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How to Care for your Boots

One of the best ways of ensuring your hiking boots are as sustainable as possible, is to look after them so well you never have to replace them. Owning just one pair of boots for many years is a sure-fire way to reduce impact on the environment you’re trying to enjoy.

And the best way to do that is to use environmentally friendly Nikwax products. By applying the right treatment at the right time, you can keep your boots waterproof, protective and in tip-top condition.

Our environmental credentials are award winning
Nikwax is the only major aftercare company to have never used aerosols or fluorocarbons. We have never tested our products on animals, they are solvent and VOC-free, and all our products are water-based. We’ve received numerous awards, including becoming one of only 13 UK companies in 2014 to have received the Queen’s Award for Sustainable Development.

Subsequently Nikwax has become the global leader in environmentally safe aftercare and waterproofing solutions that extend the life and performance of technical footwear.

So how do you look after your boots?
Looking after your footwear means following these three simple rules:

Clean…Waterproof…Condition

Clean
Take your boots out on any walk and they’ll get dirty. It’s all part of the fun. But the problem is as soon as the leather or fabric gets dirty, they can start to soak up water. That’s because the dirt masks the effect of any waterproof coating your boots already have. On top of this, when your feet get hot and sweaty, the water vapour inside your boots can’t escape because your shoes aren’t breathable anymore.

Damp feet after a walk is a sure-fire cue you need to clean your boots. But, if you have the time, try to clean them on a regular basis and especially after particularly muddy walks.

However, watch out! Other conventional footwear cleaners and household detergents leave behind a water-attractive residue which masks the water repellency, causing footwear materials to absorb water and ‘wet out’ in damp or wet conditions. Avoid this by using Nikwax’s Footwear Cleaning Gel to thoroughly clean your waterproof footwear safely, and revitalise its water repellency and breathability.

Waterproof
After a while any original water repellent treatment will eventually fade. If you notice that the water repellency of your boots isn’t revitalised simply by cleaning, then it’s time to re-proof your boots.

Nikwax manufactures ‘Fabric & Leather Proof’ and ‘Nubuck & Suede Proof’ – your pick depending upon the material your boots are made from. Alternatively, you can choose to use Nikwax Waterproofing Wax for Leather, for smooth leather surfaces.

Nikwax Proof and Wax is easy and quick to apply and its water repellency develops on air drying. It leaves a flexible water repellent treatment on individual fibres of fabric and leather; thereby allowing moisture vapour to pass through, maintaining breathability and keeping your feet dry.

Condition
When your boots are really past it, then it’s time to bring out the Nikwax Conditioner for Leather. This restores suppleness and softness to dried-out leather whilst waterproofing at the same time.

The comfort of your footwear isn’t just down to dry feet. Your hiking boots need to provide support whilst staying soft and flexible. The more your boots absorb water, the more the shoes’ tanning agents and lubricants are lost, causing the leather to become dry, stiff and prone to splitting. Using Conditioner for Leather prolongs the life of leather footwear, like hiking boots, whilst adding water repellency and maintaining breathability.

And that’s it!
Follow these three simple rules and your hiking and walking boots should bring you years of dry comfort.

 

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Get your gear ready for the half-term winter break

The half-term holidays are not far away and lots of us will take the opportunity to get away on a short winter break. Whether you choose to travel abroad to spend time on the wintry slopes, or even just have a staycation here in the UK, we guarantee you will be taking key pieces of winter kit with you – you just never know what the weather will have in store!

Winter’s break in the Nordic countries or a spot of skiing in the Alps?
Half-term has proven to be a popular time for families to visit the lands of the northern lights, with prices often being slightly cheaper than around Christmas. Perhaps some huskie sledging in Finland? Or, you just prefer to head to the slopes for some skiing in the Alps?

Either way you all need to be kitted out appropriately to keep warm and dry in such cold conditions.

Down jackets can benefit you in really cold, and damp, conditions
If you already have an insulated down jacket, then check it now to see if it needs preparation for your trip, or have you used it already over the start of winter? If items have been used a number of times then they could use a clean, in order to ensure optimum performance whilst on your break.

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Nikwax Down Wash Direct
People may feel nervous about cleaning their down jackets, for fear of the down fill clumping and not returning to its original condition. Fear not! Even if your jacket is not hydrophobic, Down Wash Direct will efficiently clean it without harming the item in any way. Dirt and body oils are removed from the outer fabric and the down fill, whilst durable water repellency is restored. Your down gear will have a prolonged life and its performance will be optimised in cold and wet conditions.

