How to clean hiking boots

If you want to make sure your boots don’t die before their time, you need to know how to clean hiking boots.

Each time your hiking boots get dirty, dirt and sand get into the leather or fabric and start to wear it down. Mud can also suck the moisture from leather as it dries. For this reason, you should clean your boots after every hike.

Remember, never wash your boots in the washing machine as the detergents attack the stitching and glue of the footwear.

Cleaning Hiking Boots

1. Tip the boots upside down and bang out any dirt and sand that’s inside them.

2. If your boots have removable inner soles, remove them and let them air dry separately.

3. Tap the boots firmly together to remove mud and dirt from the soles. Use a stick to dig out any stubborn mud or stones.

4. Remove excess mud and dirt from your boots using a damp cloth and an old toothbrush. Remove the laces first if you want to be thorough.

5. Use saddle soap or a specialised footwear cleaner, such as Storm, and follow the application instructions.

6. You can either leave the shoe or boot as it is to dry or you can apply a waterproofing coating while the shoes are still damp. If water is no longer beading and rolling off your boots, it means the DWR (durable water resistant) coating has worn off and you need to reapply.

7. Dry your hiking boots upside down at room temperature in a well-ventilated area. Never dry shoes in direct sunlight and never put them in front of a heater or use a hairdryer. Excessive heat will irreversibly damage your boots.

8. You can place newspaper inside your boots to maintain their shape and help the insides to dry faster. Replace the newspaper every hour or so.

9. Don’t store your boots in a damp place or in plastic bags, as this prevents them from breathing and may cause mildew. 

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