Caring for Boots & Feet

August 17, 2016

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My work requires me to walk a lot. Usually under the most demanding terrain and under all weather conditions. Hence boot knowledge is jugular.

I’ve noticed many people don’t really know how to care for their boots – this could be one reason why they’re always buying boots and suffer from 1,001 foot injuries…that’s certainly a very expensive proposition as professional work boots can easily set one back by four figures!

So this is my basic guide how to care for boots so that they will last you a lifetime and be kind to your feet.

(1) Always apply ONLY Dubbin on your boots. Dubbin is to moisturize and waterproof the leather. Shoe polish i.e Kiwi should not be confused with Dubbin – the former is primarily used to dress shoes and make them shiny and pretty. Unfortunately shoe polish offers zero protection from rough use and the elements.

Dubbin is purely functional, it is not beautiful as it dulls leather.

Usually I clean my boots thoroughly with soap, water and a brush and dry it in the shade for at least three days before an application of Dubbin.

Personally, I prefer to apply Dubbin with an old toothbrush in slow circular motions to get right down to the crannies of the welts – this is the most vulnerable part of the boot construction. I never brush off the Dubbin and usually just leave it as it is.

During the dry season. I will dub once every two months. In the rainy season every month. On every occasion, I use soap, water and bristle brush to remove previous dubbin coat.

(2) Before the rainy season. I make it a point to varnish all the metal fittings such as the eyelets with clear nail polish – I find this prevents rusting that’s usually responsible for laces breaking unexpectedly, due to burring and sharp edges.

In deep jungle hikes. I will replace my day laces with Rhino laces – these are indestructible military spec laces, but since they tend to be rather stiff, they do interfere with comfort.

(3) At the end of a work day. I never just take off my boots and stuff my socks into them. Very common big mistake. Usually I air my boots under a fan thru the night and loosen the laces so as to enable the leather to breathe…remember leather is just skin…it needs to ventilate.

If they’re wet or even slightly damp.

I never ever wear them the following day – as damp boots stretches the leather out of shape resulting in thinning and eventually tearing or splitting.

The most reliable way to destroy boots.

When my boots are damp. I let them rest and rotate them with a fresh pair. I NEVER wear wet or damp boots….never!

(4) lastly, learn how to adjust your shoelaces to the terrain to avoid blisters, calluses and foot complications such as jungle rot and trench foot – this is frequently the most disregarded skill set in boot school. The general rule of thumb is when walking on uneven and unstable terrain i.e loose gravel – tighten the ankle straps to prevent lateral feet movement. When descending from a steep incline, tighten the laces around the toe box to narrow the vamp to prevent your back heel from sliding forward.

Above all care of your feet to ensure they’re healthy and injury free.

Keep walking!

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