Care tips Wellness for shoes

Image photo with the AEROX GTX LO, Family Shooting Heutal 2018

There are numerous myths surrounding the proper and necessary care of hiking shoes. We have summarised here what is really important and what are the common fallacies.

Image photo with the CAMINO GTX, Bildauswahl Herbst 2018

Care The right way to care for your LOWA boots

Good care will keep your shoes comfortable and water repellent for a long time. The following tips are designed for all LOWA models made of smooth, nubuck and split (suede) leather. To make sure that the leather stays this way and that you enjoy your high-quality boots for many years to come, you need to care for them regularly. New boots require no addi­tional care before you wear them for the first time, but they will benefit from regular leather condi­tioning treatments.

  1. shoecare-instruction_01

    Preparation
    If your boots have become wet or dirty, allow them to air dry in a well-vent­ilated room. Do not place your boots near any heat source, which can cause the leather to shrink and crack. Remove the laces, which will help the leather care products reach the recessed areas of the boots, and remove the insole. Removing the insole is very important, partic­ularly after a multi-day hike, since moisture tends to collect under the insole.

  2. shoecare-instruction_02

    Cleaning
    Thor­oughly brush off your boots. This will help make the leather breathable once again. Then clean the boots with warm water and a brush. If your boots are very dirty, you should use a lukewarm soap solution (e.g. LOWA Shoe Clean) or a boot care product, which will open the pores of the leather, and then thor­oughly rinse the boots. The leather is now in an unpro­tected condition: It will imme­diately absorb any water that comes in contact with it. You will need to treat the boots after drying with a water­proofing agent after this step.
    Take care when drying your boots: Let them air dry in a well-vent­ilated room. You should never dry them in the sun, in a bathroom, next to a heating unit, in an oven or in a hot car, as wet leather can “burn”, becoming brittle and prone to shrinking and cracking. Conversely, your boots can develop mildew if you store them in a damp area.

  3. shoecare-instruction_03

    Water­proofing
    Your boots should be slightly damp when you apply water­proofing spray (e.g. LOWA Water Stop PRO). The pores of damp leather are wide open, enabling the water­proofing spray to penetrate deeply into the material. The spray reaches its greatest level of effect­iveness after 24 hours – at that point, your boots will then be water- and dirt-repellent once again. Regular water­proofing treatments will repel water and dirt. The breath­ability of the leather will be main­tained, but the leather will not absorb water and it will be water repellent, making the boots completely protected. You should treat your boots once again before you set off on your next outing. (The spray’s effect begins to wear off after about three weeks.)

  4. shoecare-instruction_04

    Care
    If you wear your boots frequently and often get them wet, you should use a boot-care product on them, even on boots with GORE-TEX linings. Poorly main­tained leather dries out, becomes brittle and cracks, and ulti­mately, the boots will become irre­parably damaged. Apply a waxy shoe paste (e.g. LOWA Active Cream) or cream with a soft brush (LOWA Shoe Care Brush), and give your boots enough time to dry out. You should treat your boots once again before your next trip. Do not use any pure oils or fats on your boots. These treatments may indeed make the leather very soft and nearly waterproof – but they also close the pores of the leather, causing boots to lose their stability and breath­ability. These oils or fats can also loosen the adhesives used to bond the boots’ soles to the uppers.
    A note about nubuck and split (suede) leather: The surface of these types of leather will become smoother, shinier and darker when wax is applied to them. The surface of suede leather can be brushed out with a suede brush (e.g. LOWA Triangle Brush), but the original look will suffer to a certain degree.

  5. shoecare-instruction_08

    Storage
    Store your shoes in a shoe bag or box in a dry, well-vent­ilated place. Use a wooden shoe tree to maintain your boots’ form. It will preserve the boots’ shape and prevent creases from forming. As an alternative, you can stuff crumpled newspaper in the toe of the boots. The paper will absorb moisture and help preserve the shape of the boot. Change the paper every day until the boots are dry.

Care Take good care of the lining!

If you sweat profusely, a special leather-care lotion should be applied from time to time to leather linings because the salty sweat produced by your feet can dry out the leather, making it brittle and hard. GORE-TEX linings require no special care, but they can be cleaned occa­sionally with lukewarm water and a gentle soap solution. Also, please regularly clean and condition the leather on GORE-TEX boots as the GORE-TEX membrane will lose its effect­iveness if you do not keep the leather uppers in good condition. It is not enough to apply water­proofing or shoe-care spray to intensively used GORE-TEX shoes!

Image photo with the AEROX GTX LO, Family Shooting Heutal 2018

Care GORE-TEX shoes need to be cared for

A big myth is that GORE-TEX shoes do not need to be main­tained. The waterproof, breathable GORE-TEX lining is located on the inside of the shoe, so it has nothing to do with the outer care of the leather or synthetic material. That means: even a GORE-TEX shoe needs to be regularly cleaned, cared for and water­proofed according to what the material of the upper requires. And the GORE-TEX lining is also happy about washing with a little shoe cleaning agent and a soft brush.

Care Myth: “All climbing and hiking boots can be resoled.”

