Boot care made easy - How to best care for your LOWA boots
Step 1: Preparation and preventive
After every use be sure to allow the boot to air out and dry properly. Do that by removing the footbed and laces so you can pull back the tongue fully to open up the boot. When you are preparing to clean and care for it, first do the same: Remove the footbed and laces so you can reach with your shoe care products into hidden edges and corners, for example on the tongue and gusset.
Step 2: Cleaning your boots
Heavily soiled boots can be cleaned with a brush and warm water to remove dirt before applying products. We recommend a specialised shoe cleaning product that is designed to remove the most stubborn dirt. In areas with water with high calcium content we recommend using distilled water for cleaning (for example, from a condenser clothes dryer or a dehumidifier).
Step 3: Impregnate your boots
After you have thoroughly cleaned your boots, you will need to apply a water-proofing impregnation spray while they are still slightly damp. The boots‘ leather pores are wide open while they are damp and that allows the impregnation treatment to penetrate deeply into the leather. Regular applications of an impregnation spray are recommended to keep water and dirt from sticking or soaking in. It’s particularly important because soaking wet boots lose their breathability, which affects their ability to regulate your foot’s temperature. Take note that a water-proofing treatment needs 24 hours to fully take effect.
Step 4: Care for your boots
No matter how hard, how often, when or where you use your boots, they should be cleaned regularly with specialised shoe care products. Particularly if they are used frequently in extremely wet conditions it is vital to apply a waxy shoe paste or creme – even on boots made with a GORE-TEX® membrane. Leather that has been soaked with water and has swollen must be restored in order to retain a boot’s fit, flexibility and durability. If a boot does not receive proper care, the leather will dry out, become brittle, and will pull at the seams, leaving your boots irreparably damaged. To avoid this, shoe care products can be rubbed on with a rag and polished in with a brush. Carefully using a hair dryer to blow warm air on the boots will improve the creme’s ability to penetrate the leather’s pores.
The application of oils and greases is not recommended. Although they turn the leather very soft and make it virtually waterproof, the boot loses stability and strength. In addition, oils and greases close the leather’s pores, causing the boot to lose its breathability so it feels more like a rubber boot. It could also cause bonding and adhesions to fail.
Step 5: Storing your boots
Leather boots are best stored in a shoe bag or shoe box in a dry, well-ventilated area. A wooden shoe tree helps your boots keep their shape. If your boots are still damp, you can also stuff them with newspaper to help them soak up moisture and keep their shape.
Never store your boots in a damp room since the boots could begin to mould. Also avoid store them in a hot place, e.g. in the direct sun, in your car’s boot, or near a radiator.
Additional care tips
Newly purchased boots require no additional care before the first time you wear them on a trip; however, touching up the leather impregnation is advisable.
The leather lining should be treated from time to time with a special leather care lotion (e.g. Patina Ledermilch, Keralux LCK). Rubbing it in occasionally will keep the lining from drying out or becoming brittle and hard due to the extreme amount of sweat and salts it absorbs.
A GORE-TEX® lining requires no special care although it can be washed occasionally with warm water and a gentle soap. Incorrect leather care or a lack of care of the membrane can render it ineffective. It’s therefore not enough to simply spray GORE-TEX® boots that are used intensively with an impregnation spray.
Never wash leather shoes or boots in the washing machine. The mechanics of the wash cycle along with the high temperatures can wash out leather pigments, damage the upper materials, and loosen cementing, which will irreparably destroy the boot.
With nubuck or suede leather, the surface may become darker after the application of a shoe wax, but it can be brushed out again with a wire brush. However, the original look won’t be totally restored. In order to avoid a change in the appearance, a liquid shoe care product can be used. Smooth leather and waxed leather are easier to care for and are more highly resistant to water and dirt.
Even textiles used in your boots should be regularly impregnated to improve their ability to withstand water absorption or the adherence of dirt.
Boots should be thoroughly aired out and dried after every use. Take out the footbed and open the lacing wide to accomplish this. Don’t forget this step on multi-day treks. Never allow boots to dry next to the heater or near an oven, under the car’s windscreen, or in the car’s boot. Wet leather „burns“ very easily, i.e. it becomes brittle, cracked and contracts. This can often result in irreparable fissures in the leather where it creases during walking. Even hooks and rivets can be pulled askew during the process.
Acids, petrol and manure impact the outsole materials and cements particularly hard. A degradation process can begin that can destroy your LOWA boots. Try to avoid contact with these substances, and be sure to thoroughly clean your boots if you do come in contact with these substances.