How To Extend The Life Of Your Leather Hunting Boots

How To Extend The Life Of Your Leather Hunting Boots

The Best Ways To Extend The Life Of Your Leather Hunting Boots

A pair of great hunting boots is arguably the most critical part of your hunting essentials. You would be surprised to learn how big of a difference a good pair of boots can make during a hunt. Cleaning your hunting bots is a straightforward process overlooked by most hunters. That’s because they think it is complicated. Some also believe that hunting boots do not require any maintenance.

It does not matter how expensive a pair you purchased or which brand the boots belong to. They will get dirty as long as you wear them in forests or any hunting location. Spending time on rocky terrains and stones, especially during the rain or snow, can deteriorate your hunting boots’ quality. No one wants to buy new hunting boots every year. Therefore, the best approach is to learn how to extend the life of the boots you already own.

As mentioned earlier, hunting boot maintenance is quite straightforward, as all you need to do is follow some simple steps to avoid deterioration. Long-time hunters recommend waterproofing as it is arguably the simplest footwear care tip. Surprisingly, most owners do not follow it. Check your local outdoor or hoe store for some waterproofing wax or oil. Apply them regularly to prolong your hunting boot’s life.

Anybody can spot deterioration signs on their hunting footwear. You will notice water beads sliding off your shoes if you waterproofed them. Otherwise, the boots will absorb water and damage your footwear in no time. You can easily spot dryness on leather.

waterproof hiking boots

The Importance of Hunting/Leather Boot Maintenance

Maintaining leather or hunting boots does not feel like a big deal to several individuals. People often believe that companies develop this footwear to endure harsh weather, dirt, debris, and other unfavorable elements. Sure, there is some truth to it, but hunting boots also have a shelf life. Leather can rapidly deteriorate if you do not care for it. You do not need to clean your boots every day, but it would be best to clean them after every hunting trip.

Most hunters thoroughly clean their boots during the off-season. It gives them adequate time to maintain their boots while paying attention to tiny details. You can get into a lot of trouble if you ignore hunting boot maintenance. You may think that this is an over-exaggeration, but it is not. Hunters must be able to move comfortably and quickly to catch their prey and avoid danger.

Hunters are usually well prepared for all situations they will encounter while in the field. That being said, there are times a hunter can get caught off guard. Whether it be a mountain lion encounter or a bear encounter, you need to be as prepared as you possibly can be. If your boots aren’t in good shape, it will make things even more difficult when the unexpected happens. Don’t get caught up the creek without a paddle and take care of the things that are going to protect your feet.

Do Your Hunting Boots Fit?

While maintaining hunting boots is critical, you must never forget the importance of buying a pair that fits. Many people purchase their footwear without trying them only to discover their size does not match. It would be best to wear your socks and try the boots at the shop. Walk and jog while wearing them to see if they are suitable. Poorly fitting shoes can cause blisters and calluses. You can also develop back and knee problems by wearing poorly fitting footwear.

Some boots provide comfort as soon as you wear them. However, things are vastly different from footwear made from premium quality leather. You will need to wait for a short period to break-in to your new boots and feel comfortable. With that said, choose a pair that allows you to be active throughout the day at any location. Hunting requires loads and loads of energy. Look for footwear that helps you conserve energy as you walk for miles.

You must also consider the location and its season when choosing your hunting footwear. You may require multiple pairs in some cases. Experienced hunters use lighter boots when the weather is warm and heavier insulated shoes when it is cold. Consider the environment you will be wearing your hunting boots in throughout the season.

Hunters wearing the wrong sized boots often stumble or trip. You cannot afford tiny mistakes like these as it could warn your prey. If you are thinking about your footwear throughout the hunting trip, the chances are that your shoes do not fit. It would be best to invest in top-quality boots to ensure movement, pains and aches are the least of your concerns while hunting.

Take as much time as you want to inspect your leather boots. Depending on how frequently and roughly you use them; shoes can develop flat soles, tears, and cracks. Unchecked tears and cracks could make your feet wet. Separated soles could make you trip or stumble, and you can develop arching problems due to flat soles.

Also, do not forget your laces. Try changing them after a year or two, depending on their condition. Breaking a lace while you are on the field is incredibly frustrating. So, ensure that your hunting boots’ laces are in pristine condition and keep a spare pair if something goes wrong. 

Treating Your Boots the Right Way

A pair of high-quality hunting boots does not come cheap. Treating your footwear the right way is the least you can do to ensure they last for several years. Follow the recommendations provided by the manufacturers to a T. However, you can do plenty of other things to make sure your hunting boots remain in tiptop shape.

For waterproof hunting boots such as the Zamberlan Outfitters GTX 980s, treat the boot’s exteriors with a rich waterproofing solution like NaturSeal to improve the footwear’s breathability. The same goes for leather boots created with synthetic materials – follow the manufacturer’s maintenance recommendations and take some extra steps to sustain your footwear’s quality.

