How to Care for Hiking Boots

How to Care for Hiking BootsQuality boots are an essential element of hiking equipment. Taking care of your hiking boots will help ensure foot comfort and protection while out on the trail. Additionally, cleaning and storing hiking boots properly will help keep your favorite pair durable, reliable and supportive for a long time.
 

Instructions

Difficulty: Easy

Things You’ll Need:
  • Waterproofing treatment
  • Baking soda
  • Leather-cleaning solvent
  • Old toothbrush or soft-bristled cleaning brush
  • Cloth
  • Boot conditioner
 
Step 1
Apply a waterproofing treatment (such as Nikwax) to leather and fabric boots before wearing. Follow all product label instructions. Consider adding a second or third coat, especially if you live in a rainy climate. Do not apply sealant to boots that are classified as "waterproof" by the manufacturer, because it could damage the boot features and materials.
Step 2
Wipe down fabric boots with a wet rag to remove dirt, debris, mud and sand after each use. Add a small amount of mild soap, if necessary. Use a clean cloth to cleanse and freshen the interior of the hiking boot and sprinkle in baking soda to help deodorize. Gently wipe leather boots with a chemical-free solvent and damp rag. Remove the boot laces for intense cleaning, if needed. Scrub the soles, crevices and tongue with an old toothbrush.
Step 3
Dry your hiking boots after cleaning them. Remove the insoles to help aid in the drying process. Allow your hiking boots to air out in a shaded and ventilated spot, such as the garage with an open window. Keep the boots away from direct sunlight or other heat sources, since heat can damage hiking boot materials and affect their durability and performance.
Step 4
Apply specialty boot conditioner to hiking boots made from leather materials. Adding moisture into the leather will help prevent cracks and prolong the life of your boots. Condition your boots several times a year.
Step 5
Store your hiking boots properly, in a dry, dark, cool and airy location.
 

Tips & Warnings

 
Check your boots frequently for signs of wear. Look for torn fabric, cracking leather, separated soles, fading support systems, and broken or brittle materials. Leave any repairs to professional cobblers.
 
Call the boot manufacturer with questions on hiking boot materials and applicable cleaning products.
 
Prevent mold growth by cleaning unworn hiking boots every month.
 
Never use mink oil on hiking boots. Do not put hiking boots in a washing machine or dryer. Excessive cleaning of leather hiking boots can dry out and damage the leather.
 
Never use mink oil on hiking boots.
 
Do not put hiking boots in a washing machine or dryer.
 
Excessive cleaning of leather hiking boots can dry out and damage the leather.

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