I want to ensure you enjoy your new footwear, have it fit comfortably, and for you to be happy! Like all other quality leather products, your boots or shoes need to be taken care of. Your footwear needs occasional attention for comfort, reliability and longevity. If you do not follow the Care and Feeding instructions, you will void the Service Guarantee.
Your boots should fit snugly. Wear them with no socks or inserts the first several times. Depending on the leather I selected for you, your boots could fit snugly to very tightly. If they are very tight the first time, it could take a while to get them on and someone may have to help you. Once on, they should be tight across the top of the foot and toes. You may only be able to stand wearing them for a few minutes to a few hours at first. This is often normal depending on the leather I selected for you. As you wear the boots over a few weeks, they will stretch and mold to your foot. The heel piece is designed to form a cup or pocket and will move about 3/8 of an inch back,,moving your toes back too.
Troubles with fitting:
If the footwear does not fit the first time, try the second time anyway. Put a plastic grocery store bag over your foot to reduce friction and try again. Once the boot is on wear it around as long as you can. If the fit is still unbearably tight, put hot water in the boots. Get them good and wet, pour out the water, put them on and walk around. Try to let them dry on your feet if you can.
If these techniques do not work, please contact me. I may ask you to send the boots back to me. I have stretchers that I can use to stretch some of the areas. Depending on the results, I may enforce the Guarantee of Service and make you another pair.
All the footwear is designed to be worn with insole inserts. I use “Sof Sole Custom Memory” which retails for about $20. Inserts give you a heel cushion and arch support. There is no arch support otherwise. You can get inserts from me or use your preferred brand. I fit them for custom footwear for $20.
It is very important that your foot remain in the proper position to break in your footwear. Your heel in particular should be kept in position. At no time should you be walking with your heel on top of the leather, or off to the side of the sole. Keep all footwear pulled up so that leather does not sag under your heel. Not doing so will cause your boots or shoes to get over stretched, give you a sloppy fit and jam your toes into the toe of the boot or shoe.
For footwear with Laces and Buckles:
If you ordered footwear with laces or buckles, ware your laces or buckles tight during the break in process. This will help keep your foot in the proper position to break in the leather. Not doing so will cause the heel pocket not to form and the footwear will feel too short. You should never remove or put your boots or shoes on with the laces tied or buckled. Doing so will cause your boots or shoes to get over stretched, give you a sloppy fit over time. New holes can be added to the straps, you can punch them yourself using a round punch.
For footwear with Toggles:
If you ordered toggles on your footwear, keep the toggle tight always. Not doing so will cause the boots or shoes to seem too short. You should never remove or put your boots or shoes on with the toggles done. Doing so will cause your boots or shoes to get over stretched, give you a sloppy fit and jam your toes into the toe of the boot or shoe. You will need to be constantly vigilant about adjusting the knots on the toggles to keep them tight. Baltic Boots have decorative toggles, you do not need to keep them tight, or unbutton them to put on or take off your boots.
After your footwear has been broken in:
- Every two months apply a coat of Sno-Seal Beeswax Waterproofer. I sell Sno-Seal and you can also purchase it at various sporting goods stores. This product will maintain and waterproof your footwear as well as clean up any non-staining dirt. By following this instruction you will prevent staining dirt from sticking to the leather, keep your feet dry, and keep the leather from getting damaged increasing the longevity and reliability of your footwear. When using Sno-Seal, be cautious. The instructions will tell you to preheat your footwear using a variety of methods. NEVER PLACE YOUR FOOTWEAR IN AN OVEN. Take care when using heat lamps as well. Overheating your shoes will cause the glue that attaches the soles to separate. Fiebing’s Aussie Leather Conditioner is also an acceptable product.
- If your boots or shoes get staining dirt on them or show signs of damage from the elements, clean them with Saddle Soap. Read and follow the instructions on the Saddle Soap. After the Saddle Soap dries, apply Sno-Seal.
- If you have neglected your footwear and notice the leather is damaged or dry, use Kiwi Mink Oil Paste.
Signs of Wear / Time to Repair:
The soles of the boots will wear out over time, normally about 3 years. If you walk on the inside or outside of your foot, this could happen very quickly, about 3 to 6 months. Look closely at the sole of your boots from the side. There are four layers; the top layer is your boot leather, the thin middle layer is the mid-sole, thicker bottom layer is the sole which is either smooth crepe or a lugged tread sole, the fourth layer is the heel.
Once you wear the smooth crepe or the lugged tread sole down to 1/8th of an inch, it is time to replace the soles. If you have a heel on crepe, if has worn down to 1/2 of the thickness, it is time to replace it. If your foot is starting to walk off the heel of the boot either to the inside or outside because the sole material is worn down unevenly, then it is time to get the sole replaced before the footwear is ruined.
Things to avoid:
- Never use Neatsfoot oil.
- Never leave your footwear anywhere with heat over 120° Fahrenheit. An example of this being in your car during the summer. This will cause the glue affixing the sole to separate.
- Never pack away or fold your footwear wet. Once dry, it will want to stay in this shape.
- Never store items like wallets, beer cans or bottles, in your boots or shoes as you wear them. This will cause your boots to “fall” and sag.
- Do not put oil or Sno-Seal on the suede lining of your boot. Use scotch guard or other suede protectant on the suede. It is acceptable to put oil and Sno-Seal on the outside of the boot where the suede is attached.
Repairs and Modifications:
I will be happy to repair footwear damaged under any of the circumstances described in the above Signs of Wear or modify an item per your request. I charge for all repairs and modifications that are not covered under your Guarantee of service. Fees will include shipping, materials and labor. I usually require that the boots or shoes be sent to me for evaluation before I can make a formal quote. Also, your footwear is constructed in such a way that it can be taken to any shoe repair shop for repairs locally, which will be much faster.
Not Fitting, failure of materials, failure of workmanship:
After breaking the boots or shoes in, they should be comfortable. If they are not comfortable or the materials or construction fail within a year of being shipped to you, I will correct the problem for FREE. This includes shipping, materials and labor. Contact me via email or phone to let me know of your concerns.
See your Guarantee of Service sheet you received when ordering also located on the web site.