Photo shows LOWA Z-8 GTX® boots after hard use in open country – the split leather uppers are wet and are covered with dirt. But not to worry! Dirt and moisture have little effect on LOWA Boots if they are properly taken care of, and their lifespan can be significantly extended with a little TLC. Leather is a natural, raw material and in order to maintain its exceptional qualities, proper care is essential.
Please note: Boots made with split leather require more care than boots made of smooth or waxed leather, so plenty of Active Crème and Waterstop, particularly in the vamp and forefoot flex point, are important.
Step 1: Remove the insole and laces
Even if you aren’t going to clean the boots, it’s a good idea to remove the insole and laces, open up the boots fully, and allow them to air out after every outing. This is especially important to do on multi-day trips as the insole absorbs lots of moisture. In a perfect world, leather boots should be left to dry for 24 hours before they’re worn again.
Step 2: Remove dirt from the boots
For normal levels of dirt, once the insoles and laces have been removed, brush the dirt off while running lukewarm water over the boots.
For heavily soiled boots, we recommend a special shoe-cleaning product or gentle lukewarm soap suds. Brush the boots thoroughly while cleaning them – you’ll see that the leather looks completely wet, and is now in an “unprotected” state with open pores that absorbed the water.
Step 3: Waterproof the leather
Even if you have boots with GORE-TEX® lining which creates a waterproof/breathable environment on the inside of the boot, the leather uppers will still need to be reconditioned in order to become water-repellant again. In order to “close” the leather’s pores, you’ll need to apply a waterproofing agent to the leather while it’s still damp. We recommend LOWA WATERSTOP spray, which prevents the leather from absorbing water yet still allows the leather to breathe. Once you’ve treated your boots with WATERSTOP spray, test the uppers by gently pouring some water on them. If water “beads” form on the leather, that means you’ve done a great job of protecting your boots!
Step 4: Maintain & protect your boots
Water, together with dirt, washes away some of the leather’s natural oils, so it’s important to frequently apply a water-based conditioning cream to the boots, especially if they’ve had a soaking. We recommend LOWA ACTIVE CRÈME to condition the leather and keep it from drying out. It’s important that this be applied frequently in the forefoot and flex area, where the leather tends to be stressed. It’s fine to use a dryer on low heat to help the cream get absorbed into the leather - but NEVER use a dryer on high heat.
Please DO NOT use products that contain beeswax, animal fats or petroleum. They damage the leather and will void the LOWA warranty.
Step 5: Give your boots ample time to dry
Never place boots to dry near a radiator/heater, fireplace or oven, inside the trunk of car, or in fierce direct sunlight. Wet leather “burns” very easily, and becomes brittle and shrinks. This often results in irreparable rips in the leather, especially at flex points in the uppers, and hooks and rivets can get pulled out as the leather shrinks.
Step 6: Storing your boots – think cool & dry!
Never store wet boots in a damp room or in your car – they will mildew! When your boots are wet, stuff some newspaper into the boots’ toe area – the newspaper will absorb the moisture and will also help keep the boots’ shape. Change the newspaper every day until the boots are dry.
Still have questions? Download our handy boot care guide by clicking here.
- DON’T use oil or fat-based care products
- DON’T speed-dry near a heat source or direct sunlight
- DON’T expose to farmyard waste, acids or petroleum-based products
- DON’T store in damp, closed areas