How to Create Distressed Leather Boots

unlaced, distressed leather boots on wood floor
  • 1-2 hours
  • Beginner
  • 0-50
What You'll Need
Old newspaper
A baseball
An old sock
Wire brush
Shoe wax
Black shoe polish
Spray bottle
Rubbing alcohol
Rubber bands

Distressed leather boots are both comfortable and fashionable. However, it takes a lot of time and usage to naturally distress leather boots. Turn your stiff boots into worn-in, distressed boots with the instructions below.

Step 1 – Preparing the Boots

Prepare the boots that you want to distress by stuffing them with old newspapers. Zip or tie them to ensure they are completely stuffed. Then, set them on a hard, flat working area.

Step 2 – Softening the Leather

To soften the leather, first, insert a baseball into an old sock. Hold the open end of the sock, and swing it at the boots. Be sure to do this in an area where there isn’t any risk of hitting other objects or people. Beat the boots with the baseball and sock a couple of times.

Step 3 – Using the Hammer

Next, tie a rag around a hammer end by using rubber bands. Hammer the boots a couple of times on the heels, toecaps, and on the sides of the boots to soften up the leather of the boots even more.

Step 4 – Spraying With Rubbing Alcohol

Like rubbing alcohol is good for softening leather gloves, it's also good for distressing leather boots. Fill a spray bottle halfway with water and add 5 tablespoons of rubbing alcohol. Spray the diluted rubbing alcohol on the boots to dampen the leather.

Step 5 – Using Sandpaper

Then, with fine-grit sandpaper, lightly sand the leather of the boots in the heels, toecaps, and seams.

Step 6 – Using the Wire Brush

If you want a lightly distressed boot, you should skip this step. However, for a heavily distressed boot, spray more rubbing alcohol on your shoes. Then, using a wire brush, lightly scrub the heels, toecaps, and seams of the shoes.

Step 7 – Applying Shoe Polish

Spray some more diluted rubbing alcohol on your boots and then use a clean rag to apply the black shoe polish. Rub the rag dabbed with shoe polish in a small, circular motion until all the areas of the boots are covered with the polish.

If you want a darker hue, apply more shoe polish. If you accidentally applied more shoe polish than you want, spray the boots with water to lighten them back up.

Step 8 – Applying Shoe Wax

After you are satisfied with the distressed look of your leather boots, apply shoe wax to protect them from further damage. Properly clean and care for your boots to make them last.