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How to Clean and Waterproof Your Boots

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Video by ambassador Lorenzo Politano, words by Renee Patrick.

There will be a time and place in the lifetime of your boots, where 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 and 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!

Step 1
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!

Step 2
Several times over the hiking season (or more if you hike year-round, lucky!) thoroughly clean your boots. It’s important to use the correct cleaning agent; avoid solvents, petroleum, and detergents, and never put your booths in a washer or dryer. A great option is Nikwax Footwear Cleaning Gel.

Step 3
After you’ve removed as much of the dirt and mud as you can, rinse with clean water to damped 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.

Step 4
Rinse

Step 5
If your boots need to be re-waterproofed, you can then apply a leather conditioner or waterproofing product.

Step 6
Air dry and plan your next adventure!

Renee “She-ra” Patrick is the trail coordinator for the Oregon Desert Trail in Bend, OR. After the 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.

At the heart of everything we do are the folks who make the magic happen. A group of likeminded footwear-industry vets who left our big-brand jobs back in 2007 intent on doing business a better way. 

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