Southern Makers: Higher Standards Leather Care

So I have a pair of boots.

Leather Boots That Have Taken a Briar Beating | Oysters & Pearls

They’re my favorite boots.  Maybe my favorite shoes.  They’re comfortable, cute, and have seen me through everything from engagement parties to quail hunts.

But they’re pretty well beat up.Leather Boots in Need of Some Serious TLC | Oysters & Pearls

Worn ragged might be the more appropriate term.  But I love them, and I don’t want a new pair.  I’ve tried mink oil, but that didn’t do the trick.  It just made them kind of sticky and a weird color.

Also, they probably need a little vacation to the cobbler, but that’s neither here nor there.Beat Up Leather Boots | Oysters & Pearls


A few months ago, sweet Libby at Higher Standards Farm reached out to me about purchasing a candle from The Refinery.  Just down the road in Greensboro, Florida, Libby is a fellow attorney with a much more fun side gig/professional hobbyist.  As you can imagine, Libby and I became fast friends.  Knowing that I loved all things handmade, she told me about the leather care products she makes in small batches and sells in her free time.

I’m no equestrian, but I have plenty of leather items that could use some TLC – first and foremost my beloved boots – so I gave it a try.

Higher Standards Leather Care  | Oysters & Pearls


Leather Boots: After Using Higher Standards Leather Care | Oysters & Pearls

They’re not looking good as new, but who wants boots without a little character? ;)  I used the saddle soap first with the provided sponge, then rinsed them off, then rubbed in the leather conditioner.  Leather Boots: After Using Higher Standards Leather Care | Oysters & Pearls

It is the only leather conditioner I’ve ever used that didn’t leave a weird-feeling residue on the leather. Plus it smelled great and made the leather so soft and supple! Leather Boots: After Using Higher Standards Leather Care | Oysters & Pearls


From Libby’s Etsy Shop, because she says it better than I could say it myself:

Back in 2003, while looking for a Christmas gift to give my barn friends, I decided to experiment with making saddle soap. I found a recipe, and began to tinker with it, researching different essential oils, and working on scent combinations. It was fun and challenging, and the soap worked really well! 

The following spring, I developed a terrible crush on Karen O’Connor’s mount, Upstage, or “Woody,” owned by Dick & Vita Thompson. I was entranced by the story of the “little horse that could,” and I just loved his personality.

During Rolex week, I sent a care package to Kentucky for Woody and his “staff.” In that package was a container of my handmade soap. I was stunned a couple months later, when Karen’s excellent longtime groom, Max Corcoran asked for more of my soap, saying it was wonderful stuff. 

For the next nine years, I made the soap for Max as she needed them, and shared it with other friends. So far, my soap has been to the Pan Ams, the World Equestrian Games, the Hong Kong and London Olympics, Rolex, Badminton, Burghley and many other top venues.

And now, the soap used by one of the best upper level grooms in the business is available to the rest of us, from entry level all the way to the top!

Higher Standards Leather Care  | Oysters & Pearls

After many requests, Libby also began making the leather balm/conditioner.  All of her soap scents are named after favorite horses, such as Buzz’s Citrus Ginger, Ben’s Rosemary Mint, and Fox’s Vanilla Lavender.

Higher Standards Leather Care  | Oysters & Pearls


I seriously can’t get over how amazing my boots feel after using Higher Standards Leather Care. I can see myself using this for the rest of my boots, leather bags, dog leashes and collars, and all manner of leather goods that aren’t related to horses the least little bit.  I can only imagine how great this would be for those of you who actually use the saddle soap on saddles!Higher Standards Leather Care  | Oysters & Pearls

Many thanks to Libby for being super sweet and a new friend, for introducing me to this great product, and for saving my boots. :)

For more information on Higher Standards Leather Care, visit:

Higher Standards’ Etsy Shop

Higher Standards on Facebook

Higher Standards on Twitter

Until Next Time

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One thought on “Southern Makers: Higher Standards Leather Care

  1. Roger C. Russell II

    I am an artisan my self so I definitely appreciate what you do. It sounds like you have a wonderful product. I also am an equestrian and I love the world of leather products one uses as an equestrian. If not for anything but to gain knowledge of the products that are out there I must implore you to try R.M. Williams Saddle Dressing. This product is from Australia and you pretty much have to seek it out. I put it on $5000.00 saddles, all of my boots, and I sometimes just put it on my poor hands. I have never shown a person that works with leather this product that was not amazed by it.


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