How to Care For Your Walking Boots
Caring for your walking boots properly will mean they perform better and ultimately last longer. Whether they're full-grain leather, nubuck, or synthetic, knowing how to clean, treat and reproof walking boots will keep them in great condition. If you notice water is soaking into the outer fabric rather than beading off, it's time to give your walking boots some TLC.
Follow our step-by-step guide to treating and re-waterproofing your walking boots.
You will need:
- A soft nylon scrubbing brush, a sponge and a cloth.
- A footwear cleaner such as Nikwax Footwear Cleaning Gel or Granger's Gear Cleaner
- Footwear Proofer / Conditioner
- For full leather boots – Granger's G Wax or Nikwax Waterproofing Cream
- For nubuck or suede boots – Nikwax Suede & Nubuck Proof
- For Synthetic Boots – Granger's Footwear Repel or Nikwax Fabric & Leather Proof
How to care for your walking boots
Lightly scrub your boots with a soft nylon brush to remove any chunks of mud.
Apply Nikwax Cleaning Gel or Granger’s Gear Cleaner Spray liberally and carefully scrub your boots until they’re clean.
Wipe off any cleaner residue with a damp cloth.
For Full Leather Boots
For full grain leather boots allow the boots to dry naturally before applying Granger's G-Wax or Nikwax Waterproof Wax/Cream. These products condition the leather as well as re-proofing it, preventing it from drying out and cracking.
Both options are really effective and easy to apply – simply rub and buff the G-Wax into the leather evenly using a cloth or use the nozzle sponge (Nikwax). Be sure to get the wax or cream into any cracks or seams in the leather, but take care not to over-treat the upper parts of the boot - over-conditioned leather can become too soft, losing its support.
For Suede / Nubuck boots
A beeswax-based treatment such as Grangers G Wax will nourish and protect all kinds of leather, maintaining performance and prolonging the life of your boots. However, be aware that these treatments will change the appearance of suede and nubuck. To avoid this, use a treatment such as Nikwax Nubuck & Suede Proof, which preserves the original texture of the leather.
Apply Nikwax Suede Proof to your boots while they are still damp. Ensure the surface is given an even coating and leave them for two minutes to allow them to absorb the treatment. Wipe off any excess and allow to dry naturally.
If your boots are synthetic/hybrid
It is important to apply reproofer to synthetic boots while they are still damp after cleaning as this will help the proofer soak into the material, meaning the protection will last longer.
Apply either Granger’s Footwear Repel (spray-on) or Nikwax Fabric & Leather Proof (sponge on)
Allow the boots to dry naturally. Avoid trying to speed up the drying process by heating them as this can damage boots, causing materials to crack or adhesives to split. Tried and tested methods of speeding up natural drying time include stuffing them with newspaper, or placing socks filled with (clean!) cat litter inside.
About the Author:
Mike Humphreys - Online Content
Mike is a keen cyclist, snowboarder, trail runner and hillwalker. He has travelled extensively, spending a year living out of a van in New Zealand before joining Ellis Brigham four years ago. Can usually be found walking his dog or tortoise.