Military Boots Impregnation Today I’d like to show you how to impregnate boots. In other words, prepare them for any mission. In my opinion, leather boots have to be impregnated at all times. This is what my boot looks like after yesterday’s adventure. Let’s get to work. It helps to unlace the boot before impregnating it. This is quite important. Attention! At the beginning I’d like to mention that it’s worth to impregnate both boots, not just one. I thought that as an example we’d work on only one boot, but I guess we’ll do both of them, so I don’t have to make up for it later. We’ll do both of them at once. As you can see, the boot is dirty. A dirty boot should not be impregnated. It has to be cleaned first. We’ll do it with a brush. A hard brush – that’s what it looks like. The boot has to be cleaned with a cleaning motion. OK, let’s assume that the boot is partially clean. We’ve used the left one, so we’ll keep working on this one. We’ve finished cleaning. It took us some time, maybe five or ten minutes. To make it right, we’ll also remove all the sand since it’s not desirable at all. Clay, sand – we have to get rid of all that before impregnation. I’m sure many people wonder why it’s important to impregnate boots. I assume that impregnation isn’t necessary, if boots are well factory-impregnated. If a boot is new and has some kind of Gore-Tex membrane etc., we can probably forget about impregnation for a season or two. But since we often use those boots in wet conditions and they lost they first freshness long time ago, I assume that they have to be impregnated. Especially before the autumn or spring season, when it rains a lot, everything’s wet and we often cross some bodies of water and so on. I personally – but it’s only my opinion, in this case not necessarily professional – think, that boots should not be impregnated too often. I do it twice a year. Some people think it can be done more often, but in fact you have to do it instinctively. You need to sense when impregnation of your boot gets weaker, the protective layers wear out and it has to be impregnated again. I do it twice a year. I don’t want to do it too often, so the boot doesn’t lose its breathability. I just don’t want to close all the things that enable my foot to breathe. Therefore twice a year is the maximum. Of course, impregnation and polishing are two completely different things. I try to take a really good care of my boots, because I want them to serve me well. I usually polish them after every adventure, so they look like they’re brand new. As you can see, my boot is still dirty, that’s why before impregnation I still have to wash it. To do that, I’ll use another amazing tool called shoe shampoo. In my case it’s the ‘Cleaning Shampoo’ produced by Woly Sport. I think I bought it in a sports shop, but if someone doesn’t have a shop close to them, they can easily find and buy it online. Perhaps we have to shake it, so just in case we do that. We dip it in water. And for now we just try to make the remaining dust wet. We have to squeeze out some of the shampoo on the brush and we shampoo the whole boot. The more foam, the better. We shampoo all the leather surfaces. When the boot is shampooed, we rinse it off, trying not to make a big mess. Now we dry it up. In general, I assume that a leather boot has to be impregnated inside the leather. Meaning that every impregnating product has to get inside the leather. In order to do that, I warm it up. The are many methods of warming up boots. Some people put them in the oven, some use a hairdryer, and others do it by a bonfire. In general, the goal is to warm it up so much, that when you put your hand inside the boot, you can feel the heat form the outside. However, to avoid burning it or drying up the leather, it cannot be done for too long or too often. It’s all a matter of intuition, but people who don’t want to destroy their billion dollar boots can easily use my method and use a hairdryer – your wife’s, sister’s, girlfriend’s, neighbour’s or simply your own. Keep warming the leather till you feel the heat inside with your hand. Because of that the leather opens its pores and becomes much more absorbent. We want the leather to properly absorb the first layer of the impregnating product. OK, I assume that the boot is warmed up. Now we take another favourite tool – waterproof impregnating wax for leather. A wax for waterproof impregnation of leather produced by Nikwax. There are a few instructions on the box, but one of them is more important than the others – apply the wax with your own hands because the body temperature melts the wax. I always do it this way and it works. Here it is. Available on the Internet or in sports shops. I recommend this one and I’ve never used any other product. Actually, the whole unit uses this one. I think now it has appeared in a new form, but I still have this one, so I’ll use it till it’s finished. Now our job is to apply the first layer and observe if it gets absorbed. I simply call it a massage. We have to properly massage the boot. We have to put a lot of love in taking care of the boot, and it will pay us back in the forest, mountains or anywhere else. Observing the boot from close up, I get the impression that half of the wax I’ve applied here on the tip stayed on the surface. It may be caused by the fact that the boot is pretty old, has absorbed a lot, and is already impregnated pretty well – there’s quite a lot of wax inside. It is also possible that I haven’t warmed it up enough. I can do it once more. OK. In fact, the most important word regarding impregnation is ‘layer’. We don’t impregnate once, but several times. It’s completely up to us how many layers we’ll apply. What we apply in between the layers is debatable as well. I generally impregnate a warmed up boot by applying one layer, just as do it now – I apply the first layer of wax. The wax gets absorbed really nicely. Obviously the wax disappears inside. I usually apply four to five layers and additionally shoe polish in between them. So it goes like this: one layer of wax, one layer of shoe polish, one layer of wax and so on. Of course, it helps to do it at intervals, to give one layer at least an hour to dry. Some people think that the safest way is to wait at least 12 hours before next waxing. Obviously not everyone has time to work on a pair of boots for three days. Of course you can do it for the whole family at once, then your wife doesn’t cry that it stinks. And it does! It should be done in a well ventilated room or even outdoors, like in my case. That’s it. This is the first layer.