Treating your Hiking Boots

posted in: ADVICE & TIPS, GEAR | 0

Have you just returned from a hike? Or maybe you’re getting ready to set out on your next ramble. Either way, you might consider treating your boots so that they are ready to go on your next trip. Here are some tips from Outter Limits to get your shoes ready for the adventure.

We offer a great selection of footwear treatment from both Nikwax and Grangers

First: Why treat my boots?

It is important to maintain your gear, especially your boots. After being worn and sometimes thrashed by the trail, the boots often come out scuffed and a little dirtier than before. Mud, dirt, dust, and scuffs all affect the materials of the boots negatively over time. These negative effects include drying out the leather, contaminating and blocking the durable water repellant finish, scuffing off any previous treatments, and getting grit in-between layers. We recommend gently washing the outer of your boots off after every trip and treating them once a season or if they are “wetting-out”. 

*Never allow mud to dry on your boots*

Where to Start:

After your trip is done, we recommend gently rinsing off the outside of your boot to remove any mud or fine dirt. This can be done outside with a hose or inside in a sink or tub. You can use a soft bristle brush, old tooth brush, or a clean damp rag or cloth to help get the boot properly cleaned. Make sure that as you wipe away the grime, use a circular motion and rinse your tool and boot often to avoid buffing your boot with the grime. There are also boot washing products that you can use to help in cleaning them in the most gentle and effective way while maintaining the remaining durable water repellency (DWR). The outsole is generally the quickest to clean and we start there so we can hold the boot as we work our way up along the upper. As you clean the upper of the boot, don’t forget to clean out the tongue area and to clean under the laces and around all the seams. This is all easier on a leather boot as mesh/fabric takes a little more patience to clean out. After they are cleaned, either apply the treatment of your choice or let them dry naturally and avoid using direct heat, fire, or placing them in direct sunlight.

Prepping boot and treatment:

Now that the boots are clean, we can begin the process of treatment. We recommend unlacing the boots before you begin and making sure they are clean. On hand, you should have a clean damp rag and your preferred treatment. Before you use the treatment, it is import to dampen the boots first. The added moisture aids in the treatment being absorbed into the leather by opening the pores and letting the treatment seep into those spaces as the water evaporates. When you treat boots, you should expect that they will be somewhat darkened by the treatment as well as the texture change. Apply your treatment in a circular pattern either with your fingers or the built-in sponge applicator (if applicable). After 2 minutes, wipe off any surplus with a clean rag and allow to dry naturally, away from direct sunlight or heat for 24 hours. Your boots are now ready for your next adventure.

Treatment Types:

Wax: By using wax, you will be replenishing the boot’s waterproofing and reconditioning the leather. Apply with your fingers in a circular motion, paying extra attention around seams and hardware on your damp boots. Remove any surplus wax with a rag, and if you choose to, gently buff to a polish. Allow the treatment to dry naturally while avoiding direct sunlight, over a period of 24 hours. This treatment is the most durable but is also the treatment that will change the appearance of the leather the most, especially by darkening in and making it shinier. (NIKWAX – Waterproofing Wax for Leather // GRANGERS – Paste Wax)

Sponge On: (Shake well before use) Using the built-in sponge, press down the sponge applicator and apply the treatment on your damp boot’s upper, paying extra attention to seams and hardware. Use your fingers to help get into tight spots and wipe off any surplus after 2 minutes with a clean rag. This treatment re-applies water repellency to the boots outer and will darken the boots to varying degrees but is more likely to keep the boots closer to their original appearance (If you like the texture of your suede or nubuck boots, these treatments are recommended to best maintain that look). This treatment will scuff off sooner than a wax treatment but changes the boot’s texture the least. Allow the treatment to dry naturally while avoiding direct sunlight, over a period of 24 hours. (NIKWAX – Fabric & Leather Proof, Nubuck & Suede Proof, Waterproofing Wax for Leather Liquid). 

Spray On (liquid not aerosol): (shake well before use) While the boots are lightly damp, spray the treatment onto the boots from roughly 10-15cm away. This treatment is the easiest as after you spray, you only wipe away the surplus after 2 minutes with a clean rag. If you want the liquid to absorb better into the fabric, you can use your fingers in a cicurlar motion to rub it into the fabric. Allow the treatment to dry naturally while avoiding putting in direct sunlight, over a period of 24 hours. This product is similar to the sponge-on treatment, as it will darken the leather to a lower degree and maintain the texture, but will scuff off faster than a wax treatment. (GRANGERS – Footwear Repel). We recommend not using a treatment that is aerosol as these treatments tend to coat the outside of the fabric but do not absorb into the fabric. These treatments brush off really easily and not do add any conditioning properties. 

Footwear Cleaner: These products are specifically formulated to gently remove dirt, grime and odours from fabrics found in footwear and won’t damage any existing durable water repellency finish. By cleaning your boots with these products, you are removing dirt and contaminants which attract water and thus prevent the water-repellent finish from protecting your boot. Rinse item with clean water to remove loose mud and to dampen surface. Either press the sponge applicator to break seal or spray and apply over the area to be cleaned. You can use an old tooth brush or clean cloth to clean your boots and scrub any really dirty spots. Rinse well with clean water and if required, apply a waterproofing treatment while boots are damp.

Free Door to Door delivery, contact-less store pickup or Free delivery on orders over $49