How to Waterproof Hiking Boots

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Boots take a lot of abuse. When your step tracker shows that you’ve hit 10,000, think about the repetitive stresses your boots take on your behalf—from rocks, snow, sand, pavement and other surfaces. For your technical footwear to maintain performance, give them a little attention at the beginning of your hiking season or when they are particularly dirty.

Waterproof Hiking Boots

Some of the most popular hiking boots are made from a combination of nylon materials and leather.  This combination of materials strikes a great balance of low weight, good structure and moderate cost for a great performance package. Mixed-material boots such as the Lowa Renegade GTX Mid, Merrell Moab Waterproof, Salomon X Ultra Gore-Tex®, Vasque Breeze Gore-Tex®, and Oboz Bridger BDry will benefit from some simple steps to keep them both breathable and waterproof:

1. First, rinse the boots with clean water to remove mud and dampen their surface.

Waterproof Hiking Boots

2. Use a technical cleaner like Nikwax® Footwear Cleaning Gel. Shake well and press the sponge applicator to break the seal.

3. Apply clean gel generously over the area to be cleaned; a light foam should develop. If boots are very dirty, scrub with a stiff nylon brush.

4. Rinse well with clean water.

To aid waterproofing on mixed-material boots, apply Nikwax® Fabric & Leather Proof while the footwear is still damp.

After they dry, you’re back in action. In a few easy steps, you’ve restored waterproofing to your performance boots while maintaining their breathability. Getting the hard-earned trail dirt off and applying a fresh treatment will lead to many more happy miles and memories.

Treat more gear with Nikwax products at