If your go-to shoe for hiking are leather boots, then you need to protect them from water, mud and other elements that characterise hiking terrains by investing in the best leather hiking boot protector.
Leather boots are a popular option for hiking because of the traction, ankle support and overall protection they offer. But we understand that hiking terrains could be humid and are often riddled with rocks and dirt. These elements aren’t favourable for our leather hiking boots, as a result we must protect them by using boot protectors. Boot protectors protect our boots from scratches and moisture.
You’ve probably tried different products, but you’re yet to find one that satisfies your needs. Not to worry, we gotcha. In this article, we’ll be discussing 7 best leather boot protectors you should use for your hiking shoes. Our choices are influenced by our experience using them and opinion polls. We also provide you with valuable tips on how to take care of your leather boots.
KIWI Boot Waterproofer Hiking Boot Protector
KIWI just had to be number one on our list. Over the years, this brand has proven why it has remained in business for over 115 years without disappointing its millions of global users. They produce top-notch shoe protectors and this boot waterproofer is proof of this.
KIWI simply names this product ‘boot waterproofer’, but we call it ‘the jack of all leather boots, master of all’ because it can be used on full-grain leather hiking boots as well as nubuck and suede boots. Not many boot protectors can boast of this dexterity in usage.
This boot protector boasts a unique formula that creates an extremely tough water barrier, making your shoe waterproof.
Asides its waterproofing functions, it also prevents dirt, fine sand, and small particles from penetrating your leather boots. These particles are known to lodge within the pores of leather, causing the material to easily crack, lose it waterproofing abilities, and eventually lack lustre.
KIWI boot waterproofer also maintains the appearance and breathability of leather and fabric materials with GORE-TEX membrane. Whatever the color of your boots are, trust this protector to take care of it.
- Silicone waterproofing protection
- Aerosol spray
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Honey Leather Boot Protector and Conditioner
If you’ve had a pair of leather hiking boots stored away in your garage or elsewhere for long, and you’ve been thinking of how to bring it back to life, try this highly recommended Honey Leather Conditioner. The result you’ll get is almost instant.
This non-toxic leather conditioner restores and protects. It can be used for all types of leather including faux leather and vinyl.
Its rich, viscous formula penetrates deep into the leather’s pores, hydrates its individual fibres, and provides a water-repellent barrier. These benefits promote the flexibility and breathability of your boots as well as prolongs its life. It does these wonders to both old and new boots.
The effect of using this leather conditioner is long-lasting. It can be seen even after 5-6 months!
The extra-amazing thing about this protector is that it doesn’t leave oily residue and a little drop goes a long way in bringing out the gloss and restoring the glory of your leather boots. Use a lint-free cloth to apply.
It can be used on different types of leather surfaces (not just boots).
We like that, unlike most leather conditioners, this powerful non-toxic conditioner is odourless. (They don’t use animal products, silicone and solvents in the production of this conditioner).
- Non-toxic formula
- Non-sticky and odourless
Rust-Oleum Shield H₂O Spray
Hiking terrains could be dusty, muddy, and wet. You need a leather boot protector that is water- and dirt-repellent and this is it.
The Rust-Oleum water spray is a revolutionary hydrophobic coating. What this means in simple terms is that it is a water repelling treatment.
This crystal-clear boot protector forms a barrier on the surface of your boots when sprayed on it. It is this barrier that prevents water from seeping into your shoes through the pores of your leather. It is also this barrier that prevents dirt from sticking on your shoes.
It can be applied on leathers such as nubuck, suede and canvas.
For better results, spray 36 -48 hours before setting out to hike. Spray across your boots evenly to maintain an even colour across the boot. One treatment lasts about 5-6 months of everyday wear. Check the latest price here on Amazon.com
- Crystal-clear, silicone-free formula
- Easy single step trigger spray application
Otter Wax Leather Boot Protector
The Otter wax boot wax is an all-natural leather waterproofer made primarily of beeswax and lanolin. Not only does this wax protect your boots, it also restores the shine of your boots- making them look bright and beautiful.
Beeswax is known to repel water and keep leather soft, while lanolin is known to lock-in moisture and repel stains. With these two ingredients present in your boot protector, your boots will have just the right amount of moisture within it necessary to prevent it from cracking.
Fun fact: Your leather boots need some moisture. Dehydrated leather boots crack.
The Otter boot wax is a non-toxic, environmentally friendly boot protector. It is devoid of chemicals, silicon, and dyes.
As a dye-free wax, it can be used on any colour of leather.
Apply on both the leather and seams of your boots to keep it waterproof. For better result, let your boots sit under the sun for a while to soak in the wax.
- Made of beeswax and lanolin
- Wax leather sealant
Nikwax Fabric and Leather Proof
Most leather boots protectors work by sealing the pores of your leather boots to prevent water from seeping in. That’s why they are called ‘waterproofer’.
But the downside to this is that when the pores of your leather is sealed, even air can’t pass through. Therefore, when your feet sweat, they could smell and cause the boots to smell too.
However, the Nikwax Fabric and Leather Proof provides a solution to this challenge, that’s why we recommend it as one of the best leather hiking boot protector.
This boot protector waterproofs, maintains the support and breathability of your boots.
