A Guide for Cleaning and Caring for Hiking Boots
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Whether you enjoy walking with the dog, a Sunday afternoon ramble with the family, or simply enjoying the great outdoors, a decent pair of hiking boots will serve you well and make it far more enjoyable. Hiking is a great way to exercise and to see the great outdoors.
Here are a few tips to keep those hiking boots performing at their peak.
Pre Hike Inspection
Hiking boots are usually not used daily, so damage can occur without the owner’s knowledge. Inspecting before you set off is important- a damaged boot can completely ruin a great hike.
Look for any rips or tears in the leather and check the tread to ensure nothing is cracking. Check the laces for any wear and tear. You should have an extra pair of laces with you – even if a lace does not break. Laces can be useful in many unforeseen situations.
Dry Boots Properly
Tossing the boots to one side when you get home is too easy. This is fine for everyday shoes but not for hiking boots. Hiking boots can be expensive, and ensuring they have a long life is important.
One of the hazards you will encounter is water. Most hiking boots are made from leather or leather-like material to allow for movement of the boot through the rigours of trekking through rough terrain. Wet boots need to be dried in a specific way. Otherwise, the leather can crack.
Don’t take a shortcut and dry the boots quickly, on a radiator, for example, as this will probably cause the leather to crack.
The correct way to dry hiking boots is to stuff them with newspaper and dry them upside down. The newspaper will absorb the moisture, which will be drawn away from the thickest part of the boot, which is the sole.
Related Article The best way to dry hiking boots and shoes
Clean During and After the Hike
It may seem strange to suggest cleaning the boots during the hike, but it is sound advice. For example, a build-up of mud will make the boots heavier and treadless effective, so clean off excess mud with a stick when you stop for a break.
When you get home, doing a more thorough cleaning is advised. Remove any debris from the tread wipe all mud from the entire boot, and have a good inspection. Store the boots on a shoe rack and away from damp or closed areas. Boots need to breathe while being stored for long periods so mould does not grow.
It is also a good idea to take a cloth and wipe the inside of the boot out to eliminate any salt that may have occurred through sweating.
Condition the Leather
Leather is a product that must be cared for and maintained. Conditioners vary by brand, but it is advised to regularly condition the boots to keep the leather from drying and cracking. Use only the leather conditioner recommended by the boot manufacturer.
Like leather conditioning products, waterproofing agents vary by brand and boot material. Again, use the product recommended by the individual boot manufacturer. Waterproofing should be done after cleaning before the boots are stored. Each waterproofing product has its own set of instructions. Follow these instructions carefully to ensure proper waterproofing.
One option to look at is silicone spray for waterproofing