Cleaning and care of equipment: Trekking Boots

One of the basic components of your equipment is your trekking boots and if you want them to last longer you must take good care of them.

It is important to give your shoes after the use a careful treatment. The treatment has three objectives:


All fabrics on the shoe are water repellent. This hydrophobization decreases over the time, so it must be renewed.


Modern shoes are breathable to guarantee a good foot climate. This function must be preserved.


Shoes consits of leather or fabric or both. This needs regular treatment for long life and form holding.

Preparation before cleaning

Remove the laces so that you can easily reach hard to access areas, like the tongue, when cleaning. Remove the footbed .It can be washed at 30 degrees so that it can dry out and be aired. Boots must not be washed in a washing machine for no reason. This can damage the upper material and destroy adhesives beyond repair.



Basic cleaning

After each outing, remove the dirt with a brush and warm water. Soles must also be cleaned of dirt and stones.


You should also clean the interior of your boots using warm water. This will not damage the lining.


Never dry your boots by letting them in the sun or near hot surfaces such as radiators or heaters. Wet leather is very sensitive to heat and usually cracks. This means that it becomes brittle, hard and cracked. To dry the boots stuff them with newspaper, let them dry (avoid what we said above) and remove the papers after a few hours even if they haven’t dry completely. After removing the papers, use if you have wooden shoe trees. This will help to keep their shape. If you don’t have wooden shoe trees, change the papers regularly until the boots are completely dry. Drying procedure may take more than a day depending on the conditions of the “drying” place.


Remember to waterproof your boots when they are not quite dry. The pores on the leather or the fabric are then still open and the waterproofing can penetrate more deeply. Use any waterproofing spray for boots made of textile materials.

Waterproofing takes about 24 hours to become fully effective. Boots should always be repeatedly waterproofed so that water and dirt can be permanently repelled.


Leather needs a regular application of wax. Apply the wax with a sponge or cloth and don’t forget to wax the tongue. Metal hooks and eyelets must also be maintained. This will protect them from corrosion.

Do not warm up the wax because it will penetrate too deeply and will affect breathability and wearing comfort. Do not apply any oil or grease to the boots because this will make them to lose their strength and stability. You can also apply wax to membrane (GORE-TEX or similar) boots and textile edgings. Notice that the appearance of the leather will change through the wax application.


Do not store your boots closed in plastic bags or airtight containers when not in use. Carefully place them in a cardboard box, in places with good ventilation, free from temperature changes and with low humidity in order to preserve their original shape and softness.

The boots’ insulation worked well in snow. Photo: Bob Smith/grough