Altberg Boot Care Advice
Take care of your boots and they will take care of you!
Drying Leather When Wet:
NEVER dry quickly
NEVER dry near heat or in a warm place
NEVER force dry in any way
If your boots are wet, put them in a cool dry place like a shed or garage for at least 24hrs, you can screw up some old newspaper and push inside to assist drying. Drying them is a warm centrally heated house will make them dry more quickly but you risk the leather shrinking and cracking. When dry, use leder gris on the boots to feed and protect the leather.
NEVER store boots without first treating them with Leder-Gris or Leder-Bök.
REMEMBER drying boots too quickly can shrink the boots (if you are in a very hot climate cover the boots with a damp cloth after you take them off to slow down the rate of moisture evaporation - e.g. Desert boots).
For suede, nubuck and fabric parts of boots, we recommend only Altberg Leder-Bök. Use when boots are damp - slow down drying, especially in hot countries.
If leather is constantly going through a wet/dry cycle, hardening will eventually occur and flex cracking across the joint is inevitable. However, the time before this hardening/cracking occurs can be extended by regular use of Altberg Leder-Gris Wax (green label) and in more arduous conditions occasional use of Altberg Leder-Gris Xtreme (red label).
ALTBERG LEATHER TREATMENT
WE DO NOT RECOMMEND KIWI OR SIMILAR BRANDS OF "SHOE SHINE WAX".
WE RECOMMEND REGULAR USE OF ALTBERG LEDER GRIS GREEN LABEL WAX - it has been specifically developed for the type of water repellent leathers we use. For a better shine and ideal for use on boots used at the barracks you can use 'Leder Glos' which produces a better shine.
Use Leder Gris for operational and training boots. We recommend you brush in the Leder Gris when the leather is just dry or almost dry. Use the brush to work the wax oils into the leather, brush vigorously to drive into and below the leather surface. With Leder Gris MOD Brown apply and buff the polish with the same brush, do not use a cloth or duster, Do not use a brush that has been used previously to apply black polish.
WE RECOMMEND THAT YOU ALWAYS TREAT WITH ALTBERG LEDER GRIS BEFORE STORAGE OF BOOTS
We recommend Leder Glos for barrack use. It will give your boots a high shine especially at the toe and heel. Repeated use will increase the level of shine.
Apply with a brush - leave for 5 minutes then brush vigorously - leave for 10 minutes then buff with a soft dry polishing cloth. Repeated treatment over many days will increase the level of gloss.
Leder Gris & Leder Glos
REMEMBER drying boots too quickly can shrink the boots. .
If you are in a very hot climate cover the boots with a damp cloth after you take them off to slow down the rate of moisture evaporation - e.g. suede or nubuk boots. Spray boots with Leder-Bök before use, especially in the seams and where the boot flexes.
NEVER dry near heat.
NEVER force dry in any way.
NEVER leave boots in direct sunlight.
ALWAYS dry slowly, in the shade.
ALWAYS treat boots with Leder-Bök before use.
In this video the Altberg bootmaker shares his experience of problems that can occur with suede boots in hot climates - and the need for retention of some moisture in the boot where ambient temperature, even in shade, is higher.
The History of Altberg Leder Gris
In the early nineties AltBerg started to become unhappy with the water absorbency of the leather they were using on our gamekeeper boots - they were using a WR100 leather (when WR100 leather is flexed in water for 100 minutes and it must not absorb more than 6% of its weight in moisture). AltBerg had noted that after 6 months the leather they were using in the gamekeeper boots was absorbing 14% - over twice as much.
AltBerg took the leather and boots to the Pittards Tannery laboratory in Leeds and they quickly identified the problem - it was not the leather - but the leather treatment!!!
The gamekeepers had been using a boot care product which contained a high amount of hydro carbon based solvents (ie. coal/oil based waxes with paraffin's, white spirits etc).
These boot care products had been developed many years previously for leathers tanned in the old way, however, the new water repellent anfibio boot leathers were different - and although these boot care products were acceptable on some leathers - they had a tendency to neutralise the water repellent components tanned into the more modern WR100/Anfibio/Hydro type leathers.
At that time in Leicester there was a boot care company - Allen & Caswell - and AltBerg worked with them on the problem of finding a wax oil that would be compatible with modern leather. The result was Leder-Gris.
However, this story has a sad ending... AltBerg had always purchased their leather from the Pittards/ Miers tannery in Leeds (Yorkshire). The company was a PLC, and as the new millennium property boom began to get up a 'full head of steam' the land the tannery was on became 'apparently' worth more than the tannery itself... and so the last British Tannery making top quality water repellent (WR100) boot leather was shut down. It was a sad day for them and a sad day for Altberg.
The tannery had generations of experience and a really good leather testing laboratory. It exported its WR100 leather all over the world. The recent financial crisis and recession has shown how short sighted we were in England when we closed down key exporting companies such as the Pittards tannery in Leeds.
Nowadays our standard Leder Gris wax (Green label) is made for us by Grangers of England. Some years ago AltBerg realised that in more extreme conditions a different type of boot care was necessary to complement our existing Altberg Leder-Gris wax. Soldiers who get their boots wet every day during training exercises and gamekeepers required a treatment with a higher oil content, so AltBerg developed Leder Gris Xtreme (Red label). Leder Gris Xtreme is a restorative boot care product - it is not intended for regular use, but if boots become extremely wet, and if the leather shows signs of hardening - Altberg Leder Gris Xtreme will help replace some of the oils, to restore some suppleness to the leather. Both products are tried and tested in all conditions - traditional boot care for modern leathers.
We recommend Altberg Leder-Gris or Leder-Bök, it is NOT a gimmick. We recommend it because if used correctly and regularly, Leder-Gris Original or Leder-Bök will help sustain the water repellent property of the leather for a longer period of time. Use the Leder Glos for a better shine, but use the leder gris to protect the leather.