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Posted by Bethan Bithell on Jun 02, 2016

Prevent leaking walking boots with our expertly written guide and easy to follow advice.

Soggy socks while out walking is no laughing matter. Read this guide to find out how to rescue and repair your walking boots to rid you of those pesky leaks. Whether you splash out on a pricier new pair of walking boots or opt for a budget trekking shoe, no footwear is resistant to leaks indefinitely. 

Generally there are three main reasons for soggy boots:

  • Wear and tear
  • Hot/sweaty feet  
  • Lack of maintenance

Below are some common problems associated with walking boots along with tips and tricks to prevent them and keep your feet warm and dry.

Wear and Tear

1. Punctured Waterproof Membrane/Sole

Sharp items such as thorns, brambles and barbed wire can puncture or tear the membrane resulting in water seeping into your footwear. The sole can be punctured by walking on sharp terrain such as slate or stepping on things like nails or barbed wire. 

Recommendation/Solution: Apply a sealant such as StormSeal to the tear/crack to repair the damage and stop the leak.

 2. Wet Boots

Wearing walking boots in wet conditions over a period of time, will reduce the performance of the waterproof membrane. A leather walking boot with a waterproof membrane will perform successfully for up to 7 hours - after this, boots will should be dried out before they are used again.

Recommendation/Solution: Allow boots to fully dry out (naturally - try to avoid using a heat source as this can cause leather to crack) before wearing them again.

3. Overuse

Sometimes boots just need retiring! There sadly comes a time when the trusty old boots need to be traded in for a newer model. Look for signs of irreparable wear such as:

  • Loose stitching
  • Soles and grip worn down
  • Midsoles and insole cushioning wearing out.

Recommendation/Solution: Time to treat yourself to some new boots. Check out our range of footwear

Hot and Sweaty Feet

1. Breathable Membrane

Many walking boot membranes are waterproof and breathable. A breathable membrane draws moisture away from the foot and out of the boots, keeping feet dry and comfortable.

If your boots feel damp on the inside even on dry days this means moisture is unable to escape. This is most likely due to saturation by mud and dirt. Mud clogs up pores minimising the boot's breathability.

Recommendation/Solution: Dry out and clean walking boots regularly (ideally after every muddy walk).

2. Walking Socks

Most good walking socks wick away moisture from the foot to keep your feet dry. It's important you choose the appropriate pair of socks for your needs such as  hikingshootingliner or merino and ensure they are the correct size. 

Recommendation/Solution: Invest in a quality pair of walking socks that are the correct size and fit for purpose. If you suffer from blisters, read our Anti-blister Walking Socks Guide.

3. Gaiters

If the top of your socks get wet, their wicking capability will instead draw moisture down into the boot resulting in wet socks. Gaiters prevent water from reaching your boots/shoes to ensure your feet and ankles stay warm and dry. 

Recommendation/Solution: Wear gaiters over your boots/shoes to prevent moisture reaching socks

Lack of Maintenance

Poor care of boots will damage the outer fabric. If untreated, leather will crack or split and dirty boots can prevent the waterproof and breathable membrane from performing effectively. A small amount of time and effort maintaining your boots using wax or a boot treatm ent like Punch Dubbin, and cleaning them using specialised cleaning products such as the Nikwax Footwear Cleaning Gel will pay off long term by ensuring your walking boots and walking shoes will last for many years to come. For a step by step guide on how to clean, maintain and reproof leather boots read our 5 Reasons to Wax your Leather Boots Guide.

We hope the above will help you to enjoy a comfortable time when out and about putting your walking boots through their paces. Should you have any further queries or questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us!