Footwear, as we all know, takes a lot of abuse. Even so, it has always broken my heart a little to see even my most worn-out (yet beloved) shoes relegated to the trash bin. But, what else can you do? They’re toast, right? Wrong.
A boot or shoe is made up (very roughly speaking) of three basic parts: the sole, the upper and the liner. All of these parts can become broken down or worn out without proper care. WITH proper care, however, your footwear can last you a LOT longer, leaving some extra cash in your pocket and a little less stuff in your local landfill. For extremely detailed direction on caring for your boots, check out this article by our friends at REI, Caring for Hiking Boots: Expert Advice.
A good place to start is by finding a good repair person in your town. Dave Page, Seattle-area Cobbler Extrordinaire, agrees, “resole your shoes. Those things are expensive!” As the authorized repair agent for REI, Vibram, Vasque, Asolo, Montrail, One Sport, Merrell, Raichle, Scarpa, Garmont, Salomon, La Sportiva, Technica, Lowa, Zamberlan, Kayland, EMS and Chaco, the man has resuscitated more pairs of shoes and boots than most of us have ever seen.
At a cost far below what you would pay to replace your footwear, you can have them repaired and resoled, keeping them out of the landfill and preserving that broken-in comfort you worked so hard for. “Replacing climbing shoes every time the sole wears out makes no sense to me. It’s wasteful and you’re always breaking in a new pair!” says La Sportiva (and Nikwax) rep Ed Sampson.
What’s that you say? You say your boots are still practically new? Well, friend, then you’re in luck! Keeping your boots and shoes clean and waterproof prevents grit from getting into the fabric and leather and breaking them down from the inside. Use Nikwax Footwear Cleaning Gel to remove dirt and grime after use, then follow-up with the Nikwax waterproofer that’s appropriate for your specific type of footwear to maintain the durable water-repellent finish.
Green for Clean!
Purple for Proof!
Help your footwear work better and last longer. Hike and climb happy and Stay Dry! 🙂
Dave Page is a Seattle-area cobbler who specializes in repairing and resoling hiking and mountaineering boots, climbing shoes and Birkenstocks. If you have a pair of boots or shoes in need of help, contact Dave via his website.
Ed Sampson is a long-time climber and mountaineer who’s built a storied career in the outdoor industry. He is currently part of the Tenaya Group, which represents La Sportiva, Nikwax and Bluewater Ropes in the American Southwest.
Kelsey is the Technical Field Service Rep for Nikwax North America. She travels the country preaching the gospel of gear care as the Nikwax Nerd. Prior to working for Nikwax, Kelsey spent 7 years working in outdoor industry and footwear retail. She welcomes your gear care questions at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @nikwaxnerd.