With Gore-Tex lined footwear no longer do you have to “stuff” the leather with products to make the leather waterproof, the membrane provides that function and still allows the leather uppers to breathe.
Keeping the leather in its original supple condition should be the goal with constant nourishment to stop the leather drying out and becoming boardy and stiff. Particular emphasis should be placed on the flex point in the forefoot where most of the troubles arise; it is like a hinge and requires frequent “lubrication”. It is also the area most exposed to perspiration and some salt build-up which dries the leather out and may cause cracking.
Mud also acts like a desiccant and sucks the nourishment out of the leather and that should be cleaned off promptly and not left to dry out.
After every use be sure to allow the boot to air out and dry properly. Do that by removing the footbed and laces so you pull back the tongue fully to open the boot. When you are preparing to clean and care for the boot the first time you should do the same so that you can reach with your shoe care products into hidden edges and corners such as on the tongue and gusset (bellows).
Avoid leaving the boots in direct sunlight and especially on a back step since the ambient temperature can go well above 50°C and have the same effect as being put alongside a fire. Always dry them out in a well-ventilated place away from a direct heat source. Similarly, store them (dry) in a cool dry place.
See more detailed instructions on how to clean your boots.
HOW TO CLEAN YOUR BOOTS
Remove the insole to allow it to air and dry. Remove the laces to allow you to reach tucked away corners such as the tongue with the care products used.
2. Remove the dirt from your boots
Brush dirt off thoroughly under lukewarm running water. For heavily soiled boots, use specialist footwear cleaning products or soap suds.
3. Increase the leather's water resistance
Cleaned boots are in an “open-pored” state and will soak up water. In order to “close” the leather again, an impregnating spray should first be used when they are still damp. We recommend our LOWA WATER STOP which is sprayed on. Helps water bead off. Regular proofing prevents water and dirt absorption. This is all the more important since leather that is completely soaked has no breathing properties, which has a negative effect on the internal microclimate of the footwear. Please note that proofing will only be fully effective 24 hours after application.
4. Maintain the leather's 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 had a soaking. We recommend our LOWA ACTIVE CREME which can be applied with a sponge or cloth. TIP… Apply more in the forefoot / flex zone area (it’s like a hinge) & brush away any excess. Do this immediately following step 3.
Leather that has not been treated in this way dries out, becomes brittle and cracks, leaving your footwear irreparably damaged. To prevent this from happening, apply your leather care product using a cloth and then polish it off with a brush. By carefully warming the leather with a hair dryer, the care product will be absorbed even deeper into the leather. We do not advise the use of oils or greases. Although they leave the leather very soft and almost waterproof, they reduce the stiffness and therefore the stability of the footwear. Furthermore, oils and greases also clog the leather pores, thereby preventing the leather from breathing (rubber boot effect). In the worst case scenario, they can even dissolve the adhesives used in the footwear.
DO NOT use care products containing: beeswax, animal fats and petroleum oils e.g. Dubbin, Neatsfoot Oil, Mink Oil and Sno-Seal, etc.
5. Give your boots ample time to dry
Never place boots to dry on a radiator, too near to a fireplace or oven, inside a car or in the trunk of your car. They should also not be left on the back step in direct sunlight; the ambient temperature which develops can be as bad as a heater or open fire and the UV perishes the randing.
6. Store your boots in a dry, well-aired place
Never store wet boots in damp rooms or the car. They will get mouldy!
Boot Sole Separation (Hydrolysis)
Sole Units will degrade when your footwear is used only occasionally and is stored for long periods of time. Sole units degrade faster than if the footwear is worn regularly. Hydrolysis is a normal material aging 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 even a quality issue in materials or workmanship.
There are two types of sole injection technology popular with outdoor boots: EVA and PU. LOWA uses PU Injected Technology, to extend the life of their boots.
PU vs. EVA
- We use PU on our midsoles. It's a terrific shock absorber, rebounds well, will last longer on the trail and offers better comfort. You will get two to five times the performance life compared to molded EVA midsoles.
- 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.
* If you are experiencing sole unit separation, or degradation, please send us an email. Our customer service team will contact you regarding the age of the boots and what steps can be taken regarding the sole separation.