Learn Gear How to make walking boots last longer

How to make walking boots last longer


Walking boots take a real pounding – even the best-made boots can be damaged by sharp rocks, and waterproof boots still get soaked and let water in at the ankles. Boots are a big investment, look after them and they will look after your feet for years to come. This article looks at our tips to keep your boots in top condition:

Keep Them Clean

When walking, consider a pair of waterproof gaiters. Not only will they keep your feet drier, they will also absorb some of the abrasion that occurs, increasing the lifetime of your boots. After your walk, clean any mud or dirt off with cold, clean water and a sponge, remove any stones from the sole and shake out any trapped stones and dust from the inside.

Drying Walking Boots

Never store walking boots wet – this can lead to rotting. Equally important, don’t be in a hurry to dry out your boots, let it happen naturally in a fairly cool, well-ventilated space. Excessive heat, like open fires and radiators can dry out leather so it becomes brittle and rock hard. It might also degrade some of the adhesives and may affect the stitching. Instead, stuff them with newspaper and allow to dry at room temperature.


Natural leather is a fantastic material: highly breathable and fairly water resistant when correctly treated. You can tell when your boots need treatment because the uppers will wet out rather than bead up, and may start looking a little dry and faded. Always check which reproofing treatment is most suitable for your boots, and how to apply it. Some wax is applied when boots are dry, others when boots are wet. Clean and wax leather boots after every couple of uses, and wax them before storing them long term. With fabric boots, clean and reproof with a proprietary spray after every use.

DIY repairs

You can do some simple repairs yourself. Small nicks and tears in the sole or on a rubber rand can be fixed with a little shoe adhesive. D-rings and hooks for laces can also be replaced, normally at the cost of being riveted through any existing lining.


Well-used but well-cared-for mountain boots can sometimes go through several resoles before being retired.

For more information about ways to repair, recycle or upcycle old kit check out the BMC Old Gear Directory.