Review: We Test Smith's Leather Balm

April 26, 2019 2 min read

review: smith's leather balm

Smith’s Leather Balm is the latest addition to our assortment, we’ve had lots of requests from customers who bought bags or leather accessories from us on how to look after them in the long term.

I was taking a picture of Nomad_ist’s red canvas Superior Labor Engineer Tote Bag yesterday (you’ll have seen it many times if you follow her on Instagram), when I noticed that the leather straps were starting to dry out. The Superior Labor oil the straps by hand when making the bags and this treatment lasts for a long time, but Nomad_ist’s has been all over the world, from air-conditioned airports to sunny beaches and has taken quite a beating from the elements during the past 2 years.

This was the perfect opportunity to try out Smith’s Leather Balm.

The Balm is made by Maine-based couple Shane and Mandy Smith using 100% natural and organic materials (cocoa butter, beeswax and almond oil) and is so devoid of chemicals and other harmful substances that you can actually rub it in by hand. In fact, thanks to the ingredients, it will even nourish your skin!

Here’s what I did:

  1. I removed the straps from the Superior Labor Tote Bag
  2. I unscrewed the cover of the tin (the balm smells like chocolate because of the coca butter)

smith's leather balm
3. Rubbed a very thin layer of balm on my fingers
4. Slowly started to rub the balm in using my fingers. You could use a rag or paper towel, but the heat in your fingers will help saturate the porous leather faster
5. Once I finished the straps, I moved onto the buckle straps on the bag and rubbed the balm in using my index finger to avoid getting it on the canvas.

6. I moved on to the pocket, probably the most exposed leather surface on the bag. I rubbed the balm on here using my hand in broader strokes.

7. I let the balm saturate the leather and dry for 5-10 minutes

8. Finally, I buffed the leather using a paper towel (a soft rag would have been better) before re-attaching the straps.



  1. The leather straps feel more supple
  2. There were a couple of scratches on the pocket, they are much less visible now
  3. The leather has a healthy sheen to it and more weather resistance
  4. The leather has darkened slightly. This will be less visible as the balm continues to dry

Smiths recommend treating the leather once a year to extend it’s useful life, twice could be a good thing if you keep your leather items in a very dry environment. The balm also works very well on boots (Shane’s original use of it). I'll be trying it out on a pair of Alden Indy Boots next. 

The finished product!

the superior labor engineer tote s red

Get your tin of Smith's Leather Balm here.