BOOT & SHOE CARE and MAINTENANCE
It is important to take care of your boots in order to prolong their life. It is critical that you only use water based leather treatment products which have been aproved for use on Gore Tex footwear. Wax based treatments can interfere with the adhesives used to build your boots and can cause delamination of rubber rands, delamination of rubber soles and can cause contamination of your Gore Tex membrane which can lead to leaking. Please refer to the instructions below and to the ACCESSORIES section to procure any necessary supplies. Immediately below are a couple videos to show you how to maintain your boots;
- One for full grain leathers, (which use our Zamberlan Hydro Cream - a water based cream),
- And one for split,suede and nubuck leathers, (which use our Zamberlan Hydro Spray - a water based spray)
- Below the videos we have outlined our Cardinal Rules of Boot Care which will help augment the performance of your boots and extend their lifespan.
CARDINAL RULES of BOOT & SHOE CARE
Please note, there are some cardinal rules of boot care that everyone must follow. Not following these rules will not only lead to incurable damage to your boots but will invalidate your warranty. Here are the cardinal rules:
Rule #1: Never put your boots near a heat source
If boots are placed near a source of heat, like a fireplace, heat register, or even under a blast of hot air from a vehicle heater, the leather can dry out to a point from which it cannot recover, causing shrinkage and wrinkling. This change in the leather leads to delamination of rubber rands and even potential sole delamination. Delamination here simply means a separating of two components held together by boot cement. If a heat source is close enough to the boot to help dry it, the heat is close enough to damage the boot.
If your leather boots are wet on the outside do not worry, this is the primary purpose of hiking boots - to protect you from the elements! Outdoor wetness is completely normal and fine. Simply let the boots dry naturally in open air and they will be fine. Once every few months use a quality water based leather conditioner approved for use with Gore-Tex membranes (if you have a boot with Gore-Tex) and ensure a proper level of hydration (not too much, not too little). Please also be careful of leather conditioners which are wax based as these can delaminate the adhesives used to attach rubber rands and soles to your leather uppers. We recommend Hydrobloc Spray (split grains and nubucks) or Hydrobloc Cream (full grains). Both our Hydrobloc Spray and Cream are water based
If you step into a deep stream or experience heavy rain and the insides of your boots become wet, do not use heat to dry them out on the inside. Instead, use (a) the open air to naturally dry with time, (b) newspaper, which acts as a sort of sponge absorbing moisture, or (c) a Peet boot dryer, which uses room temperature air to dry the boots more quickly. Never apply a hot air stream to the inside of your boots. Do not let the boots sit long without addressing moisture inside of the boot as this may allow for the formation of mold. The same can be said of excessive foot moisture caused by sweating, especially with leather-lined boots.
This is the primary rule of leather boot care!
Rule #2: Do not use a leather conditioner that is not approved for use with Gore-Tex membranes
Gore-Tex membranes require that a specific type of leather treatment be used on the boot. Silicone based and wax based treatments can contaminate the pores of the membrane, which will cause them to stop breathing, potentially leak and will invalidate your Gore-Tex warranty. We recommend using our Hydrobloc cream (full grains) or spray (nubucks, split grains) or another product on the market approved for use with Gore-Tex.
Rule #3: Buy the right boot or shoe for the activity
Zamberlan strongly recommends buying boots and shoes that are well suited for the intended purpose and the intended environment. While this seems obvious, it is not always readily apparent when evaluating different models. There are specific reasons why Zamberlan offers many different models of product within the same category, and that is because usage varies greatly depending on the user and the geography in which the activity is being enjoyed.
For example, customers selecting a backpacking boot to be primarily used in the backcountry will want a supportive model with approximately a 4.0mm insole (e.g. the 996 Vioz GTX). If the backpacker plans on navigating rough backcountry areas with tough rock or shale, we strongly recommend buying a more rugged boot employing a full rubber rand (e.g. the 960 Guide GTX RR). Likewise, a thru hiker on the Appalachian Trail (or similar) should shy away from unsupportive "running-style" shoes which will not last the journey and ultimately lead to injury due to over-fatigued feet. Proper structure, support, and insole stiffness exist for a reason, which is to transfer workload from the foot to the shoe.
Selecting the wrong boot for the activity not only affects user experience and performance but the product and hiker durability as well.