How to look after leather walking boots
Have you ever wondered how to look after leather walking boots? It can seem very complicated, the lengths you need to go to, to ensure that your leather walking boots are always in tip-top condition, but the processes below will explain why it’s worth it.
If you want to get your money’s worth out of your current pair of boots and you hope to use them for plenty of adventures in the future, then you really should take notice.
Whether you’re going backpacking alone to your favorite spot or you’re exploring a new route with a partner or friend; ensuring your leather walking boots are fit for purpose will be essential for your journey.
In this article, we’re going to go over why you should take care of your leather boots in the first place (if it wasn’t clear to already), how to clean your leather walking boots, how to dry them, and how to ensure they stay waterproof.
Why do you need to care for them?
Besides getting your money’s worth out of your leather walking shoes, you’re going to want to properly maintain them to ensure they are performing at their best and that they stay this way for a long period of time.
Knowing how to clean, reproof, and treat your leather walking boots will help them to stay in great condition.
If you’ve started to notice the water is soaking into the outer or it’s just been a long time since you’ve properly treated your boots (perhaps you’ve never done it before) then now is a great time to give your walking boots some much-needed love.
How to look after your leather walking boots
Hiking over any sort of rough ground, mud, dust, and grass can all have an effect on the wearing away of the surface of the leather on your walking boots, creating weak points until it eventually cracks or splits.
Mud also sucks moisture from the leather, which leaves it to look even drier. Though all is not lost, if you follow our cleaning guide below you will be able to make your leather walking boots retain their ruggedness, performance, and stylish look for many more years to come.
How to clean leather walking boots
When you clean your leather walking boots there are certain steps you need to follow.
- Remove any laces or insoles from your leather boots
- Clean off the outside with a gentle brush to get rid of any mud and grime that is still stuck on the exterior
- Do not be tempted to use any household cleaners like the ones you use on your dirty dishes, as the residue they leave will attract water and will lead to the accumulation of dirt
- Rub your footwear cleaning gel of choice into the boots softy and carefully to ensure they get nice and clean but not too harshly which could cause damage
TOP TIP: If you want to clean the inside of your boots, rinse the inside with warm water and give the insole a clean too. Don’t forget, you should be doing this every couple of weeks if you frequently use your boots.
What’s the best way to dry out leather walking boots
After cleaning, or even after a wet day out in the mud, it is best not to use direct heat to dry out your leather walking boots. This will weaken and dry the leather uppers and any adhesives which have been used to keep it from moving; so this means airing cupboards or radiators should NOT be used.
- Remove the insoles from your boots and leave them to dry
- Leave your boots to dry naturally outside
- If you can’t wait for them to dry, then stuffing them with the newspaper is your best option to help speed up the drying time
- Replace the newspaper every few hours to help speed up the drying process even further
- Once dry, store them at room temperature as usual
Remember leaving wet paper inside your boots for a long period of time could cause more harm than good.
How to waterproof your leather boots
If the leather uppers of the boots are not repelling water as they should, and water droplets are soaking in rather than running off, then it time to reproof your boots.
- Make sure that your boots are clean before you do this since you’ll just be rubbing dirt and grime back into your boots when doing so, which obviously isn’t going to help
- If they need a clean, head back to the cleaning part of this article first before you go ahead with our next piece of advice
- You can use any reproofing product you like, though, before blindly following our advice, you’re going to want to read the instructions on the product as the steps to reproofing may differ a little from what we’re going to recommend
- Apply your reproofing product liberally to your walking shoes (when they are dry), making sure to get into all welts and seams; the weak points of your leather boots
- After that, you should leave the product on the boots to dry for about 2-4 minutes, and then you’re going to want to take a dry cloth to remove any excess product
Don’t forget that as with cleaning your boots, you must leave them for a while to dry naturally. Do not under any circumstances try to quicken the drying process with heat as this could cause damage.
How to stop them cracking
One of the most common reasons as to why your leather walking boots will crack is due to the lack of moisture they are faced with, along with being left covered with dirt and oils which could affect the look of your shoes too.
The leather of the boots dries out when exposed to dry environments or when they are stored in an area that doesn’t meet the proper humidity requirements. When leather boots are kept in a dry place for too long, the moisture can get sucked from the surface of the leather.
To prevent his from happening, it is best to keep your leather boots in a room that has at least 40 percent humidity in the air to avoid cracks. If this does not occur naturally in your own home, you could use a humidifier to help achieve this solution.
If your walking boots are past their best and you could do with a new pair, then head over to our walking boot shop.
Ian Knights | Buy Hiking Boots