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Looking after your outdoor footwear.

Words by Paul

on 25/04/2016 16:15:28

muddy walking boot

Now that you have invested in a quality pair of outdoor footwear it is vitally important that you clean and re-proof them regularly. Your boots will perform better, be more breathable and last longer if they are kept clean and re-proofed.

Why should I bother?

Breathable and waterproof footwear will get sweaty and wet inside when used in damp or wet conditions. If the outer fabric or leather absorbs water the breathability of the footwear will be reduced. The original Durable Water Repellency (DWR) of your footwear must be maintained to ensure lasting comfort but the original manufacturers DWR will be reduced over time from every day wear and by contaminants such as mud. You’ll know when the DWR is diminished when the outer of the boots soak up water, this makes them much less breathable, heavy and unpleasant to wear. A decent pair of technical socks will draw moisture away from your feet, keeping them dry, however if the outside of your footwear is wet all that moisture will not be able to escape through the material and your feet will feel clammy and wet which can lead to blisters and general discomfort. Regular wetting and drying of untreated materials will also lead to rapid deterioration of the fibres and structure of the fabric and leather which in turn can lead to structural failures and seam weakening.

OK, so how do I look after them properly?

To clean you boots rinse them with clean water to remove loose mud and to dampen the surface then generously apply Nikwax Footwear Cleaning Gel to remove ingrained dirt particles and to revitalise the DWR and breathability. If the boots are very dirty give them a scrub with a stiff Nylon brush to really work the Cleaning Gel into the uppers. Rinse well with clean water and re-proof if necessary.

Re-proofing fabric and leather boots.

Once your boots are nice and clean and still damp treat them to a re-proof with Nikwax Fabric and Leather Proof. This environmentally friendly product is easy and quick to apply either spray or sponge applicator on to wet boots. Nikwax Fabric & Leather Proof provides highly Durable Water Repellency (DWR) which develops on air drying. It leaves a flexible water repellent treatment on individual fibres of fabric and leather. This allows moisture vapour to pass through, maintaining breathability and keeping your feet dry. This effective product has been specifically designed and optimised for fabric and leather combination footwear.

Re-proofing leather boots:

For boots made from smooth leather we recommend the use of Nikwax Waterproofing Wax for Leather, this water based smooth and easy to apply wax is a safe product to use on breathable waterproof footwear. It provides instant Durable Water Repellency (DWR), maintains breathability and replenishes tanning agents in leather. It is non-flammable, contains no harmful solvents and is free of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and fluorocarbons. Nikwax Waterproofing Wax for Leather has been specifically designed and optimised for smooth leather footwear. Because the product is water based it is directed to leaks, can be used on wet or dry leather and will not over-soften.

If your boots are made from either Nubuck or Suede and you want to maintain that aesthetic then we would recommend the use of Nikwax Nubuck & Suede Proof. It is easy and quick to apply; either spray or sponge on to wet boots. Nikwax Nubuck & Suede Proof provides highly Durable Water Repellency (DWR) which develops on air drying leaving a flexible water repellent treatment on individual fibres of Nubuck and suede. This allows moisture vapour to pass through, maintaining breathability and keeping your feet dry. Nikwax Nubuck & Suede Proof has been specifically designed and optimised for Nubuck and suede combination footwear and will maintain the texture of the materials.

Drying your boots:

Only ever air dry your boots at room temperature in a well ventilated area. Do not place your boots on a direct heat source such as a radiator or force dry them in an over-heated environment such as a drying room. Over drying and excessive heat can seriously damage the fabric of the boots and can cause the glues used in construction to delaminate leading to complete and catastrophic failure of the product.  If the insides of your boots have become wet stuff them with newspaper and replace every couple of hours until the boots are dry.

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