Expert tips: Proper care for mountain boots

two hikers with trekking backpack and poles in the evening light

How to care for your mountain boots properly

To ensure that your well-worn hiking boots last for a long time, you should care for them regularly. Because it is indisputable: Your hiking boots will remain functional for much longer if you clean and care for them again and again. This is especially true for all nubuck, suede and smooth leather models, and you're doing something good for nature!

We show you how easy it is, so you can enjoy your hiking boots for a long time and protect our environment and beloved mountains . Keyword: sustainability in mountain sports.

Mountain boots at Sport Bittl

Step 1: Preparation of care

If your shoes are dirty and/or wet, dry them in a well-ventilated area, but away from heat sources. The leather could dry out or crack.

Remove the laces so that the care substances can also reach the hidden parts of your shoe.

Since the insole collects a lot of moisture (especially on multi-day tours), you should also remove it and let it dry.

vector graphic of a mountain shoe with inner sole and laces

Step 2: Basic cleaning of your shoes

To make the leather air-permeable and breathable again, thoroughly brush the hiking boots dry. Then clean them with warm water and a brush .

If the mountain boots are very dirty, it is recommended to use a lukewarm soapy water or a shoe cleaner. The detergent opens the pores of the leather and should be rinsed well with water.

Now the leather is in an unprotected state: therefore you should definitely impregnate the shoe .

Let your boots dry in a well-ventilated room. Under no circumstances should you leave the shoes in the sun, in the bathroom, on the heater, near the stove or in the car!

vector graphic of mountain shoe with brush and hand cleaning the mountain shoe

Step 3: Impregnation of the shoes

Impregnate your mountain boots while they are still wet. Through the opened pores, the agent can penetrate deep into the material and optimally protect your shoes .

After about 24 hours, the impregnation spray develops its full effect. However, it will wear off again after three weeks. Therefore, regular reimpregnation is crucial to prevent water and dirt absorption .

In addition, a constant impregnation of the (leather) mountain boots remains breathable .

vector graphic of a mountain shoe being impregnated

Step 4: Care for your shoes

For frequent use, you should also treat your hiking boots with care products such as wax creams or wax emulsions.

Rub your hiking boots with the care product to make them more resistant and durable. Leather that is not cared for dries out and becomes brittle. This is also necessary for shoes with Gore-Tex® membrane.

Note: Do not use greases or oils. This will make your leather shoes almost waterproof and very delicate, but the openings will be closed and your mountain boots will lose breathability and stability. In addition, adhesions can loosen .

vector graphic of a mountain shoe with brush and hand that cares for the mountain shoe

Step 5: Storage of your shoes

It's best to store your hiking boots in a shoe bag or box in an airy, dry place .

Wooden shoe trees help to maintain the shape of the shoe. This prevents the formation of a bending crease.

You can also stuff your mountain boots with crumpled newspaper. This also maintains the shape and the paper absorbs moisture. Note: If your boots are very wet, change the newspaper daily.

vector graphic of mountain shoe with shoe tree and crumpled newspaper

Hiking boots at Sport Bittl

More tips

Finally, a few helpful expert tips on the subject of mountain boot care:

  • Clean your hiking boots directly after the tour
  • Do NOT wash your shoes in the washing machine
  • Don't forget textile materials. Brush & impregnate them as well.
  • Care also the inner lining e.g. with special leather milk. With Gore-Tex lukewarm water is enough.

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