Appropriate proofing and conditioning is essential and vary according to the materials used for the uppers of your boots, but in every case, its main function is to feed the leather with the correct degree of support and suppleness, as well as to maximize its water resistance. How often treatment will be required depends upon, amongst other things, the terrain and conditions in which the boots are used and the frequency of their use. As a general guide, it is better that you proof and condition the boots on the 'little and often' principle, rather than applying excess quantities of treatment on an infrequent basis. Before long periods of storage, treatment should be applied, as significant drying may occur if left untreated.
Please note, if you decide to use treatments other than Zamberlan® Hydrobloc® leather treatments, they should meet the requirements in place for Gore-Tex® (if applicable). This means no silicone-based treatments or any treatment that will (a) clog the pores of the Gore-Tex® membranes, or (b) block the leathers natural ability to breathe.
- remove the laces
- remove the footbeds
- make sure to remove all the grit/dirt inside
- wash the boots under cold tap water, using a mild soap (not a detergent!)
- ensure that all debris is removed from the uppers and soles
- rinse the boots well, especially if they have been exposed to peat, as its acidity can be particularly destructive.
- leave everything to dry slowly and thoroughly in a cool to warm, well-ventilated area
- If the boots are very wet, it may be advisable to stuff each boot with newspaper during the drying process, replacing as required.
- Be sure NOT to attempt to accelerate the drying process by placing the boots near direct heat sources (i.e. fires, radiators, fan heaters, boilers, etc. … as this will cause cracking and/or shrinkage of the leather and may seriously damage the bonding compounds used in the construction of the boot.
Uppers: Proofing & Conditioning
Full Grain Leather:
When the uppers are fully dry, apply Zamberlan® Hydrobloc® Cream sparingly; use a soft brush to apply the treatment, working it thoroughly into the leather. Leave to cure overnight before use, after which you may wish to buff your boots to a shine as excess surface proofing will attract particles of grit or sand that can abrade the leather when the boot is flexed.
Nubuck Leather, Crosta Leather, Nubuck Leather/Fabric, Split Leather/Fabric:
Zamberlan® Hydrobloc® conditioning spray should be applied when the boots are dry and clean. Shake the container well and apply 2 coats of conditioner to the whole of the upper (including the fabric sections where present) from a distance of approximately 20 cm, allowing 5 minutes between coats (to let the conditioner soak in). Wipe any excess conditioner from soles and the sole/upper junction, and leave to dry overnight before use.
Linings-Care, Proofing, and Conditioning
Man Made Linings:
These do not require special care; they simply need to be allowed to dry naturally and thoroughly after use and cleaned with a warm damp cloth from time to time.
Whilst offering superb comfort, leather can become damaged, dried and cracked by the acidity of the feet's perspiration. For this reason, you should regularly clean the leather linings with a warm damp cloth, allow to thoroughly dry, and then apply a thin coat Hydrobloc® Proofing Cream or Hydrobloc® Conditioning Spray which will feed the leather, keeping it soft and supple.
Soles: Inspection, Care & Resoling
The soles do not generally require any special attention, but it is good practice to regularly inspect them for wear and general condition. Pay particular attention to any stones which might have become lodged in the sole, removing them carefully prior to subsequent use. Failure to do so may result in damage to the sole unit. Check the depth of tread from time to time, as security and safety may be compromised by a significantly worn sole. Most Zamberlan® boots can be resoled by specialist cobblers. Zamberlan® keeps on feeding its cobblers’ network, in order to offer the best service, even after a long time...!
Laces and Footbeds: Inspection, Care & Replacement
Laces will normally offer a fairly long service life, but cannot be expected to last indefinitely. Check regularly for signs of wear, replacing with genuine Zamberlan® laces as and when necessary. After-market laces can also be used so long as they meet Gore-Tex® requirements for moisture wicking and are considered suitable for the stresses of outdoor use. It is a sensible precaution to carry a spare set at all times, especially when walking in remote areas.
The anatomic footbeds supplied with your boots should be regularly cleaned and replaced from time to time with genuine Zamberlan® footbeds. If you use your boots regularly you should consider replacement every six to twelve months.
CARDINAL RULES of BOOT CARE
Please note, not following these rules will not only lead to incurable damage to your boots but will invalidate your warranty.
Rule #1: Never put your boots near a heat source
If boots are placed near a heat source (like a fireplace, heat register, or even under a blast of hot air from a vehicle heater) the leather can dry out to a point from which it cannot recover, causing shrinkage and wrinkling. Which can lead to rubber rand and even potential sole delamination. (Delamination here simply means a separating of two components held together by boot cement).
Outdoor wetness is completely normal and fine; simply let the boots dry naturally in open air and they will be fine.
Do not let the boots sit long without addressing moisture inside of the boot as this may allow for the formation of mold. The same can be said of excessive foot moisture caused by sweating, especially with leather-lined boots.
Rule #2: Do not use a leather conditioner that is not approved for use with Gore-Tex® membranes
Gore-Tex® membranes require that a specific type of leather treatment be used on the boot. As previously said, silicone-based and other non-approved treatments can clog the pores of the membrane, which will cause them to stop breathing and will also invalidate your Gore-Tex® warranty. We recommend using our Hydrobloc cream (full grains) or spray (nubucks, split grains and Perwangers) or another product on the market approved for use with Gore-Tex® (e.g. Nikwax).
Please also be careful not to use leather conditioners known to delaminate the cement used to attach rubber rands to leather uppers. While excellent for the life of your leather, delamination of a rubber rand can be difficult to cure.
Rule #3: Buy the right boot or shoe for the activity
Zamberlan® strongly recommends buying boots and shoes that are well suited for the intended purpose and the intended environment. There are specific reasons why Zamberlan® offers many different models of product within the same category, and that is because usage varies greatly depending on the user and the geography in which the activity is being enjoyed.
Proper structure, support, and insole stiffness exist for a reason, which is to transfer workload from the foot to the shoe. Selecting the wrong boot for the activity not only affects user experience and performance but the product and hiker durability as well.