How To Care For Your Waterproof Boots
Saturated leather draws heat away from the foot, making you susceptible to
chilling and frostbite. Worse, it renders the boot non-breathable. You must
treat your boots, even those that are factory waterproofed, periodically to maintain the
water repellency. Below are some tips to maximize the performance of your waterproofing treatment.
- Smooth, full-grain leather boots are often sold with an application of
glycerin or canuba wax to keep the boots looking new through shipping and selling.
- Wash this coating off with soap and water before applying any waterproofing wax, water-soluble or
- Leather needs to be kept clean inside and out for a long life span.
- Although a simple washing with ordinary soap and water will suffice, a number
of manufactures offer care kits complete with soap, soft scrub brushes and conditioner.
- Be sure to rinse whatever soaps you use out of the leather thoroughly, as detergents are
- Never use heat to dry a boot; it will damage and "cook" the leather.
- To properly dry boots, remove the footbed and laces, open fully, and allow to dry naturally at room
A Little Goes a Long Way
- Too much of a good thing can make your boots droopy or tacky.
- Properly applied, in thin layers, oils and waxes can and do work well.
- Improperly applied, waxes gunk up the surface of the leather attracting dirt and grime,
while oils soak into the leather leading to breakdown.
- Most treatments will alter the color and/or look of the leather, usually by darkening.
- However, in the case of nubuck, split grain, rough-out, or suede, waxes and oils will not
only darken, but also smooth over the nap.
Waterproof / Breathable Linings
- Many waterproof boots are sold with a Gore-Tex® or other waterproof-breathable
- The Gore company recommends that you treat the leather to
keep it water resistant, but make sure to use a product that also offers breathability.
- Completely impermeable sealants and coatings cancel out the dry,
breathability of these linings.
- Oils, polish, silicone or other treatments should not harm the membrane if they comes in contact.
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