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Cleaning Your Hiking Boots

March 31, 2016

Each time the sun shines everyone wants to hit the road and enjoy colorful and beautiful hikes. On the mountains and hills, the boots are likely to come across all forms dirt. It is evident that soaked boots tend to ruin beautiful hikes and comfortable dry boots can give someone a great hiking experience. Even the best boots in the market can fail to deliver if they are not cared and maintained properly. In connection to this, it is important to learn how to take care of hiking or trekking boots in order to receive the best out of them.

How to clean Hiking Shoes

Proper shoe maintenance should begin immediately after someone has bought the pair. One should consider wearing their shoes for short walks around the house once they’ve bought them. The importance of doing so is to help in breaking them in. Also, one should remember buying a pair of hiking socks. During breaking in, the socks should be worn together with the shoes.

Hiking expeditions promise to be very enjoyable if one buys shoes that have enough space for the feet. This means that the feet will feel comfortable and the fingers won’t hurt. Buying hiking boots that pose fitting difficulties to the feet can prove to be hurting and thus providing a bad hiking experience. If it’s hard to break the boots in while inside the house, consider a leisure hike first.

Before one embarks on a hiking trip, it is important to cross check the boots and ensure that they are working just fine. Many cleaning problems that face hiking shoes can be avoided at the start. These includes waterproofing the boots, breaking them in as well as ensuring that the shoes doesn’t need any repairs.

In addition to that, it is wise to check with the shoe laces to confirm whether they are in good condition. If the laces are not in good shape, it’s important to consider changing the shoelaces before the hike. Moreover, breaking shoelaces during a hike isn’t enjoyable.

Also, ensure that their waterproofing is on point. The waterproofing agents to use on the boots greatly depend on their material and make. One should consider reading instructions or asking their retailer about the correct products to use. Manufacturers provide instructions on literatures that come together with the shoes. Similarly, one can get such information online. Most waterproofing products are silicone based and oil based for fabric and leather boots respectively.

It is prudent to prepare cleaning the boots on a regular basis during hikes. However, this type of cleaning done during hiking isn’t that thorough. However, it helps perform some primary cleaning tasks that can help maintain the boots.

One should begin by removing any debris from the boots. They should then be tipped upside down and banged. This serves to loosen any seeds, dirt among other types of debris that have strongly accumulated on the boots during the hike.

Consider using a pocket knife or a stick to remove any mud that has accumulated on the soles. This goes a long way in keeping the boots clean and most importantly easy cleaning once one is back from the hiking trip.

One should consider letting their wet boots dry overnight. The boots can be left outside the hiking tent if there isn’t a raining likelihood. The boots could also be hanged outside to allow them to dry. If possible, consider stuffing warm clothes or newspapers inside the shoes to help maintain their shape. Leather shoes shouldn’t be left on direct sunlight or in front of campfires because they are easily cracked by heat.

If someone is hiking in humid environments, it is important to carry several socks. This will help changing to dry socks and letting the wet socks dry. This will go a long way in helping the boots stay dry for longer periods. Always remember not to stuff socks inside the hike boots.

Once the trip is over and an individual has returned home, it is important to conduct a thorough cleaning activity on the boots (as well as all other stained clothes). This thorough cleaning is essential before storage as it helps in maintaining the boots in good shape and condition for the next hike.

Start by removing all the dirt and mud from the boots. Shake and tip the boots upside down and then bang the boots firmly together. This will release dirt and all loose mud. For the firmly sticking mud, consider using sharp tools to dig them out. Caked on mud should be removed using a hard bristled brush.

The inside of the boots should then be wiped. This helps remove all forms of perspiration that could be inside the boots including salt perspirations. Perspiration stains and salt perspirations should be removed using warm water.

The boots should again be washed in mild soapy and warm water. This removes all mud traces and dirt. Alternatively, one may use a warm water soaked rug to wipe the shoes. However, it is always advisable to read warnings from manufacturers in regard to what to use as well as what not to use during boots cleaning.

Once cleaning is complete, it is advisable to let them dry away from direct sunlight. Leather boots tend to crack when exposed to heat. Waterproofing the boots is another critical activity that shouldn’t be looked down upon once cleaning is complete.

One doesn’t have to wait for their next hiking event so that they waterproof their shoes. The method to implement during waterproofing will greatly depend on the material and make of the boots. Silicon based waterproofing products can be sprayed, wiped or rubbed on the boots using certain tools that come together with the waterproofing product.

For oil based waterproofing products, three or more applications by hand are usually required. However, it always important to follow application instructions and drying times from the manufacturers.

Because hiking boots aren’t meant to be used on a daily basis, it is wise to have a storage place that is suitable for them. The place should be easily accessible if need be and should be away from humid areas. Humid areas tend to bring about mildew growth problems. The shoes should never be stored in plastic bags as the bags prevent shoes from breathing. Consider purchasing a shoe tree for long term storage purposes.

When hiking, it is always important to bring spare shoelaces with you. They may come handy in the event the other shoelaces have broken. In addition, if the boots start separating from their soles, consider using rubber glue to glue the boots back together. Never use super glue for it will shatter the boots.

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