Dirt and moisture have little effect on LOWA boots if they are properly cared for....
Leather is a natural raw material which needs to be cared for. Real leather is like a second skin. In order to maintain leather's exceptional qualities, proper care is vital. The photograph shows LOWA boots after hard use in open country. The boots are wet and the leather is covered in dirt.
First, remove the in-sole and laces.
The boots should be allowed to air properly and dry out after each and every use. It is good to remove the in-soles and laces to open them up fully and allow them to dry. The in-sole absorbs a lot of moisture, which will dissipate and dry much quicker outside of the boot. This is important to remember on multi-day trips. In an ideal world, leather boots should be dried out for 24 hours before they are worn again.
Removing dirt from leather boots.
Once the in-soles and laces have been removed, the dirt must be removed from the leather. For heavily soiled boots, a specialist shoe cleaning product that will also remove the toughest dirt, is advised. For normal levels of dirt, brushing it off under lukewarm running water will suffice. When using cleaning products, make sure you impregnate them thoroughly afterwards (Cleaning products open the leather “pores” and impregnation closes them again).
Remove the dirt from the leather with lukewarm water.
Brush the boots thoroughly so that the leather can breathe again and its properties are revived. Lukewarm soap suds are usually a good substitute for specialist cleaning products and can also be used to clean the in-soles. You will see how the water is instantly absorbed by the leather. The leather is now in an unprotected state.
To protect the leather from water, it must be waterproofed.
The cleaned boots are still very “open-pored” and will soak up water even more due to the application of cleaning products. In order to “close” the leather again, an impregnating spray should first be used when they are still damp. Impregnating the leather prevents water absorption. The leather still keeps its breathing properties. Smooth or waxed leathers are easier to care for than nubuk or suede and more resistant to water and dirt.
The leather should regularly have cream applied to it to maintain and protect it.
Once your boots have been water-proofed they should also regularly have Active Crème rubbed or polished into them (with a brush), especially when they have had a soaking. Water together with dirt, washes away some of the leather's properties. If these substances are not replaced in the form of a care-cream, the leather will dry out and eventually break up. The leather boot would then be irreparably damaged. Hard leather is also not flexible and pulls against the seams.
Using a hairdryer for some light heat will improve the absorption of the cream into the leather. Real leather only keeps its shape and stays flexible and hardy, when additional care products are used.
After the cream has been applied, the boots need to be given ample time to dry.Never place boots to dry on a radiator, too near to the oven, in a car windscreen or in the trunk. Wet leather “burns” very easily (it becomes brittle and shrinks). This often results in irreparable rips in the leather where it creases when walking. Hooks and rivets also get pulled to bad effect.
Using care creams on nubuck and suede.
Boots in nubuck and suede, which have had ample use, also need to be treated with water so that they do not dry out. Here, we also recommend using a silicone based liquid or spray. These are less likely to clog up the leather than creams with a high wax content.
Using fats and oils.
Fat, and especially oil, make the leather very supple and virtually water-proof, but the boots' support structure is compromised and the leather pores close up, meaning it is no longer breathable (the gumboot effect).
Please take into consideration that the surface of nubuck and suede leathers becomes smoother and more shiny when cream is used. Use a soft brush to rub in the wax cream thoroughly. Brushing also generates warmth, which helps with the absorption of the cream into the leather.
Maintaining the look of nubuck and suede.
The surface of nubuck and suede leather becomes smoother and more shiny (darker) after the application of wax-cream. A wire suede brush can be used to lift the pile again but it will never have the exact same look as when it was new.
Gentle brushing with a wire brush can freshen up the nubuck and suede that has been clogged by the wax application. This not necessary on smooth leather. The picture clearly shows the difference between the brushed area and the un-brushed area.
Once the wax has been absorbed into the leather, the boots should again be treated with a water-proofing agent. The water-proofing agent will only take full effect 24 hours after it has been applied. 2-3 weeks later, the waterproofing also loses some of its effect. Ideally you should treat your boots again one day before you use them. Impregnating the leather maintains its breathing properties. The leather does not soak up water and is also less prone to dirt sticking to it. Furthermore, the layer of wax also prevents sharp stones or rock faces from damaging the leather. Dry leather on the other hand is more easily scuffed and damage is quicker.
Testing the care procedure of real leather.
If your boots are properly waxed and treated, water will form droplets as shown in the photograph. This means that the leather is perfectly protected.
If your boots are successful in this test, then you can congratulate yourself on looking after the leather properly. The right kind of care can significantly lengthen the lifespan of your boots.
Storing your Lowa boots.
The best place to store leather boots is in a shoe bag or box, in a dry, well-aired place. A wooden boot tree will help keep their shape. Never store wet boots in damp rooms or in the car. They will get mouldy! Wooden boot trees will help them keep their shape and prevent any creases in the leather.
If your boots are still damp, we recommend you stuff some newspaper into the toe box. The newspaper will absorb the moisture and also helps keep the shape. The newspaper should then be changed every day until the boots have dried out.
If you regularly care for your leather boots in this way, then they should give you many years of joy. We wish you all the very best in your outdoor pursuits!
Your LOWA Service Team.