So you found the
perfect the boot. If fits your plans, they feel like a pair of
slippers (well you hope they will after they are broken in), and it was
in your budget. Congratulations! If you take care of those
boots you can get years, possibly decades out of them. One of our
editors has a pair of Sorrels that are 14 years old and still
going! Here are some tips on getting long life out of your boots.
them as soon as you get home. If your boots are made
from leather, use an oil based product to waterproof them.
Stay away from waxes or silicones that can clog the pours and
shorten the life of the boot. Make sure to pay close
attention to the welts at the mid-sole and to get a good amount of
waterproofing material in those seams. If your boots are
synthetic, use a silicone based waterproof product. Not only
will oil based not work well, it can actually damage your
synthetic boot. Again, pay close attention to the welt seams
at the mid-sole. If your boot is a composite of both
synthetic and natural materials, follow the manufacturers
your boots in before going hiking in them. Wear them
around the house, when going to the store, for a few days at work,
any opportunity where you can soften up the sole and get the
material to stretch a little to the shape of your foot.
Don't get caught on a trail in a new pair of boots that haven't
been broken in. There is not a set time period or distance
for a break in of new boots, listen to your feet. If you
have gone for an extended period of time, or walked for more than
ten miles and your boots are still uncomfortable, you may have to
rethink your purchase.
them clean. When you buy your boots not only should you
walk out of the store with waterproofing material, but you should
also leave with an appropriate cleaner. There are a number
of products on the market today that will work on either synthetic
or natural materials. Start by banging your boots together
to get the largest amount of dirt out of the lugs. Then,
take a stiff nylon brush and brush the boots to get the dirt
off. If your boots are still dirty, get a damp cloth and
wipe the dirt away, be careful not to soak the leather. If
you are removing volcanic dust, use a vacuum and stay away from
water. Once you have cleaned them up follow the directions
on your selected boot cleaner. After cleaning your boots,
you should waterproof them again. Wait until they are fully
dried from cleaning before repeating that process.
heat dry wet boots. If you get your boots wet, don't
place them by a fire or heater to speed up drying them off.
It only damages the material, effects the fit, and if you get your
boots to close to the heat source, can melt the cement holding the
sole to the upper. Let them natural air dry in a warm dry
place. If you get a mildew smell, you can use foot powder or
baking soda to get the smell out. Once dry, give them a
thorough cleaning and re-waterproof them according to the
directions with the boot.
store your boots for an extended period of time. If you
live in a cold climate, or only hike when you travel, don't let
your boots sit unused for a long period of time. Wear them
periodically to keep them stretched out and comfortable. Use
them to run errands or around work if you get up and down.
By doing this you will keep the soles soft and the uppers
comfortable for your feet.