I’m sure you are well aware that good quality hiking boots are not cheap. Maximizing their life should be a priority, not just to save money by having them last longer – but to ensure they stay comfortable for a lot longer too.
If you don’t take any steps to waterproof your shoes and maintain them they are going to crack and split, this is a given. Water will degrade and damage all types of shoes over time. How you look after your shoes when you’re wearing them, and when you’re storing them will determine how quickly.
There are a few ways you can waterproof your boots, the main ways are as follows:
Using Waterproofing Sprays and Products
There is no shortage of sprays and other products that will waterproof your boots. This is the quickest solution, and as a result is not the most robust. Firstly, you need to find a product that has plenty of positive feedback and will do the job. Secondly, you need to keep up with spraying them to maintain the protective barrier. Usually after every hiking or camping trip.
Choose the product very carefully. Make sure it’s the right type of spray for your boots. Typically all you need to do is make sure your boots are clean and free from any dirt and debris. Hold the can a few inches away and spray an even layer of the product over the shoe. Always read the label on the product incase there are any special requirements, but it’s not going to be much more difficult than this.
Using Wax-based Products
Wax-based products are a step-up from the sprays detailed above. It takes a little more time and effort to apply the wax but it’s certainly worth it. A good wax polish will give your shoes a lovely shine and leave them looking like new while adding a waterproof layer to the shoe so they are fully waterproof.
Again, it’s a simple process. Make sure the boots are free from all grit and dirt and apply the wax as directed on the product. This usually involves rubbing the wax onto the boot with a clean cloth and leaving them overnight to set.
Tips and Tricks When Waterproofing Boots
There are a few things to be aware of that are common knowledge to people who have used some of these techniques before, but might come as news to someone waterproofing their boots for the first time.
Always test first – When using products it’s always best to test them on a small area of your boot first. The chances of something like discoloration or damage happening is very remote, but it’s better to be safe than sorry.
Don’t rush – Water has a habit of finding any crack or hole no matter how small and finding a way in. Take your time to cover every inch of surface on your boots to ensure they are fully waterproofed.
Don’t try and repair the irreparable – If your boots are leaking because they have damaged seams or a hole in you’re not going to be able to patch them up with some wax or a spray. Waterproofing by these methods is to be applied to boots in good condition to extend their life and keep your feet dry.
Look after your boots – I covered how to dry and looking after your running shoes in this post. The principles are the same for all kinds of boots. Dry them off naturally as soon as you can when they are wet, and always brush off mud and debris. Leaving mud to harden can cause boots to crack depending on the material they are made from.