There will be a time and place in the lifetime of your boots, when the mud and muck and dirt has started to impact the breathability and possibly waterproof-ness of your favorite footwear. While it may be tempting to clean your boots with a simple stream-crossing, the reality is you need a little extra help to get that leather back in shape and doing its job.
Mud and dirt can dry out the leather, but by cleaning them a few times a season, you can extend their life. Goodness knows your Oboz are an investment in future adventures, so keep them looking good!
Brush/rinse off the mud after each hike. Taking a moment to wipe off the dirt or mud when you return home is a good habit to get into. Better yet? Do it at the trailhead and it will save you having to clean out your car of those mud tracks!
Several times over the hiking season thoroughly clean your boots, (or more often, if you hike year-round you lucky person!. It’s important to use the correct cleaning agent; avoid solvents, petroleum, and detergents, and never put your boots in a washer or dryer. A great option is Nikwax Footwear Cleaning Gel.
After you’ve removed as much of the dirt and mud as you can, rinse with clean water to dampen the boot surface. Shake your cleanser well and press applicator to break the seal before brushing over the area of the boots you want to clean. Don’t worry, you can apply generously! If an area is really grimy, you can scrub the area with a stiff brush.
If your boots need to be re-waterproofed, you can then apply a leather conditioner or waterproofing product.
Air dry and plan your next adventure!
Renee “She-ra” Patrick is the trail coordinator for the Oregon Desert Trail in Bend, OR. After finishing the Triple Crown trails in 2015 with a thru-hike of the Continental Divide Trail, she hiked the Oregon Desert Trail in 2016. Nine thru-hikes and 10,000 miles later, she is still in love with discovering her surroundings on foot. Read more about Renee’s adventures on her blog,www.sherahikes.wordpress.com.