Nikwax offers a range of products for preserving, cleaning and protecting leathers and other outdoor type fabrics like tent canvas, Goretex and other other high tech textiles. Nikwax Leather Restorer is a water based, environmentally safe, biodegradable, non flammable, non hazardous product that brings tired leather back to life and adds shine and waterproofing. I gave this product four out of five stars because while I felt it conditioned the leather, the waterproofing qualities were not as impressive.
Nikwax Leather Restorer is a spray on product. When initially applied it goes on as a white liquid. After a short drying period, the product can be buffed to a soft shine that helps enhance water resiliency while conditioning the leather. It is intended for use on leather clothing, equipment, footwear and accessories like belts and hand bags. It sprays on easily and buffs to a low gloss. If you've just cleaned your leather article (Nikwax recommends their leather cleaning gel), there is no need to wait until the leather dries before applying the Leather Restorer. It's recommended that you protect your work surface and your hands before using the product. The product may also darken or discolor light colored items. This product is not suitable for suede or rough-out leathers. One bottle (10 fl oz or 300 ml) is enough to do one large or two smaller items. I found after applying it to one paddock boot and my fanny pack, there was still lots left over.
I used the Nikwax Leather Restorer on two items. One item was my fanny pack—a leather bag that goes with me everywhere. I wear it around my waist when bicycling to the barn or I'm out and about doing things like wandering around farmer's markets. It gets folded into a nice looking handbag for 'going to town'. It gets a lot of wear including getting caught in the rain. The other item was one of my paddock boots. (The other was used for the Nikwax Waterproofing Wax for Leather Liquid review.) Of course, riding boots see a lot of abuse—from being scuffed through dirty stalls to water spills.
When I sprayed the product on my fanny pack, I was a bit surprised that it went on white. But after allowing it to 'set', as per the directions on the bottle, it did buff in and disappear. The leather remained supple, with a nice low gloss. Shortly thereafter, I was caught in the rain, and while I didn't feel the water beaded off as nicely as it did for the Nikwax Waterproofing Wax the leather didn't soak through.
My boot was quite grimy, so it needed a good cleaning before the Leather Restorer went on. There's no need to wait until the leather is dry to treat it, because this is a water based product and can go on damp leather. This is nice because it speeds up the whole process. I liked the convenience of a spray on product, although protecting the work surface is necessary because of over-spray. The spray drips a bit, leaving white streaks on the leather, but this buffs out easily. The product leaves a soft shine, and doesn't affect the texture of the leather. The condition of my boot leather didn't change greatly—it doesn't seem to soften the leather. While you may want tack like bridles, girths and harnesses softened, you don't want your boots to be very soft. Some items, like leather gloves, boots and jackets you don't want treated with something like neatsfoot oil, a traditional leather conditioner used in the the horse world, because it can leave a greasy feel. Nikwax Leather Restorer does not leave any residue behind after it is buffed.
The instructions mention that the 10 ounce bottle (300ml) would be enough for 1 or two items. I found after treating my two items, there was still plenty left, certainly enough to do another pair of paddock boots.
Nikwax Leather Restorer is easy to use, leaves no lingering odor or residue and seems to do a decent job of waterproofing. I would definitely use this product again on my garment type leathers.