All walking boots, leather ones in particular, benefit from constant cleaning and occassionally conditioning with special treatmentes which can toughen your walking boots and provide extra waterproof protection, extending the life fo the boot.
Whether you’re walking over the fields on a wet day in winter or hiking in dry, hot climates, taking the extra time to look after your walking boots can make them last for many more years. So when you’ve found a favourite pair fo walking boots, it’s best to take good care of them.
Basic Walking Boot Care
The first and easiest part of keeping your walking boots in top condition is to keep them as clean as possible. Obviously, they’re going to get covered in all sorts of muck when you’re out walking, but brshing dirt, mud and water off them after every walk will go a long way. Dirt particles are surprisingly abrasive while wet mud can damage just about any boot material over time, so the sooner you clean your walking boots, the better.
Drying your Walking Boots
It’s also important that you dry your walking boots out after each venture into the great outdoors. Leaving them near the fire or putting them in the tumble drier is generally a bad idea because these high temperatures can damage the boot materials and cements used to hold them together.
The best thing to do is to store your walking boots in a dry, warm area like a boiler cupboard. If you need to speed up the drying process, packing dry newspaper inside the boots will absorb moisture much more quickly, allowing your boots to dry much faster.
Of course, if you come back with wet and dirty walking boots, it’s best to dry them first, then brush the dirt off afterwards.
Washing your Walking Boots
Most fabric walking boots can be easily washed on the outside using non-detergent soap and warm water to remove built up dirt. Leather walking boots can also be rinsed off, but repeated washing and drying over time can sometimes dry out the leather babric, making it brittle. To keep the flexibility and natural lustre of leather boots, it’s best to use wax or silicone based treatments.
Oil based treatments are generally unsuitable for leather walking boots as they are designed to soften leather and make them more suple, which can negate the support the material is intended to offer your feet while walking.
Walking Boot Repairs
Finally, your walking boots may become damaged and be in need of repair. Repairing outdoor footwear isn’t easy and traditional walking boots will requitre careful stitching while modern walking boots may require a complex variety of adhesives. Either way, it’s best to take your walking boots to a cobbler to repair the leather, fabric or in the most extreme cases, reattach the sole.
A cobbler may charge you from £20 to £30 or even more, based upon the amount of time and work involved. Obviously, depending on how much you paid for your walking boots, it may be more cost effective to simply buy another pair instead.
It’s a shame to part with a favourite pair of walking boots that have been cleaned and cared for over a period of many years, but sometimes it’s a better idea to invest in the latest footwear rather than repair your tired old boots.
Of course, paying that little bit extra for a pair of high quality walking boots which will better last the test of time is always a good idea.