How to Care for Leather Hiking Boots

How to Care for Leather Hiking BootsLeather hiking boots are a significant investment, and keeping them clean will ensure that they last as long as possible and stay looking their best. Many hiking boot companies sell expensive three-step cleaning kits complete with brushes and polishing rags to clean their leather hiking boots, but you can clean your boots just as well with items available at your local grocery superstore. Clean your boots after every hike to prolong the life of the leather and minimize odors in the footbed.


Difficulty: Moderately Easy

Things You’ll Need:
  • Garbage can
  • Bucket
  • Rag
  • 1 tsp. laundry soap
  • Sink
  • 2 towels
  • Small sponge
  • Glycerine soap
  • Leather conditioner
  • Leather waterproofing spray
Step 1
Remove the laces and footbeds from your leather hiking boots. Turn the boots upside down over a garbage can and shake them out to remove any loose gravel or dirt. Brush the outer part of the boot in a brisk back and forth motion with a nylon brush to remove dried mud.
Step 2
Fill a bucket with warm water and 1 tsp. laundry detergent. Swirl a rag in the water to mix the detergent with the water. Wring out the rag, and wipe down the inner part of the leather hiking boot and both sides of the footbed thoroughly. Rinse the rag, wring it out and repeat until the rag comes away clean. Rinse the rag with clean water, wring it out and wipe down the insides of the boots and both sides of the footbeds.
Step 3
Put your laces in the soapy water and let them sit for five minutes. Rinse well with clean water and lay flat on a towel to dry.
Step 4
Dampen a small sponge with water and use it to apply glycerine soap to your leather hiking boots in a circular motion. Wipe the boots down with a dry towel.
Step 5
Spray the boots with leather waterproofing spray. Let the boots sit overnight to dry. When the boots, the footbeds and the laces are completely dry, replace the footbeds and re-lace the boots.

Tips & Warnings

Store your hiking boots with dryer sheets inside them to keep them smelling fresh.
Dry your boots away from direct heat and sunlight to avoid heat damage.

Article Written By Elizabeth Grace

Based in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Elizabeth Grace is a freelance writer. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in public relations from Pepperdine University, and has 15 years of experience developing marketing campaigns for universities and multinational corporations.

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