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If your leather boots look a bit too new, try distressing them by scrubbing them with sandpaper. The sandpaper won't destroy your boots, but it will give the leather an attractive aged or suede appearance. Distressing the leather also makes it softer and more pliable, so this is a useful technique for breaking in stiff boots.

Stuff the boots with crumpled newspaper, then lace and tie them. This helps them to keep their shape while you work.

Fill a spray bottle partway with rubbing alcohol or nail-polish remover. Mist all outer surfaces of the boots to soften the leather.

Rub the boots with medium-grit sandpaper using short back-and-forth motions. Focus on the toes, heels and seams of each boot. To distress lightly, apply gentle pressure to the sandpaper. Apply heavier pressure for a more distressed look. As you rub, the leather will take on an aged appearance.

Spray the boots with rubbing alcohol or nail-polish remover. Apply clear wax polish to each boot using small circular motions. It is important to note that nail-polish remover and rubbing alcohol may permanently discolor your boots.


You can also distress leather with a wire brush or pumice stone. If you don't have any of these materials, try scuffing up the leather by rubbing it on pavement.


Once you've distressed your boots, you can't restore them to their original condition.

About the Author

Melissa King

Melissa King began writing in 2001. She spent three years writing for her local newspaper, "The Colt," writing editorials, news stories, product reviews and entertainment pieces. She is also the owner and operator of Howbert Freelance Writing. King holds an Associate of Arts in communications from Tarrant County College.