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Caring for Your Work Boots

Your work boots help keep you warm, dry and comfortable. When you take care of your work boots, your work boots will continue to take care of you. If you're wondering how to take care of leather work boots, here are a few tips for work boot care, whether you want to learn about Chippewa boot care, Carolina work boot care or some other brand of leather boots.

It's a good idea when you receive your new work boots to break them in by wearing them around the house for several days. You can speed up the break-in period by applying a conditioner, but wait till your boots are broken in before waterproofing them.

When cleaning boots before waterproofing, use a water-based cleaning product and a nylon brush. Then apply water-based waterproofing to your boots, whether they're wet or dry. Apply another coat after two or three weeks and a third coat later for optimal protection.

To keep your boots in good condition, clean them occasionally with a water-based cleaner and nylon brush. Keep your boots' leather supple and in the best shape by applying leather conditioner occasionally. If necessary, you can also clean the inside of your boots with a low-pH shampoo, making sure to rinse it out thoroughly. If you follow these tips, your boots will give you many years of protection and enjoyment.

Caring For Your New Leather Boots Buying a pair of good boots is an investment to your health. Properly caring for your boots will protect and lengthen the lifespan of that investment. Some of the most common factors of poor boot maintenance are neglect and excessive oiling.

Breaking In Your New Boots

We recommend wearing your new boots around the house from several days and even up to a week in order to help you through the break in period. Keep in mind that some boots may take longer to break in and may prove more difficult. Wearing your boots to work too soon may cause unnecessary hot spots and blisters. It’s also a good idea to wait until your boots are broken in before you apply a waterproofing agent.

Using a conditioner can help speed up the break in process.

Cleaning & Waterproofing Your Boots

Although waterproof-lined boots, like Gore-Tex are the best way to ensure a dry foot.

First, clean your boots with a water-based cleaning agent and a nylon brush. Be sure to carefully brush the seams to make certain all the dirt is removed.

Next, wet the boots and apply a water-based waterproofing agent to make your boots more water resistant. We recommend using water-based products for the following reasons:

  • Breathability. Water-based products do not hamper the breathability of leather or nubuck footwear. This is extremely important since the average male can sweat up to a pint a day for each foot. If you clog the pores of your boots with an inferior product, this sweat has no way to evaporate!
  • You can apply water-based waterproofing products to wet or dry boots.
  • Water-based agents contain NO petroleum, which can cause leather to stretch and affect the fit of the boot.
  • Heat not required! Water-based products do not require heat in order to penetrate the leather. Excessive heat can damage your footwear.
  • Water-based agents do not attract dirt.
  • It does not harm the boot if you use too much.
  • Water-based products provide better water repellency.

Review For Maintaining New Leather Boots

  • Wear your boots around the house for several days to assist in the break-in period. Use a conditioner to help speed up the break in process.
  • Clean your boots with a water-based cleaning agent and a nylon brush.
  • Wet footwear and apply a water-based waterproofing agent like Nikwax Aqueous Wax. After 2-3 weeks, apply a second coat. Repeat for a third time for maximum water repellency.
  • For extremely wet conditions, use a product like Nikwax Waterproof Wax.

Nikwax Nubuck & Suede Waterproofing

For best results, apply to wet footwear. Immediately apply Nikwax Nubuck & Suede to the wet leather. It will penetrate easier and will not leave a streaking or white effect. Follow the manufacturer's instructions and be sure to wipe off any excess after three to five minutes.

When the leather is dry, brush lightly with a stiff nylon brush to restore boots to near original color. Footwear may have a slightly darker, richer look after application.

For maximum performance of all water-based waterproofing agents, we recommend applying two or three coats. These products are very easy to apply in the field when the boots are wet. To apply in the field, rinse off dirt and apply directly... anytime!

There are good boot dryers on the market and we prefer a model with low heat such as the Peet Boot Dryer.

Before storing wet boots, apply a coat of Nikwax Nubuck & Suede, stuff with newspaper, or use cedar boot trees to assist in the drying process and to prevent the footwear from shrinking.

Caring For Your Older Leather Boots

For older footwear, it’s important to clean off the build-up of dirt and wax from excessive waterproofing and oiling. As with new boots, clean your boots with a water-based cleaning agentand a nylon brush. Be sure to carefully brush the seams to make certain all the dirt is removed. You may need to repeat this process several times depending on the condition and age of your boots.

It’s a good idea to apply a leather conditioner to your older boots. As they age, your boots may become dry and stiff. Once dehydrated, your boots can develop cracks where the boot and leather flexes. Using a leather conditioner can prevent this from happening.

Periodically, you may need to clean out the inside of your boot with a low ph factor shampoo. Be sure to rinse the shampoo out thoroughly to remove odor, dirt, salts, acids and dead skin. If you have smelly feet, spray the inside of your boots with an odor eating spray.

Once all this prep work is done, it's time to apply a water-based waterproofing agent

As you can see, a lot goes into caring for your boots, but your efforts will result in healthier feet and longer-lasting footwear!

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