Dirty hiking boots are a sign of a good time. However, in order to prolong their life, it is important to clean your hiking boots when they get dirty. Dirt and caked-on mud can prematurely dry out fabric and leather, and can abrade the fibers of your shoes, making them wear out faster. Additionally, it’s important to re-waterproof hiking boots to keep them performing their best. Luckily, it’s easy to clean and re-waterproof your hiking shoes and boots once you know how.
For your educational pleasure, these La Sportiva GORE-TEX hiking boots were volunteered for a cleaning and waterproofing. They trekked many miles this summer and have the dirt to show it.
How to clean your (very) dirty hiking boots:
- Knock off or brush off all chunks of dirt. Do this outside or into a garbage bin. Use a stiff-bristled brush to help get into cracks (boot eyelets love to hang onto crud).
- Remove shoelaces. This will help you clean the tongue more effectively. You can also wash the laces for extra bonus points.
- Rinse your boots clear of any debris with water. Try to get those big chunks of dirt off before hand so you don’t clog up your sink!
- Grab Nikwax Footwear Cleaning Gel, shake thoroughly, then press down on the sponge applicator to break the seal (if it’s new!)
- Scrub-a-dub your boots with Nikwax Footwear Cleaning Gel. It will help remove embedded dirt and prepare your boots for any waterproofing you might want to add.
- Rinse Cleaning Gel off boots.
How to re-waterproof your (now clean) hiking boots:
- Grab Nikwax Fabric and Leather Proof (great for all fabric, leather or combination footwear). Shake thoroughly, then press down on the sponge applicator to break the seal.
- Apply the waterproofing all over your boots to ensure your feet stay nice and dry! Let sit for a few minutes, then wipe off any excess product.
- Let dry completely!
- Put the laces back in and enjoy your clean and (if you waterproofed them) waterproof hiking boots that are ready for their next adventure!