All adhesive board-lasted shoes in LOWA’s TREKKING and MOUN­TAIN­EERING categories can be resoled. Whether this makes sense or not depends on the condition of the shoes. Age does not play a role here. Even very old shoes can be given new soles and fresh anti-gravel protection. However, the leisure and light hiking shoes in the ALL TERRAIN CLASSIC and ALL TERRAIN SPORT categories can’t be completely resoled on account of the way they are made. On these models the sole is sprayed on using a special process and can’t be replaced. However, they can be reheeled. If required, the LOWA Service Team will be pleased to provide advice.

Image photo with the INNOX GTX MID Ws, Ulligunde Aserbaidschan 2019

Care Myth: “If cared for properly, a shoe lasts forever.”

LOWA shoes are designed to be durable and many details can be repaired or replaced. Never­theless, certain materials have a limited shelf life, e.g. the sole’s impact-absorbing wedge. This synthetic material ages over time and becomes porous at some point. This is a natural wear and tear process. That is why LOWA provides a complete resoling service for its TREKKING and MOUN­TAIN­EERING shoes, which involves entirely replacing both the impact-absorbing wedge and the tread sole, which is subject to wear and tear. Yet even with this kind of makeover, one truth remains: nothing lasts forever.

Image photo with the TICAM II GTX, 2019_Wanderkollektiv_selection_2019-06

Shoe selection Myth: “A good pair of moun­tain­eering boots allows you to do almost anything."

Be it hiking or walking around town: a good, sturdy pair of outdoor shoes covers a wide range of applic­ations. Never­theless, each LOWA shoe category has a certain limit and the asso­ciated models are not designed to cope with every type of adventure. Safety is the priority here. For example, although the multi-func­tional shoes in the ALL TERRAIN CLASSIC or ALL TERRAIN SPORT categories are really light, they are not suitable for use on scree or for hiking tours in rough terrain. For optimum protection and satis­factory stability, you are better off opting for a trekking shoe. There is a corres­ponding shoe for every application.

Shoe selection Myth: “A manu­fac­turer’s shoe size is always uniform.”

Even if lengths of a LOWA shoe size are roughly identical, shoes sizes are not stand­ardised. This can result in minor differences in size from category to category and from footwear manu­facturer to footwear manu­facturer. Furthermore, the shape of the shoe plays an important role in the perception of size. A narrow shape makes the shoe appear smaller, while a wide shape tends to make the shoe appear larger. Of course, your feet also change during the course of your life. As you get older, they get wider and longer. That’s why LOWA recommends you should always try on shoes and check your size in the shop before you buy them. When trying on shoes at a retailer, you should also remove the inner soles and stand on them. This tells you very quickly whether your feet have enough room. A brief guide is provided by the Table of Shoe Sizes on the website.

2016_Athlete testing_CoburgerHütte

“Your best bet is to try shoes on during the afternoon, as your feet swell a little during the course of the day.”

Arthur | LOWA Manager Service Department

Image photo with the CAMINO GTX, Bildauswahl Herbst 2018

Care Myth: „Leather shoes must be greased regularly.“

Dubbins and oils are clearly not the ideal choice for looking after modern leather shoes. It is generally important that shoes made of leather are cared for regularly, to ensure they remain supple and ready for use over a long period. But there are definitely differences in the choice of care products available. The dubbins and oils that are frequently used are generally unsuitable, as they soften the leather over time and can even seal it completely, so that the shoe can no longer breathe. Any adhesive bonds on the shoe may also be rendered inef­fective. You’re better off using special leather wax and impreg­nation spray. Special leather care products for outdoor shoes, e.g. LOWA Active Creme or LOWA Water Stop PRO, are available from specialist retailers.

2016_Athlete testing_CoburgerHütte

“Do not forget textile materials! You should also regularly waterproof the textile materials on your boots in order to improve the material’s ability to repel water and dirt.”

Arthur | LOWA Manager Service Department

Deutschland, Erzgebirge

Shoe selection Myth: “Hiking shoes are always waterproof”

The miscon­ception that every outdoor shoe is auto­mat­ically waterproof is unfor­tu­nately wide­spread. Yet the various models differ very consid­erably in terms of design and materials. For example, a shoe with leather lining exploits its strengths in warm and dry conditions to the full. The leather lining can absorb plenty of moisture (sweat), cools slightly and is a perfect fit with the foot. These shoes defy moist conditions for a certain period of time. However, this lining is not waterproof and also requires a certain time to dry. In contrast, shoes with GORE-TEX lining are waterproof and therefore very suitable for use in wet conditions – in particular over a longer time period. Which shoe is the right one for whom depends on intended purpose and personal pref­erences.

Deutschland, Erzgebirge

Care Do not clean them in a washing machine!

You should never put leather or synthetic footwear in a washing machine. The mech­anical effect of the washing process in combination with the increased water temperature can wash out leather pigments, damage the upper materials and loosen adhesives. Your boots could suffer irre­parable damage.

Wanderszene auf den Hoven bei Hov, Lofoten, Norwegen.

Care Avoid contact with acid, petrol and manure!

Acid, petrol and manure can attack the materials used in the soles of boots and adhesives, and can set in motion a process of deteri­oration that can damage your LOWA boots. Try to avoid these substances and thor­oughly clean your boots if they do come in contact with them.