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How to Care for Your Boots

If you want your new footwear to last and perform for as long as possible, appropriate care is essential. Below outlines the process to look after your footwear. This comes in two key parts; cleaning and reproofing.

Cleaning does not just cover the getting the dirt off the outside of your footwear, as or even more importantly is looking after the internal lining and waterproof membrane.

  1. Remove laces and any insoles from the boots. Turn the boots upside down to empty out any loose stones and dirt inside. Any loose stones and grit with the footwear will not only dig into your feet, but may also cause tears in the boot's lining and you socks
  2. Using a soft brush, e.g. Nail Brush, remove all mud from the outside of the boots. This can be done either when the boots are still wet, sometimes easier, or allow boots to dry and give a good scrub. Any really stubborn stains can usually be removed, depending slightly on the upper material of the boot, by using a cleaning soap (such as Nikwax Cleaning Gel). This is rubbed onto the stain a left for a short period before repeating the earlier process.
  3. Once all the dirt is removed fill the inside of the boot up with warm water to just below the level of the waterproof lining, this is usually shown buy a change in lining material about an inch below the upper cuff, add a small amount of pure soap (such as Tech Wash). Hold the upper cuff of the boot together to form a seal. Shake the boot around to agitate the liquid inside. This will help to remove natural oil and dirt build up within the linings of the boot. Doing this will aid the breathability of the boot by unblocking the pores in the waterproof lining. Allow the inside of the boot to dry naturally do not force dry them, as this can cause a hardening and cracking of the materials. To speed up the process slightly some scrunched up newspaper or paper towel. Change this when it is wetted out.
  4. The last part of the process is to treat and reproof the upper. This varies depending on the type of upper material. If the boots are a traditional full-grain leather upper a cream (such as Nikwax Waterproofing Wax) or a wax (such as Leder-Gris)should be used. Both of these can be applied with cloth as they do not need warming up to work into the uppers. If the boots are a mixed fabric upper, such as Nubuck or Suede with mesh areas then a liquid based proof can be applied. There are numerous methods of liquid proof application, sponge-on and spray-on. Avoid aerosol based sprays as they tend to be less accurate on area of application. To proof these types of boots it is best to do when the upper are slightly damp, this massively improves the penetration of the agent. Liberally apply the proofing to the whole outside boot. Allow the boots to dry naturally for a short period of time and wipe off any excess liquid. To maintain the soft feeling of your Nubuck or Suede boots brush with a soft suede brush when the boots are dry.
  5. Your cleaning and proofing is now complete, store your boots in a cool dry place ready for your next adventure.

Outdoor Traders stocks a wide range of care products for your boots, waterproofs and tents. Come into the shop to find out more