Built to be sturdy enough to take on the toughest conditions, offer support on uneven terrain, and offer protection from the elements, a pair of walking boots are a must for anyone serious about taking on the mountains. But, like all outdoor gear they’re an investment that needs proper care if you want to use them for years of epic adventures.  


Whether your boots are  leather, suede, nubuck or synthetic/hybrid, our step-by-step guide covers everything you need to do to keep your walking boots performing at their best for longer. 


Top tips for looking after your walking boots

The best way to properly care for your tent is to start taking care of it right from the get go. However, even if you’ve made mistakes in the past, with our advice we can help you get things back on track.

Scrub them clean after every use

Get into the habit of cleaning your boots after every walk. Yes, it may seem like a chore, but the short amount of time it takes to lightly scrub off mud, grass and grit accumulated on your walk will pay off in dividends when it comes to prolonging the lifespan of your boots. 


All you need is warm water, a semi-stiff brush and a little elbow grease and make sure you get into all the nooks and crannies. 


For a more thorough clean, 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. 

Dry them out

When you’re out in all weathers, your boots will get wet, and when they do, you need to dry them out correctly. 


You should never use a direct heat source, like radiators or an aga, to speed up the drying process, as the heat can damage the boots and cause cracks in the uppers. Instead, put scrunched up newspaper into your boots and leave them to dry naturally in a warm room or outdoors, away from direct sunlight. Replace the newspaper regularly to help speed up the process. 


Re-proof regularly

Any decent pair of walking boots will come with a water-resistant coating, but this doesn’t last forever, so they need regular reproofing. 


So how often should you reproof? This depends on how you use them and how often. As a rule of thumb, you should be reproofing after every couple of wears or when you notice water isn't beading on the surface.   


Before reproofing, you need to know what materials they are so you can choose the right type of reproofing treatment. If you’re not sure, take a look at our own or the manufacturer’s website or ask one of our in-store experts.  

Full leather walking boots

If your boots are full-grain leather, you need to let them dry naturally before applying Granger's G-Wax with a cloth or the nozzle sponge on Nikwax Waterproof Cream. Both these products condition the leather to prevent it from drying out and cracking and reproof it to ensure it continues to be water-resistant. 


Top tip: Avoid soaking leather uppers in warm water or overusing leather proofing products on this area as over softening them can cause your boots to lose their shape.  

Suede/nubuck walking boots

Suede or nubuck boots can be treated with Grangers G Wax which is suitable for all kinds of leather, but it can change the appearance of suede and nubuck.  


If this is something you’re concerned about, we’d recommend using Nikwax Nubuck & Suede Proof which protects and preserves the original texture of the leather. Simply apply an even coating to your boots when still damp and leave them for two minutes to allow them to absorb the treatment before wiping away any excess drips. Then leave them to dry naturally. 

Synthetic/hybrid walking boots

Synthetic boots can be treated with Granger’s Footwear Repel or Nikwax Fabric & Leather Proof after cleaning. Apply whilst they’re still damp to help the proofer soak into the material and allow them to dry naturally. 

Check for wear

Another good habit to get into is to check your walking boots for wear. If you notice wear on your sole or a noticeable loss of grip, your sole may need replacing. Whereas damage or wear to the upper can compromise water resistance and may mean it’s time to replace your boots. 




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