How to Care for Leather Hiking Boots

How to Care for Leather Hiking BootsHiking boots can go through a lot of wear and tear, being hit with water, dirt, sunlight, temperature changes and scuffing from hard objects. Making these boots last as long as possible requires frequent maintenance. Leather hiking boots require particular attention because the leather, while more comfortable and of a higher quality than other types of boot material, can be ruined much more easily without proper care.


Difficulty: Moderate

Things You’ll Need:
  • Soft cloth
  • Soft brush
  • Leather conditioner
Step 1
Clean any dirt or mud off your boots soon after hiking. Dirt can break down leather quickly. Use a soft cloth or brush to wipe away the dirt or mud. If you use a wet cloth to clean off dried dirt or mud, wipe off the water with a dry cloth.
Step 2
Stuff newspaper or other paper inside your boots if they become wet while hiking. Place your boots in a dry, warm place to let them air dry. Keep them away from fireplaces or heaters giving off high temperatures--this temperature extreme can break down leather.
Step 3
Apply leather conditioner once a year to help maintain your leather. Regardless of the type of weather or climate you hike in, conditioner will help revitalize your leather and make it more durable against the elements. Dab a soft, damp cloth in leather conditioner and rub a thin layer into the exposed leather on your boots to protect them.

Tips & Warnings

Wash your leather boots with water only moderately. Every application of water to the leather accelerates the breakdown of the leather and shortens the lifespan of your boots.
Do not use soap on your leather boots, even mild ones. The chemicals in soap can eat away at leather and break down the fibers.

Article Written By Jonathan Croswell

Jonathan Croswell has spent more than five years writing and editing for a number of newspapers and online publications, including the "Omaha World-Herald" and "New York Newsday." Croswell received a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from the University of Nebraska and is currently pursuing a Master's of Health and Exercise Science at Portland State University.

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