Motorcycle Tour & Cruiser/August 2001 





MOST OF US HAVE A FAVORITE PAIR OF BOOTS OR leather jacket we love to ride in.  The one we always mean to take out and polish or clean, but never seem to get to.  I recently came across a product that's so effective and easy to use that maintaining my leathers has become as regular a habit as cleaning my bike.


Leather Mate isn't new.  Made in Italy, it was introduced to the European market in the 1970s, made its way to Canada in the ‘80s, and came to the United States in the ‘90s.  This one-step leather and vinyl care product is a blend of all-natural products.  The main ingredients are lanolin and carnuaba wax.  The lanolin comes from sheep's wool and is similar to the type found in expensive cosmetics.  Carnuaba comes from trees grown in South America.  Leather Mate contains no chemicals or petroleum, so it will not hurt the leather.


The directions sounded too simple to be true.  Simply dip a corner of the supplied applicator sponge into the jar and scrape the excess off on the lip of the jar.  (You only need to use a small amount).  Then gently rub it into the surface you're applying it to.  That's it!


As you apply the cream, it's actually doing several things.  It cleans, conditions, and preserves, leaving behind a protective coating.  To remove stubborn stains, apply a second coat, let it dry for a minute, and gently scratch the surface with your fingernail.


It took me about 15 minutes to do two pairs of boots that haven't been polished or treated in months.  When I was done, they looked like I'd just taken them out of the box.  These results inspired me to open a shoeshine operation in my living room.  After 15 pairs of shoes and boots, I still had plenty of the 2-ounce sample jar left.  The company says that a 7-ounce bottle will do approximately 200 pairs of shoes.  Luckily, this product has a long shelf life, so you don't have to do them all in one day.


Leather Mate is available in the neutral version I used and three colors: black, brown and white.  For most polishing, the neutral does the trick.  A specific color is recommended if what you are using it on is in particularly rough shape—for instance, if your riding leathers are seriously scuffed.  Special colors, like blue or red, also are available in a 1-ounce size.  Prices range from [USD] $4 for the 1-ounce size to [USD] $19.99 for a 7-ounce container.


Leather Mate is for smooth leather only, however, the company also makes a Leather Mate Tenderly for suedes, nubuck and other porous leathers.  MT&C