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How To Clean Hiking Boots

How To Clean Hiking Boots
How To Clean Hiking Boots

Looking to keep your hiking boots in top condition? Discover how to clean hiking boots effectively with our comprehensive guide. Hiking boots are essential gear that every hiker must have. They protect your feet and provide much-needed support when tackling rocky and challenging terrains. However, they’ll inevitably get dirty and smelly after constant use. And if they’re not cleaned properly, they may not last as long as they should. So, if you want to keep your hiking boots in good condition, this blog is for you. We’ll be sharing tips and tricks on cleaning hiking boots and getting them ready for your next adventure. We’ve covered you, from removing dirt and mud to drying and waterproofing. So, let’s get started!

The Importance of Cleaning Hiking Boots

It is essential to clean hiking boots to prolong their life. Dirt and caked-on mud can prematurely dry out the leather and rub the fibers of shoes, leading to wear and tear. Regular cleaning prepares boots for long-term use and performance. 

Differences in Cleaning Synthetic and Leather Boots

When it comes to cleaning hiking boots, there are differences in how to clean synthetic and leather materials. Synthetic boots can be cleaned with soap and water, while leather requires a special cleaner and conditioner. Synthetic boots also need not be waterproofed, whereas leather boots require regular waterproofing treatments to maintain their condition. 

How To Clean Hiking Boots:

Cleaning Supplies Needed

When cleaning hiking boots, it’s essential to have the right supplies. These include a stiff-bristled brush, Nikwax Footwear Cleaning Gel, and waterproofing spray (such as Nikwax Nubuck & Suede Proof). Paper or hand towels are also helpful for soaking up excess water during cleaning. 

How Often to Clean Boots

To maintain the longevity and quality of hiking boots, cleaning them regularly, ideally after every hike, is essential. Even if the shoes don’t appear dirty, each step on a walk leads to dust, dirt, and grime building up inside the boots, leading to excess wear and tear. 

Removing Laces and Insoles

To make it easier to clean the details of the hiking boots, the laces, and insoles should be removed first. Rinse the laces in warm water with some dish soap and lay them out to dry. The insoles can also be hand washed with warm water and soap, then dried separately from the boots.

Cleaning the Boots

Remove any loose dirt or debris with a soft-bristled brush or cloth to clean hiking boots. Then, mix a mild soap in a bowl of lukewarm water, dip a clean cloth into the solution, and gently scrub the shoes. Avoid using harsh chemicals or abrasive materials that can damage the waterproof coating of the boots.

Scrubbing Techniques

To effectively scrub hiking boots, use a soft-bristled brush and a mixture of warm water and mild soap. Scrub in a circular motion, focusing on any stubborn stains. For leather boots, use a leather cleaner or conditioner instead. Rinse boots thoroughly and let them air dry. 

Drying the Boots

Remove any excess water with a towel or paper towel to properly dry hiking boots. Stuff the shoes with newspaper or a towel and let them dry naturally away from direct heat. Avoid using a dryer or placing them in direct sunlight, which can cause damage. 

Maintaining Waterproofing

To maintain the waterproofing on hiking boots, apply a waterproofing treatment regularly, especially after cleaning. Choose a waterproofing product suitable for the materials of the shoes and follow the instructions carefully for application. 

Storing Hiking Boots Properly

One should avoid damp or humid places such as attics or garages to store hiking boots properly. Dry boots at average temperatures and keep them in stable environments. Do not crush or bend the shoes so they maintain their shape. 


In conclusion, taking care of hiking boots is essential to keeping them in good condition and prolonging their lifespan. Proper drying techniques, avoiding high heat sources, and storing them in a stable environment can make a big difference. Co-op membership offers benefits for gear offers and special pricing on events, making it an excellent option for outdoor enthusiasts. 


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