A Guide for Cleaning and Caring for Hiking Boots
Whether you enjoy going for a walk with the dog, a Sunday afternoon ramble with the family or simply enjoy 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 normally not used every day, so damage can occur without the owner’s knowledge. It is important to do an inspection before you set off- a damaged boot can completely ruin a great hike.
Look for any rips or tears in the leather and also check the tread to make certain nothing is cracking. Check the laces for any wear and tear. It is recommended that 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
It is too easy to just toss the boots to one side when you get home.This is fine for the everyday shoes, but not for hiking boots. Hiking boots can be expensive and it is important to ensure the boots have a long life.
One of the hazards you will encounter is water. Most hiking boots are made from a leather or leather-like material to allow for movement of the boot through the rigors of treking through rough terrain. Wet boots need to be dried in a specific way otherwise the leather can crack.
Don’t take a short cut 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 and the moisture will be drawn away from the thickest part of the boot, which is the sole.
Clean During and After the Hike
It may seem a little strange to suggest that the boots be cleaned during the hike, but it is sound advice. For example a build – up of mud will make the boots heavier and the tread less effective so when you stop for a break clean off excess mud with a stick.
When you get home it is advised to do a more thorough cleaning. Remove any debris from tread and wipe all mud from the entire boot and have a good inspection Store the boots on a shoe rack and away from any damp or closed in area. Boots need to breathe while being stored for long periods of time so mould does not grow.
It is also a good idea to take a cloth and wipe the inside of the boot out to get rid of 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.