Boot Care Guide
Once you've made the wise decision to purchase a pair of LOWA boots, you want to look after them to maximise their lifetime. They can never receive too much love.
The majority of issues that develop with boots are due to the insufficient or inappropriate use of care products.
Below is a guide that will help answer your boot care related questions.
This guide will ensure you have all the information you need to take the best care of your LOWA boots, so they last for a long time!
Here is a quick summary of the 7 key steps you need to know to take care of your LOWA boots.
LOWA 7 Step Care Process
- Always take laces and insoles out to clean properly
- Clean dirt from boots after your trip to avoid damaging the leather
Use LOWA Waterstop Pro to increase the leather's water resistance
- Apply LOWA Active Crème to maintain the leather's natural softness
- Avoid direct sunlight or heat sources when drying boots because it damages the leather
- Store your boots in a dry, well ventilated place
- Use your boots at least every 3 months to avoid the PU midsole degrading (this is a natural process called hydrolysis that happens with all brands of shoes/boots using PU midsoles)
Frequency: You should follow this care process monthly if you wear your boots frequently. If not, still use care product every 3 months (and take them out for a walk around the block as well).
LOWA Care Products: We recommend using LOWA care products, however other water-based treatments are also acceptable.
How To Clean Your LOWA Boots
Step 1. Preparation
Remove the insole to allow the boots and insoles to air out and dry.
Remove the laces completely to allow you to reach tucked away corners such as the tongue and around the eyelets. This will help you apply care products thoroughly.
Step 2. Remove the dirt from your boots
Brush off the dirt on your boots thoroughly under lukewarm running water.
For heavily soiled boots, use specialist footwear cleaning products like our LOWA Shoe Cleaner which makes your cleaning job easier and also nourishes the leather.
The Gore-Tex® lining does not require any special care, but can be cleaned occasionally with lukewarm water and a light soap solution.
Shoe Cleaner can be used to clean the inside of the boot as well.
The Shoe Cleaner opens the pores of the boots, so the boots need to be rinsed out well with water (inside and outside) after applying Shoe Clean. (Inside only needs to be rinsed if you've applied a cleaning agent).
You can use the LOWA Triangular Cleaning Brush for this part.
Mud acts like a desiccant and sucks the nourishment out of the leather. This is why your boots should be cleaned off promptly and not left to dry out.
Step 3. Increase the leather's water resistance
Cleaned boots are in an “open-pored” state and will soak up water.
Therefore an impregnating spray should be used when the boots are slightly damp.
We recommend spraying LOWA Waterstop Pro thoroughly BEFORE applying Active Crème.
Waterstop Pro repels water by helping it bead off the leather. It also maintains the breathability of the leather and prevents it from becoming soaked with water.
Waterstop Pro needs to be applied 24 hours before use.
The water repellent effect begins to wear off after about 3 weeks of regular use, therefore regular re-impregnation is important in preventing water and dirt absorption.
It is also important to ensure your boots are treated before storage.
Gore-Tex® lining - The Gore-Tex® lining inside the boot already provides the waterproof function through an inner membrane while still allowing the leather upper to breathe.
However, caring for the leather upper with Waterstop Pro will maintain the breathability of the leather itself and prevent the leather from becoming soaked. This is because the Waterstop Pro spray allows water to bead off the leather.
Step 4. Maintain the leathers natural softness
Once your boots have been water-proofed, they should also regularly have a water-based cream rubbed or polished into them (with a brush), especially when they have been soaked.
You can also use a sponge or a cloth to apply this.
TIP - Apply more crème in the forefoot/flex zone area and brush away any excess. Because it acts as a hinge, this area gets a lot of usage and tends to be where the leather needs the most hydration. It is also where perspiration and salt build up.
If the leather gets too dry and is not properly hydrated, the flex-point at the front of the boot will take on a “boardy” feel. This means the leather will start losing its flexibility and eventually crack, thus severely limiting the life of your LOWA’s.
Dry leather also creates friction at the flex-points and continuously rubs at stitched seams while you walk. This causes the stitches to wear away and often come undone due to stiffness.
Active Creme maintains the leather’s natural softness and prevents the leather from drying out and cracking.
Apply Active Crème following Step 3 while the boots are still damp from the Waterstop Pro spray.
*Please note, the surface of nubuck and suede leather becomes smoother, shinier and also darker when the Active Crème is applied which will change the appearance of the boot. This is not a defect; it is a cosmetic side effect of using the Active Crème.
Step 5. Give your boots ample time to dry
Once your boots have had all care product applied, leave them to dry in a cool, dry, and well-ventilated area away from direct heat sources.
Do NOT use a hairdryer or other drying machine to dry the boots.
When at home, devices specifically designed to dry boots from the inside of the boot (such as Peet Dryers) can be used. Although we still recommend letting your boots air dry!
Newspaper can also be used to dry boots from the inside.
Never place LOWA boots to dry on a radiator, too near to a fireplace or oven, inside a car or in the trunk of your car where temperatures can get very hot.
