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Hiking Boot Care Top Tips

By Barry Jones


What are the best ways to clean and protect your walking boots? Cleaning and caring for your walking boots is a guaranteed way to extend the life of your hiking footwear and will delay the need to buy new boots. But with so many different products on the market, what is the best way to clean and protect your walking boots?

First of all, take out the shoelaces and insole from your shoes. A lot of boots feature a completely removable insole for this function. Doing this will help to thoroughly air the shoe, get rid of odour, and replacing these shoe inserts is yet another important factor for stretching out the lifespan of your walking boots. Removing the shoelaces can help you get to parts of the leather which are normally folded within the tongue of the boot. This lets you achieve a more in-depth clean. Additionally, removing the laces will let you spot any kind of deterioration and then determine whether or not they need to be replaced.

After removing the laces and the insoles, use a brush and lukewarm running water to remove dirt from the walking boots. If they are very heavily soiled it may be necessary to use special boot cleaning products. These will help lift the dirt and clean the boot more effectively. Once the boots are clean, the leather will be in a state which means it is able to soak up water. Adding a water repellent spray whilst the shoe is still damp will help defend the leather from water. This is sprayed onto the shoe and, after being left to dry thoroughly, water will bead off. It is advised that shoes are left for 24 hours to dry.

Adding a water based cream to the shoe can help the leather maintain its natural softness. Without it, the leather of the walking boot may become brittle and crack. This can cause damage to your hiking boot which cannot be repaired. Cream is better than oils or greases which can clog the pores of the leather and affect the breathability. Leather which has been clogged with oil or grease performs more like rubber wellies.

After using these boot treatments, give your boots lots of time to dry. Leaving them on a radiator, in the car, next to the fireplace or on the back step in the sunlight should be avoided. These can all cause damage to the walking boot. Keeping them confined or in a damp space, in the boot of your car or your shed for example, can allow your boots to go mouldy. It is not worth the risk. Let your Walking Boots breathe and they will keep working hard for you.

I have heard so many people moaning about their boots and how they are developing faults. Many become stiff and brittle and uncomfortable to walk in. But if their owners had simply given them some real care and attention, these boots would still be going strong! With just a little bit of time and some simple treatments, you can genuinely help your boots last longer and delay the day where you have to get a replacement pair.




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