Meant for the outdoors, walking boots are sturdy, durable, and heavy-duty footwear. However, just like other types of shoes, they require cleaning and care to maintain their appearance. Find out how to care for your favourite pair of hiking boots and keep them walking for years to come.
Clean Your Boots
Keeping your boots clean is your first priority, and clean boots feel better and last longer than dirty boots. It is best to clean your boots immediately after use, before dirt and debris have a chance to build up. Dried, caked-on dirt is harder to remove than fresh mud or dirt, so clean your boots right away. Rinse them with a water hose before you step in the house. Purchase special tools to get your boots clean, such as leather cleaner, suede cleaner, or boot cleaner, and use a stiff brush, soft cloth, and water to rub dirt and grime from your boots. You may need to remove the laces and insoles to properly clean your walking boots. If all else fails and you have no cleaner on hand, use a very mild dishwashing liquid to gently cleanse your walking boots. Vinegar kills germs and mould which appear on your boots, but distill it with water before sponging it on your boots.
Dry Your Boots
If you think you do not have time to simply wait for your boots to dry once you have cleaned them, there are no shortcuts for drying your boots. Leaving them in the sun can discolour them, and putting them next to any heating device such as a fireplace or radiator can damage them permanently and even change the way your boots fit you. Let them air dry for the best results. Flip them upside down for faster drying time.
Store Your Boots
When you are not wearing your walking boots, store them in the proper position so they are ready for you to wear next time you need them. The best way to store boots is to stuff them with newspaper so the boots hold their shape, and keep them in an upright position. Avoid folding boots, and do not place boots anywhere with extreme temperatures. Store them in a cool, dry location without exposure to dust, dirt, mould, or heat. Boots need ventilation and a place to breathe when they are not on your feet.
Waterproof Your Boots
Most walking boots come waterproofed and weather resistant. Over time, you need to waterproof your boots again. When you see that water no longer beads up on your boots, purchase a special waterproofing treatment to put on your boots, and then follow the instructions. Make sure your boots are clean and dry. Allow them to dry thoroughly after the treatment, and use a soft towel to remove any excess waterproofing fluid. Leather boots may require conditioning from time to time to keep them supple.