Hiking Boot Care Tips: How to Keep Your Boots in Top Shape

pair of hiking boots being washed

Hiking boots are an essential part of any outdoor gear kit. They keep your feet stable while you hike, and they're great for exploring off the beaten path. But like any other piece of gear, hiking boots need good care to stay in good condition.

Here are some tips on how to properly maintain your hiking boots:

Cleaning your hiking boots

Cleaning your hiking boots after each use is essential for their longevity. Dirt, mud, and other debris can accumulate on the boots, causing them to deteriorate over time. Here are some tips for cleaning your hiking boots:

  • Remove any loose dirt and debris with a soft-bristled brush or a damp cloth.
  • Use a specialized cleaner to remove stubborn stains.
  • Rinse off the boots with water, but do not soak them.
  • Allow the boots to air dry away from direct sunlight or heat sources.

Conditioning your hiking boots

To keep your leather hiking boots from cracking or drying out, it's important to condition them regularly. Conditioning your boots also helps to maintain their waterproof properties. Here are the steps to properly condition your hiking boots:

  1. Start by getting a clean, dry cloth and applying a small amount of conditioner to it.
  2. Gently rub the conditioner into the leather, paying close attention to the seams and stitching.
  3. Allow your boots to air dry for at least 24 hours before wearing them again. This will give the conditioner enough time to fully absorb into the leather and ensure that your boots are properly protected.

Waterproofing your hiking boots

Hiking in wet conditions can cause water to seep into your boots, making your feet cold and uncomfortable. Waterproofing your hiking boots can prevent this from happening. Here's how to waterproof your hiking boots:

  • Choose a waterproofing product that is compatible with your boots.
  • Clean and dry your boots before applying the waterproofing product.
  • Apply the waterproofing product evenly to the boots, paying attention to the seams and stitching.
  • Allow the boots to air dry for at least 24 hours before wearing them.

Resoling your hiking boots

The soles of your hiking boots can wear out over time, reducing their grip and stability. Resoling your hiking boots can restore their performance and extend their life. Here's how to resole your hiking boots:

  • Take your boots to a professional or a shoe repair shop.
  • Choose a high-quality sole that is suitable for your hiking needs.
  • The cobbler will remove the old sole and attach the new sole to the boot.

Storing your hiking boots

Proper storage of your hiking boots is crucial for their longevity. Here are some tips for storing your hiking boots:

  • Clean and dry your boots before storing them.
  • Stuff your boots with newspaper or shoe trees to maintain their shape.
  • Store your boots in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight or heat sources.
  • Do not store your boots in a plastic bag, as this can trap moisture and promote mold growth.

Preventing odors in your hiking boots

Hiking boots can develop unpleasant odors due to sweat and bacteria. Here's how to prevent odors in your hiking boots:

  • Wear moisture-wicking socks to keep your feet dry.
  • Apply foot powder or baking soda to your feet before putting on your boots.
  • Allow your boots to air out after each use.
  • Use a specialized deodorizing product to eliminate lingering odors.

Repairing minor damages

Minor damages, such as loose stitching or torn laces, can be repaired at home with some basic tools. Here's how to repair minor damages:

  • Use a needle and thread to repair loose stitching.
  • Replace worn-out laces with new ones.
  • Use a specialized adhesive to fix any small tears or holes in the leather or fabric.

Avoiding common mistakes

Avoiding common mistakes can help extend the life of your hiking boots. Here are some common mistakes to avoid:

  • Do not dry your boots with a heat source, such as a heater or a hairdryer, as this can damage the leather and cause it to crack.
  • Do not use harsh cleaning products, as these can strip the leather of its natural oils and cause it to dry out.
  • Do not wear your hiking boots for activities other than hiking, as this can cause unnecessary wear and tear.

Knowing when to replace your hiking boots

Knowing when to replace your hiking boots is crucial for your safety and comfort. Here are some signs that indicate it's time to replace your hiking boots:

  • The soles are worn out. This usually means that they will not provide sufficient grip or traction for your feet.
  • The boots no longer fit properly and are causing discomfort or blisters.
  • The leather or fabric is torn or damaged beyond repair.
  • The boots have been exposed to water or moisture for an extended period and are no longer waterproof.

Choosing the right hiking boots

Choosing the right hiking boots can make a big difference in their longevity and performance. Here are some factors to consider when choosing hiking boots:

  • The type of terrain you will be hiking on.
  • The level of support and stability you need.
  • The materials used in the boots, such as leather or synthetic fabrics.
  • The fit and comfort of the boots.

