At the end of a good walk, it's all too easy to kick off your walking boots and leave them in a dark corner until the next time you need them. If the boots are wet, stuff them with crumpled up newspaper to absorb the damp - check and replace it as needed - and leave them to dry naturally. Resting them on radiators or by fires means the leather stiffens and cracks whilst the adhesives that hold modern boots together will suffer and eventually fail. To maintain the best performance and comfort as well as extend their useful life, a little care goes a long way with leather boots. Every now and then, they will benefit from a good clean and proofing that will also keep them supple.
- Scuffs and scrapes allow water to penetrate boot leather, breaking down the fibres and structure. When they dry out, cracks appear that accelerate deterioration
- Prepare the boots for cleaning by taking the trouble to clean off mud, removing the laces and taking out the insoles.
- Clean the boots thoroughly in cold water; there's no need to use soap or detergents but there are many proprietary boot cleaners that are useful.
- An old rag and your favourite boot care treatment are all that's needed plus, of course, the will to tackle the chore and about 30 minutes of your time.
- Whatever you choose to use - Nikwax is a sound choice - it's best rubbed into nooks and crannies with a finger; really work the cream into the leather and seams.
- Wipe off any excess - doing two pairs at the same time means little is wasted - and buff the leather with a clean cloth to seal it against the wet.