How to Keep Your Hunting Boots in Excellent Shape

Leather hunting boots are a massive investment for most individuals. Your boots are critical for your hunting success. You most likely have an idea of what we are talking about if you have had past experiences with boots that have let you down. Hunters who plan to stay out in the field throughout the day not only have to select the correct boots, they have to prioritize their maintenance too. As discussed earlier, having wet or cold feet should be the last thing you should be worrying about when hunting.

Therefore, it is vital to care for your leather boots, not only before pulling them out for hunting season but also throughout the year. Besides, individuals hunting in groups owe it to their mates to maintain their gear. You should do everything possible to ensure you are not the weak link during your trip. In addition, nobody wants to hear their fellow huntsmen complain about their accessories, particularly when it becomes obvious that they are not maintaining it.

Preparation can turn a good hunting day into a great one. It can also prevent complicated hunting trips from turning into disasters. Here are some tried and tested tips every leather boot owner must follow to ensure their footwear remains excellent. 


Do not store your shoes if they are wet and muddy. Their quality will significantly deteriorate, and they will feel stiff and hard when you wear them for your next trip. Your boots will become useless if you store your boots without removing the dirt.

The first thing every hunter must do when they return home is cleaning off the grit and mud from the soles and leather. You should also use lukewarm water and saddle soap to remove the dirt. Not cleaning your boots could lead to tough spots. Removing them with one wash is virtually impossible. It would be best to use a toothbrush and scrub those spots away. You will particularly find these parts on the sole and the leather upper.

Do not forget to clean the interior. Utilize a washcloth to clean dirt and dust stuck inside your boot. You must also consider removing the foot beds and wiping them separately. Never dip your footwear in water. Air-dry them but do not use a hairdryer or keep them in the sun to pace up the process. Consider investing in a boot dryer if you hunt regularly. They are an ideal option for people who go on multi-day hunts and want their boots ready in a short period.


As mentioned earlier, avoid keeping your footwear near a direct heat source. You will significantly damage its leather by avoiding this advice. Heat eliminates the leather’s moisture, making it dry and creating cracks. Avoid damage by letting the boots dry naturally. Keep some newspapers inside your shoes to eliminate moisture faster. The boot’s internal layers will be free from water within hours. Drying your hunting boots next to fire can make the leather stiff and brittle.


Before putting your hunting gear away until your next trip, ensure your boots are dry. You would be surprised to see the immense damage a few drops of water can cause. Storing moist boots inside an airtight container can cause mildew. In addition, it would be best to condition your hunting boots. You may want to use an oil paste to lubricate, soften, and preserve your shoe’s leather.

Prevent your leather boots from becoming dry by re-applying mink oil. Store your boots in your house instead of the garage to ensure they are free from termites and mice.

hunting boots snow shoes


You can significantly extend your leather boot’s life by applying waterproof wax. Thoroughly clean your shoes before applying the wax. Conditioning your boots will help maintain the leather’s natural oils. It will reduce water damage and leather breakdown by tenfold. Long-lasting and healthy leather guarantees that you will not have to break the bank for multiple boots.

Wax your shoes multiple times to breathe some life into them. You make the absorption process quicker by waxing your boots in the sun. Regular maintenance is essential regardless of the method you utilize to extend your boot’s life.

How to Treat Color Fades and Scuffs

Hunting boots can quickly lose their color due to overexposure to various unfavorable elements. Use a high-quality leather cream to fix color and scuff related issues. Use a brush to spread the cream evenly. Ensure you choose the correct color before applying it to your hunting boots. The market is full of numerous colors, so you will find one that matches your boot.

You may require professional assistance if the scuffs, tears, and fades are too much. Bring your hunting boots to a reputable shoe shop if they require more than a simple touchup. The pros have special equipment and accessories that could help improve your footwear’s condition. Be careful when applying leather creams to your shoes as most of them give off strong fumes. Wear a facemask to avoid inhaling these fumes.

Why It’s Essential to Create a Maintenance Routine

Experienced hunters know the importance of pre and post-hunting boot maintenance routines. It is essential to maximize their footwear’s life and improve their hunting time. Most of them have similar methods to ensure they do not overpack and overlook something. You can drastically improve your hunting game by having a dedicated maintenance routine. It is as vital as inspecting your gun and supplies. After all, what good is a hunting boot if it does not offer excellent mobility?

Make sure you have the correct equipment to clean your boots after every hunt. Of course, water, soap, and a soft cloth are mandatory. You may also require a toothbrush and bristled brush to treat premium leather shoes. Shoes made from synthetic leather could benefit from baking soda.

Final Thoughts

Hunters must remember to maintain their leather boots to ensure they last multiple seasons. Remove the dirt and dust with a bristle brush as soon as you return from your hunting trip. A few minutes of straightforward maintenance will extend your footwear’s life. Store your gear in a dry, cool area, ensuring there is no moisture. Follow the tips mentioned in this guide, and your hunting boots will look and feel exceptional.


Hey I'm Karson. I've been hunting since I was 8 and shed hunting even before that. If you have any questions for me, fill out a form on the contact page, send me an email at or leave a comment on the below. Thanks