The often fear-provoking break-in process of a Brooks England leather saddle begins before you ever actually sit on the saddle. Treating your saddle with Brooks’ Proofide Leather Treatment before initial use is highly recommended.
Proofide helps condition your saddle; increasing its suppleness and also helping to waterproof the leather.
Brooks suggests that their product, and their product alone, should be used to treat their saddles. I’ve read countless articles of people using other products, such as Saddle Soap, however, I personally have followed Brooks’ recommendation so I won’t weigh in on how other products compare.
A light coating should be applied to the finished (contact side) of your leather saddle; allow the coating to settle in and dry, then polish off any residual film with a gentle rag (I usually use a cheap microfiber cloth).
Picture below: pre-treatment
Picture below: post-treatment
Under the saddle, or the unfinished side, apply a heavier coating of Proofide. There is no need to polish the underside of the saddle.
After the initial treatment, Brooks encourages riders to treat the finished side of their saddles every 3-6 months. As far as the underside is concerned, there is no recommendation about reconditioning the saddle. I personally have treated the unfinished side of my B17 Special more than once and haven’t seen any negative consequences.
If ordering online directly from Brooks, you can get 40g tin of Proofide here. Additionally, your local bike shop can also get you a 25g tin if you want something that will take up less space in a bag.