How To Give Your Boots an Overhaul

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Normally we’d be saying that it’s that time of year when you’re going to have to think about getting the wet weather kit out, but ours haven’t been put away this season. Nevertheless, it’s as good a time as any to make sure those boots are in good order. If you’ve got to ask yourself if it’s worth all the bother, consider that these leather boots have seen over 1450km of use, and are still good for a while yet. Just like my last pair, they’re cracking across the forefoot in the same place and will breach at some point. They kept my feet dry last week on an exceptionally boggy walk over Creigiau Gleision, which is as much as you can expect from any decent boot. So this weekend, I’m going to return the love and give them an overhaul!

1 – The first step, as always is to make sure they’re spotlessly clean. Grit and dirt can cause wear and tear of the seams, so make sure you get right into those nooks and crannies. Some soils are more abrasive than others, i found  that from the Grey Corries and the Peaks to leave an abrasive sandy residue, while I think the Snowdonia soils are a little more forgiving (if eternally wet). You can use a proprietary cleaner, but I just use warm water and elbow grease.

2 – If they’re starting to show some serious wear and tear, you may want to look at doing some temporary repairs. Shoo Goo does a good job at sealing minor tears and so on, but you will need to let the boots dry off first. These could do with a bit of sealant around the rand, but I decided that they could wait till next time mainly as I couldn’t be bothered waiting for them to dry.

3 – Check the laces. I found that mine are starting to go in a few places, which considering that these are the orginal laces is good going. While they’d be OK for a while, there was no way I was going to be able to remove these and get them back without a significant amount of cursing, so in the bin they went.

4 – Now you can give them a waxing to within an inch of their life. I won’t go into full detail, click on this article for that. I used the Nixwax Waterproofing Wax for leather, the new variety in a tube. I compared this to the older version in a tin (here) and while I’m still convinced that the older type is better, I’m beginning to think it’s a bit of nostalga in the same way that Curly Wurly’s used to be larger. But seriously, have you seen how small they are these days? With the laces removed, it makes it easier to open out the tongue and get that wax into every bit.

5 – After a good polish, the laces were replaced. A bonus of this is that any wax that finds it’s way into the eyelets gets cleaned out by the laces. I don’t think it does them any harm.

6 – Finally, sit back and observe the fine job you’ve done and look forward to getting them muddy on your next trip out.

Dave Roberts

Dave Roberts founded Walk Eryri in 2004, with the aim of providing routes that are off the beaten track. Walk Eryri is now part of Mud and Routes which continues to provide more off beat routes and walks in Snowdonia and beyond. Dave has been exploring the hills of Eryri for over thirty years, and is a qualified Mountain Leader.
Dave also established Walk up Snowdon, Walk up Scafell Pike and Walk up Ben Nevis just to mention a few.

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