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Well-being for shoes

There are numerous myths associated with the correct and necessary care of hiking boots. Here we've put together a summary of what's really important and what are the common mistakes.

How do you properly care for your LOWA footwear?

The right way to care for your footwear

Good care keeps the shoes comfortable and water-repellent for a long time. The following instructions are designed for all LOWA models made of full grain, nubuck and full grain leather. To ensure that the leather remains usable and you can enjoy quality footwear for years to come, you need to take care of it regularly. New footwear doesn't require any extra care before you wear it for the first time, but it does benefit from regular leather treatments.

1. Preparation

If your shoes are wet or dirty, let them dry in a well-ventilated room. Do not place your shoes near any heat source as this can cause the leather to shrink and crack. Remove the straps to allow the leather care products to get everywhere and remove the insole. Removing the insole is very important, especially after a multi-day hike, as moisture tends to accumulate under the insole.

2. Cleaning

Brush your shoes carefully. This helps to make the leather breathable again. Afterwards, clean the shoes with warm water and a brush. If your shoes are very dirty, use a lukewarm soap solution (e.g. LOWA Shoe Clean ) or a shoe care product that opens the pores of the leather and then rinse the shoes thoroughly. The leather is now in an unprotected state: it immediately absorbs any water that comes into contact with it. The shoes must be treated with a waterproofing agent after drying.
Be careful when drying your shoes: Let them dry in a well-ventilated room. Never dry them in the sun, in the bathroom, next to a heating unit, in an oven or in a hot car, as wet leather can "burn", become brittle and prone to shrinking and cracking. Conversely, your shoes can get moldy if you store them in a damp place.

3. Waterproofing

The shoes should be slightly damp when you use the waterproofing spray (e.g. LOWA Water Stop PRO ). The pores of wet leather are open, allowing the waterproofing spray to penetrate deep into the material. The spray reaches its maximum effectiveness after 24 hours - at which point your boots are water and dirt repellent again. Regular waterproofing treatments repel water and dirt. The leather's breathability is maintained, but the leather does not absorb water and is water-repellent, so the shoes are completely protected. You should treat your shoes one more time before heading out on your next outing. (The effect of the spray starts to weaken after about three weeks.)

4. Treatment

If you wear your shoes a lot and wet them often, you should also use a shoe conditioner in footwear equipped with a GORE-Tex membrane. Poorly cared for leather dries out, becomes brittle and cracks, and eventually the shoes are irreparably damaged. Apply waxy shoe paste (e.g. LOWA Active Cream ) or cream with a soft brush (LOWA Shoe Care Brush) and give your shoes enough time to dry. You should treat your shoes one more time before your next trip. Do not use pure oils or fats in your shoes. These treatments can indeed make the leather very soft and almost waterproof - but they also close the pores of the leather, making the shoes less breathable. These oils or greases can also loosen the adhesives used to attach the soles of the shoes to the uppers.

A note about nubuck and suede: These types of leather become smoother, shinier and darker when waxed. The surface of the suede leather can be brushed open with a harder suede brush (e.g. LOWA Triangle Brush), but the original look will change slightly.

5. Storage

Store your shoes in a shoe bag or box in a dry, well-ventilated place. Use a wooden shoe tree/sand to maintain the shape of your shoes. It preserves the shape of the footwear and prevents the formation of folds and wrinkles. Alternatively, you can put crumpled newspaper on the toe of the footwear. The paper absorbs moisture and helps keep the shape of the shoe. Change the paper every day until the shoes are dry.


A big myth is that GORE-TEX shoes do not need maintenance. The waterproof, breathable GORE-TEX membrane is located inside the shoe, so it has nothing to do with the external treatment of leather or synthetic material. This means: even a GORE-TEX shoe needs to be cleaned, maintained and waterproofed regularly according to what the upper material requires. And the GORE-TEX lining is also grateful for a light wash with shoe cleaner and a soft brush.