2 Ways to Revitalize & Refashion Your Old Cowboy Boots

Cowboy boots are a fantastic way to make a bold fashion statement; but that bold look can potentially be a downside since you may not know how to incorporate them into your ensemble. If your cowboy boots are just collecting dust in your closet because you're not sure how to fit them into your wardrobe, why not refashion them? If you are worried about potentially damaging expensive boots, you can buy cowboy boots online for a very reasonable price. Try these two DIY projects to revitalize your boots:

1. Make Cutoff Cowboy Boots with Belts

If you like the look of your boots, but not the height, this is a great way to make them more urban and relatable since many ensembles go with ankle boots.

What You'll Need

  • Your cowboy boots
  • Leather straps, belts, chains, etc. that you think would accent your boots
  • Scissors
  • Metal jump rings and needle-nose pliers
  • (optional) Paint and brush


1. Take your scissors and cut down the center back of the boot. Stop cutting a little before the heel counter. Cut a little bit at first and then try on your boots. Remember, you can always take away more later, but you can't really go back once you've cut too far.

2. Once you're happy with the cut, fold the boot collar and shaft over to make a cuff. Your cowboy boots should now look like ankle boots.

3. If you aren't happy with the color of the turned-out cuff, now's the time to paint it. You'll need two coats and a sealant. Let them dry completely before moving on.

Don't worry too much about covering the cuff completely. Having some of the older color peek through can give the boot a nice vintage look—and you'll be covering some of the cuff anyway with belts.

4. Now's the time to be creative! Use your chosen belts, chains, and straps, and wrap them around the cuff. One belt can be split between two boots. Use your scissors to adjust and cut them to fit. To make sure they all stay together, push your jump rings through the belts. Use the needle-nose pliers to loosen/tighten each jump ring.

5. Play around with the belt arrangement, but don't worry about matching the boots exactly. As long as you use the same belts, straps, and chains, they can be a little messy and still look great!

2. Give Your Boots a Weathered Look

If you want your boots' original height and design, weathering them is a good way to tone down bright colors. Plus, distressing the boots gives them some beautiful tonal contrast and depth.

What You'll Need

  • Your cowboy boots
  • Olive oil
  • Leather conditioner
  • Hammer
  • Sand paper
  • Old cloths
  • Newspaper
  • Spray bottle (2/3 water, 1/3 rubbing alcohol)


1. Test your olive oil on a small portion of your boots. Let it dry for about 24 hours. If you like how dark the leather is after that time, you can continue with the rest of the boot.

2. Pour a quarter-sized drop of oil into one of your old cloths and work it into the boots. Start at the toe and work towards the top of the pull strap. Don't use so much olive oil that it makes the boots overly sticky.

3. Once you are happy with the color, let the olive oil dry for another 24 hours.

4. Stuff the boots with balled-up newspaper so that they retains their shape and place them on surface that can withstand damage, like concrete.

4. Wrap the hammer in one of the old cloths and beat the boots to soften the leather.

5. Take your spray bottle and spritz the boots until they are slightly damp. Use the sandpaper around areas that would naturally wear down (toes, heels, seams, creases, etc). Remember, a little goes a long way; the boots can go from a lightly weathered appearance to very scuffed-up if you're overzealous. 

6. Wipe up any of the diluted rubbing alcohol and wait for the boots to dry. Seal them with a leather conditioner, and your boots will have a lovely weathered look.