Hiking boots are arguably the most crucial outdoor gear for people with an active outdoor lifestyle. The boots offer you the safety, support, and comfort you need as you traverse all trails. Hiking boots are exposed to the most wear and tear. So, it is crucial to carry out some protective measures to ensure they last long and offer you the best hiking experiences. Read on to discover tips for protecting your boots from wear and tear.
Find the Right Fit and Break It In
The first and most essential tip is scouting for the right hiking boots in the women’s or men’s hiking boots section, depending on your foot type, size, and type of hiking terrain. Consulting an expert before a purchase will help you select the best choice.
After getting a decent pair of hiking boots, protective care begins by breaking them within your house. Get the correct pair of socks and ease into your boots. Walk around the house in them to establish comfort and shape your boots to your feet. When hiking, begin with short walks and gradually increase the distance.
Clean Your Boots Correctly
It is advisable to clean hiking boots immediately after the walk. But it isn’t just dipping them in water and scrubbing thoroughly. The correct way is to wipe them with water, preferably warm, and use a soft brush or cloth to remove dirt and mud. Besides, remove the insoles and check for small stones inside the boots. Avoid using chemical detergents and the machine to wash your boots as they may damage some parts.
Dry and Shape Your Hiking Boots
You may be tempted to dry your hiking shoes by direct fire or radiator, but that will result in serious wear and tear and affect their performance. The correct drying method involves airing the boots outdoors or in a well-ventilated area. Even when you hang them outdoors, ensure it is far from direct sunlight to prevent damage to some materials.
You can use newspapers or towels to absorb the excess moisture in the boots. This ensures they dry faster while maintaining their natural shape. Change the newspapers or towels until the moisture depletes, then leave the boots to dry naturally.
Consider Proper Storage
Most people leave their walking boots in the hallway, waiting for their next hiking experience. But, if you want your shoes to perform optimally and serve you for long, observe the appropriate storage tips. Before storage:
- Ensure your boots are completely dry to prevent mould that may cause wear and tear.
- Tie the laces and stuff the boots with newspapers to maintain their shape while in storage.
- Avoid using plastic bags and store the boots in their box in a dry place at room temperature. If you have a storage bag, use it and place the boots in a closet.
Waterproof Your Boots
If you hike frequently, waterproofing your boots is the most crucial prevention for wear and tear. It ensures your shoes are water resistant and moisture doesn’t enter the material, causing discomfort while you hike through wet terrain. When boots absorb moisture, they dry out and crack, shortening their lifespan.
Consider your boots’ material when choosing a waterproofing product. If your product is water-based, apply when your boots are wet; if it is leather-based, apply when your shoes are dry. Waterproof all sections of the shoe, including the stitch lines and eyelets. Repeat the process regularly after cleaning your boots or when you can’t see water droplets on the shoes’ surface.
After Hiking, Remove Insoles
Removing the insoles of your boots after every hike is crucial to ensure the moisture they hold in as you hike dries completely. If you forget to remove your insoles, they may become soft, squishy, smelly, or even harbour bacteria if left in for long. Dry and return them to the boot for the next hike or storage.
Rotate Your Hiking Boots
Getting extra boots is essential, especially if you hike frequently. It ensures each pair completely airs, reshapes, and dries out between the hikes.
Check for Damages
After every walk, check your boots and note any wear and tear. Some signs of damage include loose stitching, worn-out soles, and upper part damage. Mens hiking boots tend to wear most as they take on more strenuous terrains that are quite rocky. Identifying these issues can help you repair the shoes before total damage that requires replacing them. If your soles are worn out, visit an expert shoe repair and resole your boots. You should purchase a new pair of hiking boots from a reputable shop like Cotswold Outdoors if yours are damaged beyond repair.
Hiking boots are expensive, so preventing wear and tear should be your priority before, during, and after every hike. The above measures will help you maintain your hiking boots’ comfort, safety, and support for a long time before you get a new pair.