Here is an important one for all you hikers out there, how to take good care of what's on your feet. When choosing footwear we tell people about the two main types they need to decide between. Leather and synthetic.
Pic above L-R - Leather Nova Tour Mammut, Synthetic/Nubuck Quest 4d GTX Salomon, Synthetic Moab Mid Gtx Merrell
Both are good and both have their uses. Leather is more durable and will last you longer. However it costs more and is heavier. Synthetic is lighter, easier to break in and is cheaper. On the downside it is not as durable as leather. Many hikers will choose a heavy solid leather boot as their winter boot for Ireland and then pick a lightweight synthetic for the summer months where they know the conditions will not be as harsh and the ground doesn't need as much grip underfoot. No matter what footwear you choose it is vital that you know how to take care of it. If you take good care of your boots/shoes they will last you longer and save you money in the long run.
Firstly, lets talk about leather. If leather boots are not waxed from day one every step taken will produce creases in the leather. In time, these creases turn into cracks once dried out and result in the boot breaking down faster.
So from day one, wax the boots. Meindl produce their own clear wax and creams for boots. Once rubbed into the boot with a cloth, the boots will darken in colour and give an oily look. This softens the leather and gives them a coat that helps them endure tougher outside conditions and stops the leather from cracking.
In regards to synthetic, the care is slightly different. Instead of using a wax, the boots/shoes need to be sprayed with the likes of Meindl's wetproof spray or their conditioner and proofer.
Both do the trick. In the case of the wetproof which I use, spray the boots all round the outside, wait 5 minutes and re-spray again and leave to dry in. This gives the boots a coating of waterproofing again and tops them up. If you are ever walking through wet grass with your waterproof shoes/boots and feel wet toes then you know it is time for a spray.
The key thing to remember with all footwear is to wash off the boots/shoes when they come in off the land to get the mud off.
After you wash them off you can re-proof or re-wax them to keep them in check. What I use is an old toothbrush and the garden hose or bucket to get off the mud from the boots. In Ireland we have a lot of agricultural land and so much of our soil is acidic from the likes of manure etc. This acidic soil eats away at the shoes if mud is left on. The mud simply dries onto the boot and destroys the boots over time. You can see this on boots that don't get washed and the soles of the boots disintegrate and fall apart.
Another tip apart from cleaning is to remember to keep toe nails short. Sounds obvious but this is the number one reason we find boots leak. The toe nail if too long (or if the boot size is too small), tears away at the inside of the boot causing a leak and can be sore on the toe. If ever you are wondering about this, run your fingers inside the toe of the boot and if you feel a roughness where the end of the toes should be you can be fairly sure its from a toenail. So in short make sure to wash the boots and keep the toenails trimmed. Your boots and toes will thank you for it!
The finished product
Blog by: Liam - any questions? Get in touch firstname.lastname@example.org