If you love getting out on adventures, then no doubt you’ll have a pair of trusted walking boots you take with you on every trip. Built to be sturdy and provide you with support in challenging conditions, your walking boots will see you through many years with the right care and attention.
Whether you have leather, suede, nubuck or synthetic/hybrid materials on your boots, to help you keep them performing for longer, we’ve put together a step-by-step care guide.
Scrub Them Clean
We know it can feel like a chore sometimes but it's really important that after every walk, you take the time to lightly scrub off any mud, grass and grit that has accumulated on your boots using warm water and a semi-stiff brush. For the best results also use a footwear cleaner like Nikwax Footwear Cleaning Gel or Granger's Footwear Gear Cleaner, before wiping off any excess residue with a damp cloth.
Absorb All Moisture
If your boots get really wet, stuff them with newspaper or use Absorba Balls to help draw out moisture, maintain their shape and prevent odour. Resist the temptation to speed up the process by placing your boots next to a direct heat source such as a radiator as this can damage boots and cause the upper to crack. Allow them to dry naturally in a warm room or outdoors away from direct sunlight.
Boots don't stay perfect for ever. They need care and attention. To keep your boots performing at their best you should re-proof them every couple of wears or when you notice that water has stopped beading on their surface. It’s important to know what your boots are made of before you treat them. Each type of material needs a different product to help waterproof it. If you are in doubt about what material your boots are made of you should be able to find the information on either our own or the manufacturer’s website. Alternatively, you can ask one of our in-store experts for advice.
For full grain leather boots allow the boots to dry naturally before using a cloth to apply Granger's G-Wax or the nozzle sponge on Nikwax Waterproof Cream. This will help condition the leather, re-proofing it so it retains its waterproof qualities and help prevent it from drying out and cracking. To avoid leather boots losing their shape, care should be taken to avoid excessively softening leather uppers. This means not over soaking the boot uppers in warm water when washing them or over use of the leather softening proofing products when treating the uppers.
Beeswax-based treatments like Grangers G Wax will nourish and protect all kinds of leather, maintaining performance and prolonging the life of your boots but can change the appearance of suede and nubuck. To avoid this we recommend using Nikwax Nubuck & Suede Proof, which both protects and preserves the original texture of the leather. Apply an even coating to your boots while they are still damp and then leave them for two minutes to allow them to absorb the treatment before leaving them to dry naturally.
Occasionally check your soles for signs of wear. If you notice you are losing grip, you may want to have the sole replaced. If the boot uppers are damaged, this is likely to compromise their waterproofing, and it may be time to replace them.
Many of our shoe labels feature symbols to explain their materials and composition. Here's what they mean, so you know what to look out for when shopping for walking boots.