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Maintenance of Nubuck leather shoes and boots

Care guide for maintaining nubuck leather

How do I best take care of my nubuck leather boots?

Proper care is crucial to maintaining the Alfa quality. Real leather acts much like a second skin, as it is a natural raw material that depends on care to maintain its quality. Dirt and moisture have little impact on well-kept boots.

Airing out leather boots

The insoles absorb plenty of moisture and should be removed after every longer trip, as they will dry quickly when outside of the boot. This is especially important after multi-day excursions. In an ideal world, a soaked leather boot should be left to dry for 24 hours before its next use.

Cleaning nubuck leather boots

Never stow away dirty boots. Remember to remove the laces before cleaning, brushing and/or polishing your boots. After removing the insoles and laces, remove any dirt from the leather. Average dirt levels require only brushing, luke-warm water and dish soap, which can also be used to clean the sole and sole rim. Very dirty boots must be treated with custom cleaning products developed specifically for shoes. This type of product can be found in well-assorted shoe and sports stores.

Since cleaning and cleaning products open the pores and leaves the leather unprotected, water will be instantly absorbed. To avoid wet shoes on your next trip, it is important to thoroughly impregnate the boots to close the pores and restore their water-repellent properties.

Drying leather boots

After cleaning leather boots with water, they must be left to dry completely before further treatment. The best way to ensure this is to let them dry at room temperature for 24 hours. In addition, if you have cleaned the inside of the boot, you can stuff them with newspaper for 30 minutes to get rid of the excess water and reduce the drying time.

It is important to note that leather boots are somewhat fragile to heat. Therefore, we recommend keeping drying temperatures to 37°C or lower. Avoid placing your boots to dry on or close to a radiator, close to a fireplace or any other heat source. Wet leather can become brittle and shrink, often resulting in cracks and other damage.

Impregnating leather boots

The pores of a cleaned boot are left open due to the cleaning products and the leather will easily absorb water. Impregnate the boots to close the pores. If the boot has Gore-Tex® waterproof technology, it is important to use a dedicated impregnation. A leather boot without Gore-Tex® can be treated with any type of leather impregnation. Preferably apply the impregnation in two layers, but let the first one dry properly before adding the second. Then, let the boot dry.

Leather impregnation maintains the boots' breathability properties and the leather will not absorb water. In addition, proper care keeps dirt from attaching to the outer material and protects against wear and tear. Non-impregnated leather, on the other hand, will be very exposed.

Remember to frequently brush your boots with shoe balm or wax, and polish properly. This is especially important after they get wet, as shoe polish provides additional protection.

What types of impregnation should I use?

For full grain leather boots, we mainly recommend shoe polish or wax based shoe care products. After thorough cleaning, it can be beneficial to use a liquid impregnation as a base coat. Boots with Gore-Tex® waterproof technology must be treated with a dedicated impregnation. Do not use care products with a high fat content on full grain leather, as it reduces the breathability and can cause clammy feet. Boots without Gore-Tex® can be treated with any type of leather impregnation, but we do not recommend care products with creosote (tar) due to environmental considerations. Furthermore, the well-known myth regarding not using silicon based care products on Gore-Tex® boots is unfounded.

The use of creams on nubuck and suede leather

Boots made from nubuck and suede leather must be treated, so they do not dry out. We recommend using a sponge to apply a dedicated nubuck care product, which does not ruin the suede look of the leather. These products are less likely to clog the leather compared to ordinary wax based products. Heavy brushing generates heat, which helps with the leather's absorption. Gently brushing with a stiff brush is a great way to freshen up the original look of nubuck and suede leather.

How often should I treat my boots?

The frequency of impregnation depends on the amount of use. A rule of thumb is to look at the boots; when they begin to absorb water and darker spots appear on certain points, like the instep fold, it is time for proper care. Before longer excursions or the hunting season, it is recommended to thoroughly treat the boots. Properly maintained boots will repel water, rather than bleed into the material.

Shoe polish can be applied as often as you like. Remember that proper care significantly prolongs the lifespan of your boots.

Storing full grain leather boots

Store your boots in a dry, cold and properly ventilated place. Never store wet boots in moist rooms or in your car, as they are exposed to mold and discoloring. Furthermore, do not store them directly on heated floors, as it dries out the rubber and decreases the sole's lifespan.

With frequent and proper care your leather boots will provide you with years of great outdoor experiences!

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