Avoid leaving your boots in direct sunlight as the ambient temperature can reach well above 50°C which is as bad as a heater or open fire.
High temperatures and exposure to UV rays in direct sunlight can cause the rand to perish and cause irreversible damage to the leather.
It can also cause the toe box to soften or collapse under the tension of the rand.
6. Store your boots in a dry, well-ventilated place and maintain regular usage
Never store wet boots in damp rooms or the car. They will get mouldy!
Ensure they are kept in a well ventilated, cool and dry area.
Remember to treat with waterproof spray before storing.
CAUTION: Do not keep your boots in storage for too long without use as this can cause hydrolysis (see more information on hydrolysis below).
Taking care to maintain your LOWAs is super important if you’re wanting to get the most action out of your boots.
Regular maintenance, and a good amount of care product is the most important way to prevent the leather from drying out and cracking.
If you don’t take your LOWAs out for a walk often, apply care product once every three months.
If you wear boots frequently, you should be treating the boots at least monthly.
Suede Based Uppers – Boots such as the Z-Series or Alpine Expert with suede uppers need more care and treatment. The leather is flipped closer to the inside and will need deeper hydration.
Synthetic Boots – Boots with Synthetic uppers such as the Innox Pro GTX can be cared for using the same instructions above, but do not require the use of Active Creme. Overall synthetic boots require less maintenance than leather, but care should also be taken to improve longevity and performance of the boot.
Using Water-Based Care Product
To keep your LOWA boots leather upper supple and hydrated, we recommend you ONLY use appropriate water based care products.
Other wax-based treatments, despite softening the leather, often clog the pores on the leather’s surface with little to no hydration. This prevents the leather from breathing.
Some oil, petroleum or animal fat-based treatments have also been known to dissolve adhesives used on the boot, causing the rand to lift off from the upper.
To avoid these adverse effects, we recommend you avoid the following treatments:
- Neatsfoot Oil
- Mink Oil
- Sno Seal
Hydrolysis is a process where sole units separate or degrade due to a build-up of moisture within the sole unit. Sole units will degrade when your footwear is used only occasionally and is stored for long periods of time.
How Does Hydrolysis Happen?
Hydrolysis occurs if boots are exposed to:
- Harsh chemicals
- Manure (e.g. from dairy farms)
- Lack of wear (most common)
If the boots are left sitting (without use) for long periods of time, moisture builds up within the sole unit.
Without wear, this moisture is unable to be dispersed and eventually, this build up of moisture causes bacteria to attack the PU midsole. This causes the midsole disintegrate/crumble away.
When a PU midsole begins to deteriorate, you'll see small cracks along the injection area, above the sole unit. This is an indication that your boots are wearing out.
Over time, this disintegration will cause the sole unit to come clean away from the boots.
Warranty For Hydrolysis
Hydrolysis is not a warranty or manufacturing fault; it occurs in all LOWA boots with PU midsoles.
Hydrolysis is a normal material ageing process that occurs in all footwear with a cushioned PU midsole independent of the manufacturer.
The process also occurs in automobile, tires, ski boots or helmets and does not represent lower quality or a quality issue in materials or workmanship.
Why Does LOWA Use PU Midsoles?
There are two types of midsole cushioning sole injection technology popular with outdoor boots: EVA and PU.
LOWA uses PU Injected Technology, because of its superior attributes to extend the life of their boots. Typically, more than 2.5 times more than EVA.
PU midsoles are a terrific shock absorber, rebound well, and will last longer on the trail.
A PU midsole also doesn't deform under heavy pack loads as a regular EVA midsole would.
What If I've Taken Good Care Of My Boots?
Hydrolysis happens regardless of where your boots are stored (even if you have stored them in a cool, dry place away from sunlight and taken good care of the boots with appropriate care product).
Sole units will degrade faster without use than if the footwear is worn regularly. This is why it is important to regularly wear your LOWA boots.
How To Delay Hydrolysis
To avoid early onset hydrolysis, wear your LOWA boots at least once every 2-3 months to keep up frequent usage.
It is as easy as going for a stroll around the block, taking the dog for a walk, or wearing them around at work!
This will reduce the amount of time the boots are stored and the chances of the PU midsole disintegrating prematurely.
Did you know, by keeping your boots on your feet and out of the storage shed, you will get two to five times the performance life compared to moulded EVA midsoles?
Regular usage of your LOWA’s will ensure your boots last for a long time.
If your boots qualify for a resole, the entire sole unit can be replaced when hydrolysis occurs.
Note: If your boots have shown pre-mature hydrolysis (I.e., less than 6 months), or you believe your case is different, please either:
- Fill out our online Warranty & Repair form if you purchased the boots from our website.
- Head into the authorised LOWA retailer from where you purchased the boots, and a staff member can help you out.
To ensure your boot soles can be resoled, you can purchase boots with a resolable outsole. Just look for a resole icon like this!
Where Can I Find More Information?
All boot care and warranty information are included in the paperwork provided inside the boot box packaging when the boots are purchased as well as on our website.