How to care for your hiking boots

Your hiking boots are designed to last. But because they're exposed to wet weather, dirt and constant use, it's necessary to take regular care of them.

Kathmandu Product Expert Daan Djikstra explains how to clean and protect your hiking boots.

How to clean and care for your outdoor footwear

Cleaning your hiking boots:

  • Take out the laces, and brush off any loose dirt with a soft brush. If the sole of your shoe has caked-in mud, use a brush with hard bristles.

  • Spray on Granger’s Footwear Cleaner from a 10-15cm distance. Wipe it off with clean wet cloth or sponge.

  • Let them dry naturally, or apply some extra protection while still damp.

Protecting your hiking boots:

Waterproof your boots with Granger’s Footwear Repel. You can use it on a wide range of boots — including leather and fabric boots without affecting the waterproof liner. Granger's Footwear Repel is particularly great for nubuck and suede leather because it won't impact the appearance of the shoe.

  • While your boots are still damp, spray on Granger’s Footwear Repel from a 10-15cm distance. Make sure you cover all the seams.

  • Wipe it off with a clean cloth and let it air dry.

Protecting leather hiking boots:

To prevent leather boots from cracking, use a leather conditioner to help maintain the suppleness. Condition sparingly. Over-conditioning can be detrimental to the long-term performance of your boot.

  • For leather hiking boots, apply Granger's leather conditioner. This leather conditioner is great for boots with a waterproof breathable lining, because it won't affect the breathability.

For some more heavy duty protection for smooth, full grain leather, opt for Granger’s G-Wax. When used on nubuck it can change the appearance of your shoes.

  • Use a clean cloth and apply the conditioner to clean, damp leather. Rub the conditioner in a circular motion, making sure you cover all the seams and joints.

  • Apply two to three thin layers, allowing it to air dry between each layer.

Important tips:

  • Clean them sooner rather than later so the leather doesn't dry out. Regardless of the material, dirt should be removed as soon as you've finished hiking.

  • Don’t use a direct heat source — like the sun or a fire — to dry leather or suede boots. It may cause them to shrink and stiffen-up. Direct heat can also affect the adhesives used in some footwear.

  • On the other hand, sunlight is a great deodoriser for smelly insoles. Remove these separately to dry them out and prevent odour-causing bacteria.

  • Finally, store your clean and dry boots in a well-aired and dry environment, away from direct light. Don’t store your boots in a plastic bag for any length of time! You want them to dry to avoid any odour build-up.

Protect your hiking boots and shoes