How to look after leather walking boots.

Leather boots need more looking after then most, so it’s key to make sure that you take care of them – unless you want to be replacing your boots each year. If you leave your boots too long, every time they take a step you’ll be grinding dirt further in to the leather. This then has an effect of a grater, destroying the leather until it splits or cracks. Mud also sucks any moisture out of the leather leaving it old and tired.

All is not lost though, just follow our simple guide and your leather boots will serve you for many years becoming best friends with your feet. If there is just one simple thing we would like you to remember when you have bought from us it’s this.

Never ever forget to clean them!!!!

If you’re too tired on the day having just got back from the Aanoch Eagach or some other monster day out, just clean them the next day. Just don’t forget to clean them!

Muddy BootsStep 1) Clean

  • Take your laces off your boot and take out the insoles too.
  • Wash the outside with a gentle brush to get rid of all the mud. Make sure the brush is soft and gentle – no wire brushes please.
  • Every couple of weeks rinse the inside of the boot as well. You might think that’s a bit strange, but the reason goretex linings sometimes fail is because of dirt that gets in to the boot. That dirt then punctures the Goretex from the inside of the boot as it’s forced by your feet in to the lining. Warm water is the best when cleaning, but don’t worry if you’ve only got cold.
  • Don’t be tempted to use anything like washing up liquid or any other detergent as they leave traces that end up attracting water and leaving a residue.

Step 2 ) Dry

  • Under no circumstances use heat to dry them. That means no airing cupboards, radiators, camp fires or hairdriers people. You’ll weaken both the leather uppers and any glue that’s been used in making your boots.
  • Leave your boots to dry naturally with the insoles out.
  •  If you have to dry them quickly stuff them full of newspaper (we prefer the Western Gazette….) and be sure to change paper every couple of hours.
  • Dry them upside down for the quickest results.
  • Store them at room temperature.

Most of the time these steps will be enough, but sometimes your boots will need a little more care. If your boot is not beading water properly on the outside, you will need to reproof it. We recommend Nikwax as the best solution . Don’t attempt to reproof your boots however until you have cleaned them, it doesn’t work if they’re dirty and you’ll just be grinding that dirt back in to the leather.

Step 3 ) Reproof 

  • With leather boots the wetter they are, the better the application will take. Nikwax say that you can apply their reproofing to both wet and dry but they think wet does a better job. If you have just come back from a soggy walk and have cleaned your boots it’s probably the best time you can do it!
  • Apply liberally and make sure it gets in to all welts and seam.
  • Pay special attention to the seams as these are your boots weak points – particularly the join between sole and upper.
  • After 2 minutes, remove surplus with a cloth and allow to dry before use.

As your boots get older they naturally lose some of the moisture that they have within them. After cleaning and reproofing you might notice that the leather feels dry or it may even be starting to crack, it may also look grey and discoloured as well. Left like this it could well cause long term damage to your boots. When your boots get like this, you need a conditioner to help bring moisture back to the leather. We would recommend Nikwax conditioner. It works well with breathable linings such as Goretex & eVent and it’s majorly friendly to the environment too. It also helps restore boots that you think may actually be past it.

Step 4 ) Condition Looking new again!
  • The conditioning treatment works best with wet leather so make sure you have followed step 1 to clean above.
  • Apply liberally and make sure it gets in to all welts and seam.
  • Polish any left overs off after a couple of minutes.


And there you have it. Follow these top tips and your leather boots will give you years of happy use yomping the hills. If you’ve got any boot care tips or questions fire away in the comments below!


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