable with minimal care


  1. Generally less durable leathers


  1. Work boots used as fetish wear
    1. Engineer boots (Chippawa/Westco)
    2. Riding boots
    3. Lineman boots


  1. Construction

i.Vegetable Tanned and Retanned

Leathers finished with their grain intact and no additional oils added.  Usually it has a smooth, slick and hard surface.  Boots and other items made of this leather can usually be polished with wax products (Can use boot grease on these boots but either condition from the inside of the boot or condition in advance and then wash clean before polishing – or use


ii.Analine Tanned and Chrome Tanned

Less firm than Veg Tanned Leather.  Used for some boots, shoes, garments and other items.  Can have a smooth, slick surface or a soft, supple surface depending on the final tannery finish.  Wax products or cream wax products usually used.


iii.Buffed and Split Leathers

Buffed leathers, such as Nubuck and Suede, are typically fisned to velvet like surface, called nap.  Special suede cleaners, a suede brush and perhaps a suede stone are needed to care for these.


iv.Oil Finished/Oil Tanned

Special purpose oils are applied on the surface or chrome tanned leather as part of the tanning process.  The oils provide protection as well as unique look to the surface.  Condition and treatment with Hubbard’s Boot Grease, Pecards, Aussie Leather Conditioner or similar high quality treatments.  Wax is not typically used on these leathers and oil tan boots will not usually polish to a gloss


  1. Care
    1. Steps to creating a high shine on a Veg Tan
    2. Steps to Caring for an Oil Tan – photocopy


  1. Steps to Caring for Analine/Chrome Tanned (soft leather boots/shoes) - photocopy


  1. Steps to Caring for Garments - photocopy


  1. Steps to Caring for Suede/Nubuck - photocopy


  1. Steps to Care for toys


Difference between Leather Balm and Leather conditioner – Balm will also clean

Care and cleaning of Floggers

  1. Light cleaning – put saddle soap on your fingers and rub together until you get a foamy consistency, then rub them on the tails and wipe if off again.
  2. Use a light coating of leather conditioner (Pecards has been recommended to me)


Blood – use 10% bleach solution (least harmful to use on floggers)

Spray floggers down with the solution

Hang and let air dry


Care and cleaning of Whips

  1. Wash with warm soapy water to remove dirt and sand
  2. Dry (without heat)
  3. Replace old falls
  4. Apply heavy code of conditioner (Pecards is what I have been advised)