As a boot protector that maintains breathability, it lets air seep through the leather of your boot thereby reducing heat and promoting healthier feet and leather.
- Water-based and biodegradable
- Spray-on application for easy use.
Atsko Sno-Seal Original Beeswax Waterproofing
We heard so many great things about this wax, that we just had to try it out. We love the effects this wax has on our leather boots, and it would have been selfish of us not to preach to you about the wonders of this boot protector.
The Atsko Sno-Seal Original Beeswax Waterproofing offers superb leather hiking boot protection from rain, snow, heat, and salt.
Made with beeswax formula, this product stays on the leather and lasts long, keeping water out and aiding breathability while at it. When this formula dries, it solidifies into a wax that stays placed on the surface of the leather.
Its water repellent coating helps to condition and preserve your leather hiking boots, work boots and dress shoes. It is perfect for full-grain leather and leaves a nice lustre without making your boots “shiny”. Apply with a lint-free cloth.
- Highly water repellent to help preserve boots and keep feet dry.
- Aids breathability.
- Easy to apply using heat.
Nikwax Conditioner for Leather Boots
Nikwax is known for manufacturing high performance waterproofing, cleaning, and conditioning products for outdoor gears like leather hiking boots.
The Nikwax conditioner for leather is a water-based, bio-degradable product that restores the smoothness of leather hiking boots and maintains it breathability.
With this leather hiking boot protector, Nikwax objective is to improve the performance and prolong the life of your leather boots in the safest way. That’s why they are intentional about manufacturing products that are environmentally safe.
Look out for your free sponge applicator when you buy this.
- Waterproof boots to prevent damages.
- Restores breathability.
- Sponge applicator for easy use.
How to Care for Leather Hiking Boots
Hiking terrains are not the most exciting terrains leather boots want to tread on. Rocks, sand, sticks, water, etc, which are common characteristics of hiking terrains affect the lifespan of leather boots. To ensure your leather boots go on more hiking adventures with you, you should take care of them by doing the following;
Clean your boots
Before you start conditioning and waterproofing your leather hiking boots, you should remove the dirt covering your boots.
Remove the laces and brush off any loose dirt on your boots with a soft brush. For caked-in mud, use a hard brush and rinse with clean water.
For thorough cleaning, you can use running water and a good boot cleaner that is designed for the type of leather your boots are made of.
Remember to brush the outsoles of your hiking boots and dislodge any pebbles that are stuck there. If you do not have a brush with hard bristles to remove caked-in mud, you can soak the outsoles, then use a hose to wash it away.
Conditioners help your boots retain their suppleness and prevent them from cracking. They work best when your boots are damp.
It is advisable to apply conditioning treatment immediately after cleaning.
Conditioners are used on full-grain leather when they appear dry or cracked. Other types of leather do not necessarily need conditioning.
Do well to read the application instructions that accompany the conditioner before using.
We’ve discovered that using too much conditioner will make your boots soft and unnecessarily flexible.
Avoid using Mink oil and similar oils made for industrial boots on your leather hiking boots. They over soften its leather.
Waterproof Your Boots
New hiking boots rarely require waterproofing treatment since almost all new hiking boots are factory-treated with durable water repellent finish (DWR).
However, over time, the water repellence of your hiking boots will deteriorate. This can be restored by using a good waterproofing treatment.
It is more effective to apply such product when your boots are clean and damp. This allows the treatment to properly settle into the leather.
Choose the right products
There are so many products in the market made for leather boots. But not all of them are compatible with your leather boot.
Leather hiking boots could be made of full-grain leather or other types of leather like nubuck and suede.
Know the type of leather your hiking boots are made of and buy quality products specifically manufactured to maintain that type of leather.
Dry and Store Your Boots
Dry your boots at room temperature- preferably in a place with low humidity. Don’t use a heat source or dry under the sun. Doing this will dry out the leather, causing it to shrink, stiffen and crack. It can also affect the adhesives used in your hiking boots.
However, you can remove and dry the insoles of your leather hiking boots under the sun to reduce the stench from smelly insoles. Be sure to store them in a clean and dry environment, away from direct sunlight or hot places.
Recommended reading: Best Way to Clean Chelsea Boots.
How Do I Break in Leather Boots?
Use or a boot stretcher or leather conditioner.
If you’ll be using a leather conditioner, apply it weekly then monthly. There are different types of leathers. So be careful to use the conditioner made for the type of leather your boot is made of. It is usually indicated on the body of the conditioner.
Leather conditioners soften leathers and prevent them from cracking.
How Do I Keep Hiking Boots Waterproof?
Use good waterproofing products to renew its waterproofing treatment.
- Ensure your boots are clean and damp
- Apply the waterproofing treatment using a soft cloth
- Work in layers to get better coverage
- Wipe off any excess of the product on your boots.
How often you should do this will depend on how frequently you use your boots especially during the wet weather or in wet environments. However, once in 6 months has proven to be ideal.
Now that you have so many options for the best hiking leather boot protector to choose from, how about you check out this article for the Best Hiking Camera Bags for DSLR To Protect Your Gears and Hiking Daypack with Hydration Bladder for Drink Hands-free