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Take Care of Your Hiking Boots So They Last Longer
Use these 5 tips to care of your hiking boots. High quality hiking boots are an investment. Using these five tips to care for your hiking boots, lets your boots last a long time and wear comfortably. You want to:
- Break your boots in properly.
- Waterproof your boots.
- Clean, and maintain your boots.
- Resole your boots when needed.
Breaking In Your Boots
The reason you break in your hiking boots is to make them soft so your feet are comfortable. Your feet are comfortable when your boots are limber where your feet and ankles bend. Break in your boots by walking in them.
Take short walks to break in your boots so you do not have stiff boots and blisters when you hike. Even if your boots only need a little break in, wearing them lets your feet become used to your new boots.
Wear your new hiking boots for short periods of time. Walk in your boots at home. Use them when you work on the lawn. Wear your boots on your way to and from work. Take short hikes in your boots before you go on a long hike.
When you break your boots in properly, your feet are comfortable when you hike, and you can enjoy your hiking boots for years.
Waterproofing Your Boots
Most hiking boots are already waterproof when you buy them, but you still want to waterproof your boots. Different materials require different kinds of waterproofing. Leather needs a wax based waterproofing product. Fabrics like nylon blends require a silicone based waterproofing spray.
Most hiking boots are made of a leather and fabric blend. If your boots are a blend, use both wax and silicone based waterproofing products. Be careful when you use silicone sprays.
Silicone damages the glue used to seal leather hiking boot seams. First, spray the silicone waterproofing on the fabric part of your boot while you cover the leather. Next, apply the wax based waterproofing on the leather and the seams of your boot.
If your boots are full grain leather hiking boots, you can either use a wax based waterproofing or shoe polish. Shoe polish works well on the seams. You can put on a thick layer of shoe polish then work it into the seams and stitching.
Before your first hike, and after each hike, clean and waterproof your boots. When you care for your hiking boots, they care for your feet!
Cleaning and Maintaining Your Boots
After each hike, clean the dirt from your hiking boots. When you take a break during your hike, check your boots, and remove any excess mud or dirt.
If you want to clean your boots while hiking or camping, kick them against a rock, or bang your boots together. If they are really dirty, scrape them with a stick.
When mud dries on your boots, the mud will suck out the waterproofing and soak into your boot. The soaked in mud destroys your boot leather. The mud is bad for nylon too.
When you return home, wipe your boots with a damp cloth. Be sure you wipe off all of the dirt so nothing stops the waterproofing from working. Cleaning like this also lets you check your boots for damage.
If a seam unravels, cut off loose threads. If the loose thread catches on something, the seam comes apart.
Depending on how much damage from loose threads there is and how much your boots cost, you might want to take them to a shoe shop for repairs. Also, applying extra shoe polish holds the loose ends in place and keeps the seam waterproof.
If your boots are soaked, dry them slowly. Drying quickly makes the leather shrink. When the leather shrinks, it pulls away from the fabric parts and from the rubber sole.
Dry your wet boots by packing them with newspapers. Until your boots dry, put in fresh newspaper every few hours.
Between hikes, shoe trees help your boots hold their shape. Holding their shape means your boots stay comfortable for your next hike.
Resoling your Hiking Boots
Resoling your boots cost between forty and eighty dollars. Find an experienced, local shoe repair shop. An experienced shop usually guarantees their work. When you re-sole your hiking boots, they are like new. Break in your boots again.
When your Boots Wear Out
Several parts of your boot often wear out. Parts that wear out include the ankle padding around the top of your boot, the sole tread, the soft part of your sole’s lining. Also, the uppers’ seams and seams between fabric and leather wear out.
Ankle Padding – Check the foam padding. When the padding wears out, rocks and pebbles get in your boot.
Sole Tread – Check the sole tread to be sure the knobs still provide adequate traction. When the knobs wear out, you can easily slip or fall.
Sole Lining – If the soft part of your lining is worn out, your feet hurt when you hike on the hard lining. You also develop blisters.
Seams – Seam wear makes the fabric weaker and causes friction. Friction makes your foot hurt.
You can repair some of these boot problems. Often, as your boots age, several or all of these problems happen at the same time. If more than one or all happens together, it is a good time to replace your hiking boots.
Summary – Take Care Of Your Hiking Boots
If you care for your hiking boots, you have comfortable feet during your hike and an enjoyable hike. Care for your hiking boots by breaking them in. After break-in, waterproof, clean, and maintain your boots. Care for your hiking boots so your boots take care of your feet during your trail adventures!
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