Maintaining your hunting boots
A good pair of hunting boots can be the most important part of your hunting kit. A pair of boots can make or break a big hunt. Maintaining your hunting boots is an easy process and one that is often overlooked.
No matter how much you pay for a set of boots they are still going to suffer at the hands of mother nature. Snow, rain, stones, and rocky terrain will soon age your boots but following a few simple steps, most of this deterioration can be avoided.
Waterproofing your footwear might be the most simple and essential tip for boot care there is, yet most owners neglect it. Generally, you can buy some waterproofing oil or wax your local shoe or outdoor store. It is essential to keep up with the application of these waxes or oils whenever you see them wearing off.
Luckily, these signs are pretty obvious to spot. When they are properly waterproofed you will see water forming into beads and sliding off the boots. Once it starts to absorb water, even if your feet aren’t getting wet, then it is time to re-waterproof your footwear.
Another sign is when the leather on your boots is looking dry and crusty because the moisture has been removed from the leather. Any moisture, like water, that comes into contact with the boots will be deeply absorbed which can leave for a long day walking around with wet feet
Water is the enemy to all boots and feet. Wet feet in boots will become uncomfortable and they can quickly lead to blistered feet.
Once you have completed a hunt, clean your boots straight away. Wipe away all the material like mud and foliage that will go hard and stick to the boot. If the boots are not cleaned you will not be able to get the wax back in for future protection.
Tip: Never leave them untouched until the next day. Try to clean them ASAP to maintain the quality of your boots.
Make sure when you’re drying out your own boots from a long hike or hunt to air dry them. DO NOT PUT THEM BY A DIRECT HEAT SOURCE! Putting them by a heater or throwing them in the dryer can damage the leather.
It will get rid of all the moisture (from your conditioner) in the leather and cause it to dry out and crack! It will undo all the care you put into your product. So it is critical to let them air dry naturally to avoid damage and dehydration of the leather.
Tip: Newspaper inside the boots can help dry the internal layers faster. Drying next to a hot fire can dry the leather out too far and make the leather brittle.
Always store your boots dry and in a good position so their natural shape won't be damaged. Having them crushed in a box can alter the shape permanently.
Waterproof wax is used to extend the life of your shoes. When applying the wax, make sure your shoes are clean. Conditioning helps maintain the natural oils inside the leather, which reduces water damage and the breakdown of your leather. This helps for healthier and longer lasting leather, which means you won't have to shell out nearly as much money on boots!
Don't be shy to wax them a few times to bring the life back into them. Waxing in the sun can speed up the absorption process.
Tip: I have used dubbin and Miendel boot wax with great success over the years.
No matter the method you choose to extend the life of your boots, they will never be completely waterproof, so regular maintenance is key. The best way to keep your hunting boots in good condition is to take care of them regularly by cleaning, waxing, or conditioning.