If you buy a pair of walking boots you can guarantee that they are going to get dirty. After all if they don’t you’re doing something wrong! So there are a number of products on the market that aim to clean up your footwear before reproofing.
Because modern boots tend to be of composite construction combining the properties of a number of different materials your cleaner has to be able to effectively remove dirt without damaging the shoe while not degrading any part of it. To this end Nikwax’s Footwear Cleaning Gel is designed to be suitable for leather, suede, nubuck and fabrics. More specifically NikWax say the gel is “recommended” for Gore-Tex, SympaTex and eVENT footwear.
NikWax Footwear Cleaning Gel comes in a plastic bottle with a pull-off cap. Underneath is a small foam pad with a scrubbing surface incorporated into it like a dish scourer. This held up cleaning two pairs of shoes, how durable it will be as we use more of the gel remains to be seen. To open the gell you press the foam pad down firmly on the footwear until you feel a pop as the seal on the top of the bottle is broken.
Having first washed off the worst of the mud from the shoes I applied the gel. I found that the product doesn’t flow easily unless you both squeeze the bottle and massage the foam pad onto the footwear at the same time. I’ll assume this is a feature to reduce wastage and spillage should the bottle get knocked over. Anyway, I massaged the gel over all external surfaces of the shoes – Gore-Tex, plastics and fabrics and left each one to soak in for a while. Then as soon as the fourth item was completed I rinsed off and gently rubbed with a nail brush to loosen any remaining grit in the nooks and crannies.
24 hours in a warm location saw the boots dry and I have to say the results were very good. One pair in particular that had been soaked in peaty water on a walk has returned to its original grey colour from the ruddy brown of the peat. A few marks remain but that’s due to them being really filthy and me perhaps not being as thorough as I could be.
NikWax Footwear Cleaning Gel Summary
The NikWax Footwear Cleaning Gel certainly does what it says on the bottle and is easy to use. A great product for sprucing up your hiking footwear.
Disclosure – This product was provided to us free of charge, Click here for more information about reviews