Your new walking boots
Now you have got your new walking boots there are a few things we recommend to help you break them in. We suggest wearing your boots around the house first of all; you’ll want to do this in your walking socks also. We would suggest about 1 hour of walking around your house and up and down the stairs, if you have them, perhaps while doing jobs around the house so you are actively moving. This doesn’t have to be done in one go you could break it up into 10-20 minute sessions over a week or so. We suggest doing this within your 14-day return period so in the unfortunate event you are not happy the boots can be returned. Once you are happy and are 100% keeping your footwear we would recommend short walks, 1-2 hours, outside before long walks, 2+ hours. If you do develop any problems don’t hesitate to come in and see us. There are lots of small adjustments that can be done to boots post sale in order to refine the fit.
If you have taken boots that one of our fitters has recommended, you are covered under our one-year fit guarantee for any adjustments needed. We will not leave you stuck with a pair of boots you can't get on with.
Care and Maintenance
The majority of our hiking footwear will require some maintenance in order to prolong its life. How you would look after your new walking footwear will depend on what material they are made out of. We would always recommend cleaning and proofing footwear with the laces out to allow you to get into all the nooks and crannies of the footwear. It is normally easier to remove mud and dirt while the mud is still wet, so is worth doing as soon as possible. If the mud is dried on, then water and a stiff-bristle brush (old washing up or nail brush) should be sufficient.
Fabric and Suede
For fabric footwear you will need to use a protector spray in order to help protect the outer materials. We suggest cleaning your footwear thoroughly before adding any proofing. Water-based proofing products like Nikwax Fabric & Leather can be applied while the boots are still wet, but aerosol spray proofers would normally need to be applied after the boots have dried thoroughly.
Nubuck (matt finish) Leather
Nubuck leather is full-grain (smooth) leather, but with a sanded matt finish. For the best long term waterproofing and durability, we would recommend you treat it the same as smooth leather and use a wax, cream or balm. However, using a wax will change its appearance, making it darker and more shiny, and we appreciate that some customers may not be keen on this with new boots. If you wish to maintain the matt finish to start with, then use a spray-on proofer. We would then suggest switching to a wax when the boots are looking a bit more worn and scuffed.
Smooth leather footwear is best treated with a clear wax, cream or balm, as this will give by far the best long term waterproofing, and will condition the leather, keeping it soft and supple, and prolonging its life. Waxes and creams are usually easiest to apply using a soft bristled brush or a cloth, although some of our customers like to use their fingers to apply waxes, as the heat helps liquify the wax and penetrate the leather. Remember whichever product you use, it needs to be worked into the leather, and not just spread around on the surface. Ensure your boots are clean and dry before application.
The frequency with which you reproof your footwear depends entirely on how often they’re being used and the conditions you’re walking in. In the winter or prolonged wet periods, we would recommend proofing footwear once a week. If you know your footwear is going to be stored for a long period of time, ideally you would want to clean, dry and proof them beforehand. Ensure when storing your boots that they are in a cool, dry environment, out of direct sunlight.
Don't forget to remove the insoles from your boots periodically and remove any grit, stones, grass-seeds, pine needles, dog hairs, etc. Insoles do wear out, so are worth checking for damage or natural breakdown of materials. We carry standard factory-fitted insoles in stock should they need replacing, but upgrading to a Sidas or Superfeet footsupport is a very easy way to improve the comfort and support of your boots.