How do you clean and look after your Leather Boots after a day shooting, in the cold and wet terrain ?
Just as it Is really important you are able to clean away any dirt, debris, dust and anything else that might you hinder the performance of your shooting and shotgun.
Your Leather boots are made by skilled craftsperson’s and can give you many years of usage if properly looked after a day out shooting in challenging terrain or weather. So, it’s important that due care and attention is paid to their recovery and refurbishment. You can help increase the value of your investment by taking good care of your boots.
After your outdoor activity is finished, find time to remove any mud, snow residue or dirt from your Boots, initially with a soft bristle Boot brush and tap water. Field & Moor recommend horse hair brushes and this is why we supply these complimentary with every boot we sell. Using a soft horse hair brush helps to avoid scratching the leather grain. It is worth wiping away any excess water left with a soft cloth to get to the next stage of properly drying out your Boots.
Water aids the travel of fine grit and dirt into the leather and boot materials. Once there the grit cuts the materials at fibre level.
Excess mud and debris is worth removing from the thread of your Boot outer soles, to avoid it hardening during the drying process.
Boots ought to be given sufficient time to recover after a hard day wearing. A period of one day’s rest is to be highly recommended for the Boots leather to recover. If you have additional pairs the life of the Boots can be extended by rotating usage.
Some individuals remove wet laces from the boots and dry those seperately. This does have the benifit of assisting the drying out process as laces can absorb and retain water. Removing the laces makes it easier to access hard to reach areas of the Boots, particularly around the tongue. Areas of eyelits, tongue or gusset and welt will need ateention in particular both to stop build up of debris and when in application stage later of leather cream or protector.
Your boots need to dry out at normal room temperature, certainly away from direct sources of heat such as a fireplace, boiler, or radiator. If you are using an outdoor room best to ensure that the Boots are keep out of direct sunlight, this can have a detrimental effect of the nutrition of the leather uppers.
In order to maintain the Leather Boots shape, care should be taken to avoid excessive softening of the leather uppers. This can be caused by soaking the uppers in warm water when washing them or over usage of leather soften products when treating the uppers.
If the Boots have been saturated with rain or snow , they ought to be allowed to dry out properly for around 24 hours.
Whilst the Boots dry out shoe trees or boot shapers ought to inserted into the boots.It will help maintain the leather uppers shape and reduce the folds in the leather with natural creasing that occurs as the boot shapes to the foots contours. This allows the boot to dry out better without damp remaining in the creases than can cause long term cracking of the uppers.
One way you can assist the boots to dry out faster is to stuff the boots with dry crumpled up paper towels or kitchen paper. Every few hours replace the paper with fresh ones as it becomes damp.
Leather uppers require a regular treatment with a good quality wax polish to protect the leathers. This will help to prolong the life of the uppers and maintain their appearance. The boots ought to be cleaned and dried naturally before any application of leather creams.
Leather is a complex material that undergoes tanning, colouring and other treatment processes to make it durable and stable. Cleaning leather ought to be performed in a way in which that it will not degrade the material or any protective coatings.
With regard to cleaning the inside of the boots it is recommended that you use a damp cloth to remove sweat and salt that might have found there way there. In a day of prolonged activity in your boots you can produce as much as 15 ounces of sweat, most of this moisture stays insifde your boots. Either absorbed by your sock or the lining and leather of your boots. For this reason its important to change your socks during long and hard activities outdoors.
Using a waterproof agent can be effective at combating damage from snow and salt that occures during the winter months. There are 2 broad categories of waterproof agents - solid ones which are rubbed into the leather or liquid ones which are sprayed onto the Boots. The solid ones are more eco friendly and less likley to affect your health if your have asthmatic conditions.
Is there a rule of thumb regarding aftercare following wear - it really depends on the regularitely and frequency of wear you using your boots. in the main shooting season a full clean and application of leather care and waperproofing cream might be required after each wear - it is also dependent on the terrain and weather conditions. Severe weather will lead to excess impact on the boots leather and residue deposited.
Storage in a well aired space, with boots either upright is proably best in the long term. Well worth investing in Boot shapers or shoe trees to maintain their appearance and welfare.