- Before you begin, remove the laces to allow a more thorough clean, you can give them a separate wash too.
- Get those boots squeaky clean with a semi-stiff brush and warm water. Stay away from generic cleaning products here, the warm water and brush should be enough to remove the mud and dirt you’ve brought home with you.
- Don’t forget to clean the bottom of your boot.
- If you want extra edge and longevity for your boot, you can pick up a specialist hiking boot wash.
- Product specific washes give a deep clean whilst maintaining boot breathability.
- If you’ve managed to get mud in the inner boot (it happens), or there is beginning to be a bit of a smell (also happens), fill the boot with lukewarm water for 12 hours, then pour away and move on to the next step.
Now you want to let the boots dry, an airing cupboard or out the back garden will do. But, always check the weather forecast first.
- Don’t stick your boots next to a heat source to dry them. Putting them next to a radiator or a fire is going to cause damage and leave you needing a new pair much sooner.
Now it’s advisable to reach for the products: material dependent protective sprays or conditioning waxes add extra waterproofing to the boot, alongside added protection from mud and grit.
- Re-proofing your shoes with products depends on what your boots are made from.
- Always make sure you’ve followed the steps above before re-proofing.
- Re-proofing before you’ve cleaned and dried the boot will stop the product from sticking to and sealing the boot material from the elements.
- Before re-proofing, leather boots will benefit from conditioning. This stops the leather from cracking and will keep them lax and flexible for comfortable climbs and treks.
- All boots, both leather and synthetic, are going to require re-proofing. This gives the boot an extra coat of waterproofing, but make sure the product is specific to your boot material. If you don’t know, ask.
- Check the manufacturers recommendations before you purchase any waterproofing or conditioning products, they may have recommendations for the specific material.
Cleaning your boots may not be the most fun part of hiking, but it’s going to give your gear a longer shelf life and keep your hikes more comfortable. You might look a bit sharper too.