Footwear is made of leather because it is comfortable, supportive, naturally water-repellent and breathable. The less water absorbed by leather, the longer it will last and the more comfortable your feet will be. Once wet, leather stretches and weakens, shrinks and becomes brittle as it dries. Here are a few simple suggestions to keep footwear performing at their best for years to come.
The first step to footwear maintenance is regular cleaning. Small particles of dirt can work their way into the fibres of the leather causing abrasion and break down. After use, rinse off mud and dirt with tap water. To remove oil-based dirt, excess wax and stubborn grime that will not be cleaned by plain water use Nikwax Footwear Cleaning Gel and a nylon brush. Be sure to clean the linings of your boots with a warm damp cloth after each use as well. Salt from perspiration can pass into the lining rapidly destroying the leather making it dry and cracked.
This is important not just to keep your feet dry, but will keep footwear cleaner and maintain the leather's suppleness for improved durability. After cleaning footwear with water, apply the appropriate Nikwax waterproofing treatment to the entire shoe or boot, paying special attention to the stitching and around hardware (anywhere the leather has been punctured) to ensure complete protection from the elements. Reapply as necessary or after use in severe conditions. For best results let footwear dry for 24 hours before use.
Start by removing the laces and inner soles. Dry footwear slowly at room temperature. Do not expose shoes or boots to a direct heat source. Excessive heat can cause irreversible damage to the leather and is harmful to the adhesives used in footwear construction. To help dry footwear that has been filled with water or is thoroughly soaked we recommend stuffing it with newspaper. Replace wet newspaper and repeat until footwear is dry.
Conditioning footwear can reduce the break-in time for new smooth leather shoes or boots and also revive old dried out footwear. We suggest using Nikwax Conditioner for Leather, a few times a year or as needed.
To get the best results from your new boots or shoes, we recommend the following:
New footwear should be worn indoors for a few days to ensure that you are pleased with the fit.
When breaking in new boots be sure to wear the socks that you will be using with the boot.
Allow adequate time to break in your new footwear. Heavier boots may require more time to break in. Start out with short walks working your way up to longer hikes. This will help guarantee your comfort and satisfaction.
If the boots are smooth leather and you have decided that they are a good fit then Nikwax Conditioner for Leather can be applied to help break in your new boots.
After the boots have been worn in the outdoors a couple of times and the factory applied DWR (Durable Water Repellency) is beginning to wear off apply the appropriate Nikwax waterproofing treatment to extend the life of your footwear.
“After six months adventuring in the mountains of the Scottish Highlands, my kit had taken a real battering from the weather. After over 2,000km of intensive hiking, with over 150,000 metres of ascent, I wouldn't have been surprised if much of my kit was no longer salvageable. I used #Nikwax to clean and re-proof my boots and apparel before and after my adventure, and it's meant that I haven't had to retire a single item. Nikwax helps to extend the life of my favourite outdoor kit, whilst also being non toxic to the environment.”Adventurer_Nic