  • Down Wash Direct can be used on your jacket easily in the washing machine.
  • Dry the item thoroughly afterwards. We recommend you spin dry the item a number of times, in order to get as much water out as possible.
  • If you have a tumble dryer, and if the item’s care label allows, then this is the perfect way to ensure the down is completely dry after cleaning.
  • Remember to tease apart any down clumps during the drying of the item – it will help restore the loft so that your jacket is back to normal ready for use.
  • Air the item in a warm environment for a day or so after drying.

After your trip, and when it comes to putting the down jacket away until next season, be sure to store it appropriately. Folding your garment away in a bag will compress the down. Ideally you need it to have plenty of room in order for the loft to be maintained and also keep within a warm environment.

Tempted by a staycation this February?
Wherever you may choose to stay in the UK for this winter break, there is a very strong chance of rain. However, there are still plenty of activities to keep you busy and allow you to continue enjoying the outdoors.  

Wet weather gear should be a must-have for this February half-term. Waterproof items are covered in what is known as a Durable Water Repellent (DWR) coating – this is what causes rain to ‘bead up’ and roll off the garment, instead of being absorbed into the fabric, which causes it to ‘wet out’. Some people think they cannot wash their waterproof items for fear that this coating will be damaged, when actually it will be reduced if the items are not kept clean.

Nikwax Tech Wash & TX.Direct
The perfect aftercare companions to ensure all of your family’s rainy day clothing is kept in top condition and therefore keep you safe, warm and dry if you experience a wet half-term break.

  • Dirt will eventually prevent the DWR from working, which is when you will get cold and damp in your waterproof clothing.
  • Normal household detergents actually leave water-attracting residues on the fabric, so cleaning with these will not help your waterproof clothing to stay waterproof.
  • Tech Wash is the no.1 high performance cleaner, designed especially for wet weather gear. Cleaning away all dirt, it will revive the DWR on the outer fabric, whilst making sure that garment remains breathable.
  • Eventually, after lots of use, the DWR will need replenishing on waterproof items.
  • TX.Direct is the easy to use wash-in, or spray-on, waterproofer. It leaves a flexible water repellent treatment on the item, while making sure moisture can escape through the fabric from the inside.
  • The result? Your clothing will work again at its full potential.

When the season turns and you plan to put your wet weather clothing away, try to keep it hung up loosely. Don’t be tempted to put it into a stuff sack, because this could lead to the items becoming creased, which in turn could lead to the DWR starting to wear off.

Don’t forget your feet!
Wherever you spend your half-term break, footwear cannot be forgotten. If your feet get wet and cold, then inevitably the rest of you will feel this too. Keep the following Nikwax staple items in your cupboard so your shoes can be cared for too.

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Footwear Cleaning Gel & Waterproofers
Suitable for all outdoor footwear, Footwear Cleaning Gel is a sponge-on aftercare product easily applied by hand to clean away all of the dirt, which may be causing your shoes to absorb water.

  • Rinse shoes to dampen the footwear, then apply Footwear Cleaning Gel generously over the area to be cleaned.
  • You can use a stiff brush to help remove tougher dirt or mud.
  • Rinse well with clean water.
  • Leave the shoes to dry naturally, whereupon the DWR will be revitalised and your shoes will remain comfortable, breathable and supportive.
  • If waterproofing is then required, ensure you use the appropriate product for your type of footwear – these can be used whilst the shoes are wet.
  • Waterproofing Wax for Leather: designed for all smooth leather footwear – perfect for leather hiking boots for example. It keeps leather shoes waterproof, prevents them from stiffening and maintains breathability so feet do not get sweaty inside.
  • Fabric & Leather Proof: for combination outdoor footwear. You can either sponge or spray on to the footwear to provide instant DWR, which will develop when the shoe is left to dry naturally.
  • Nubuck & Suede Proof: provides the same high performance as our other footwear aftercare, but is optimised for nubuck and suede shoes.

Keeping all of your kit cleaned and proofed with Nikwax aftercare will help ensure your clothing will last for much longer and allow you to stay dry and warm when you are enjoying all of your outdoor adventures.

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