How to look after your walking boots

Muddy boots 

Our recommended retail partner Cotswold Outdoor share their tips for keeping your walking boots in top condition, from how to remove mud and re-proofing to the best way to dry your boots and how to avoid them losing their shape.

Read this step by step guide.

Scrub clean

Cleaning your boots straight after a walk may not be the most exciting way to round off a day on the trail but you’ll be grateful for it next time you head out and your boots are ready and raring to go. Simply rinse with warm water and use a semi-stiff brush to remove stubborn mud and grit.

Top tip: Avoid using detergents as these can damage technical fabrics

Treat with a proofer

A proofer, such as Nikwax Fabric & Leather Proofer, will help to keep your feet dry against the elements. Remember to check that the type of proofer is the right one for your boots as treatments vary. Use one that’s suitable for use on footwear with waterproof breathable lining and waterproof leathers to maintain your boots’ performance as you clock up the miles.

Avoid shape loss

Try not to soften your leather uppers too much while washing to avoid your boots losing their shape. The trick is to wash carefully paying attention to the different surfaces on the boot – a hefty sole will take some scrubbing but be gentle on the more delicate surfaces of the boot.

Dry carefully

As tempting as it may be, don’t leave your boots next to a direct source of heat such as fires and radiators. This can cause damage to your boots and may affect their performance. Instead, allow them to dry in a well-ventilated area (in a warm room or outdoors) and save the open fire for warming yourself up.

Absorb all moisture

Soggy boots? Don’t panic. But do make sure you dry your boots properly before storing them away for their next outing. Newspaper works a treat for absorbing moisture from wet walking boots, just replace it every couple of hours until the paper is dry. Alternatively, you can use Absorba Balls which will zip the moisture out in a matter of hours, they also help to prevent odour and they’re re-usable too.

Check for wear

Keep an eye out for wear and tear, especially on the soles of your boots, as this may help you avoid replacing your boots before its necessary. If you notice signs of wear and you’re losing grip, you may wish to have the sole replaced, but a new pair of boots may be needed if the upper is damaged too.

Photo: © Tim Parkinson