Price, and star rating of each sponsored ad shoe cleaning product:

Name Price Star Rating
JobSite The Original Boot Scrubber - All Weather Industrial Shoe Cleaner & Scraper Brush $23.99 4.7 out of 5 stars (8,190)
Jobsite Boot Scrubber - Outdoor Shoe Scraper Cleaner Brush - Extra Wide $27.99 4.6 out of 5 stars (5,668)
Pink Miracle Shoe Cleaner Kit 8 Oz. Bottle Fabric Cleaner for Leather, Whites, and Nubuck Sneakers $17.97 $29.97 4.4 out of 5 stars (30,772)
Reptile & Exotic Deep Cleaner & Conditioner Lotion- Safe for Finished Reptile Skin Boots, Handbags, Shoes, & More- 8oz $12.95 ($1.62/Fl Oz) 3.9 out of 5 stars (9)
Bickmore Boot Care Kit - Bick 1 Bick 4 & Gard-More - Leather Lotion Cleaner Conditioner & Protector - For Cleaning Softening and Protecting Boots Shoes Handbags Purses Jackets and More $27.99 4.7 out of 5 stars (1,732)
Timberland Boot Kit Shoe Accessory $37.00 $43.71 4.4 out of 5 stars (127)
Pedag Suede Shoe Cleaner Brush German Made 4-Way Cleaning & Refreshing Brush for Suede Leather Products with Brass & Nylon Bristles $6.19 ($6.19/Count)
JobSite The Original Boot Scrubber - All Weather Industrial Shoe Cleaner & Scraper Brush $23.99 4.7 out of 5 stars (8,190)
Jobsite Boot Scrubber - Outdoor Shoe Scraper Cleaner Brush - Extra Wide $27.99 4.6 out of 5 stars (5,668)
Stone and Clark 12PC Shoe Polish & Care Kit - Leather Shoe Shine Kit with Brown Wax, Shoe Brushes for Polishing - Compact Shoe Shine Kit $34.99 4.3 out of 5 stars (4,691)
JOVITEC 3 Pieces Horsehair Shoes Polish Brushes Kit Leather Shoes Boots Care Clean Polish Daubers Applicators $11.99 4.6 out of 5 stars (6,083)

How to dry hiking boots

Whether it's a sudden rainstorm or a stream crossing gone wrong, wet boots can quickly become uncomfortable and even dangerous if not properly cared for. That's why knowing how to properly dry your hiking boots is an essential skill for any hiker. In this article, we'll go over the best ways to dry your hiking boots and avoid any damage.

  • Remove the insoles and laces.

The first step to properly drying your hiking boots is to remove the insoles and laces. This will allow air to circulate through the boot more easily and help them dry faster. It's also important to remove any excess dirt or debris from the boots to prevent any damage.

  • Stuff the boots with newspaper or a towel.

After removing the insoles and laces, stuff your boots with newspaper or a towel. This will help absorb any excess moisture from the inside of the boot. Make sure to stuff them loosely to allow air to circulate.

  • Air dry in a cool, dry place.

Avoid using heat sources like a heater, hair dryer, or direct sunlight to dry your boots. High heat can cause damage to the materials and cause them to crack or become brittle. Instead, find a cool, dry place with good air circulation to let your boots dry naturally. This could be a well-ventilated room or an outdoor covered area.

  • Patience is key.

Drying your boots can take time, so be patient. Depending on the level of moisture, it can take anywhere from a few hours to a day or two for your boots to dry completely. Make sure to rotate the newspaper or towel stuffing periodically to speed up the process.

  • Apply conditioner and waterproofing treatment.

After your boots are completely dry, apply a leather conditioner to prevent the leather from cracking or drying out. Follow the instructions on the conditioner and allow it to fully absorb before applying a waterproofing treatment to maintain the waterproof properties of your boots.


Proper care and maintenance of your hiking boots can make a big difference in their longevity and performance. Regular cleaning, conditioning, and waterproofing can prevent wear and tear, while resoling and repairing minor damages can extend their life. By following these tips and avoiding common mistakes, you can keep your hiking boots in top shape and enjoy your outdoor adventures for years to come.


Stay updated with our newsletter

Gears to make hiking more comfortable

When camping and hiking, there are a few gears you can bring that can make wearing hiking boots more comfortable. Here are some suggestions:

Camping Gear Description
Camp Shoes A pair of lightweight shoes worn at camp that provide a break from hiking boots and allow feet to breathe
Foot Powder Powder applied to feet before wearing hiking boots to keep feet dry and prevent blisters
Socks Extra pairs of moisture-wicking socks to keep feet dry and prevent blisters
Comfy Clothes Comfortable clothes worn at camp to relax and recover after a long hike
Compression Socks Socks designed to improve circulation and reduce swelling in the feet, great for wearing at camp
Foot Massagers Tools such as a foot massager or rolling ball to relieve sore muscles and improve circulation in the feet
Insoles Cushioned insoles that can be added to hiking boots for extra comfort and support
Blister Treatment Supplies such as moleskin or blister pads to prevent and treat blisters, which can make wearing hiking boots more comfortable

Images provided by: depositphotos.com

Related Articles


About Author:

image of Kevin Pommells

Hi, I'm Kevin Pommells, a lover of camping and the great outdoors as everyone says nowadays. I'm also a passionate soccer fan and the proud owner of CamperRules.com, a website dedicated to helping campers and outdoor enthusiasts make the most of their adventures. With years of experience exploring the wilderness and a deep love for the sport of soccer, I'm always looking for new ways to combine my two passions and share my knowledge with others. Follow me for tips, tricks, and insights on all things camping and outdoor recreation.

Follow Me @ Twitter | Facebook | KevinPommells.com

As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.