How To Maintain And Waterproof Motorcycle Boots
How do you waterproof motorcycle boots? The same way you waterproof and maintain any quality leather footwear.
After all, your motorcycle boots are going to be subject to dust, dirt, debris, and also water and so on from the road. By putting a little effort in maintaining them and keeping them waterproof, you'll keep them in good working order for years to come.
If you invest in a quality pair, you might start wearing them even when you aren't riding!
We've covered boot care before, but let's go over how to maintain motorcycle boots.
Oh and by the way...this is also how you maintain riding leathers as well. If you wear chaps and a leather jacket, you need to know this for maintaining those as well.
Before You Waterproof Motorcycle Boots, Clean Them
To start with, your motorcycle boots have to be clean and dry. It is also important that they be broken in BEFORE applying a waterproofing treatment.
Make sure to clean off any dirt or dust off. If you must use a cleaning product, you can use a damp cloth though for best results you'll want to use saddle soap. Saddle soap is a cleaning product for leather, which cleans but also nourishes leather so that it stays supple. Allow your boots to completely dry.
Now you're ready to begin the waterproofing treatment.
How To Waterproof Motorcycle Boots For Best Results
For best results, you'll want to use a three-step process to waterproof leather motorcycle boots. You need to seal the welt, condition and then waterproof the boots themselves.
To seal the welt, apply a seam sealer compound around the welt. It's a silicone compound, much like silicon glue. Run a small bead around the welt, then smear into the welt and stitching with a clean cloth and wipe away the excess. A good uniform coating is what you need. Allow it to fully dry.
Before applying a waterproofing treatment, add some leather conditioner such as leather oil. What this does is hydrates the leather, keeping it supple, but also adds a layer of lipids (basically fats) that seals the pores. Leather oil provides light waterproofing, but not enough for the full desired effect.
Allow the oil to fully dry. The process may take a couple of days, so do this in your off season or when you know you won't be riding for a few days.
After the oil has dried, you then want to apply your waterproofing treatment such as leather grease as a preservative. It's best to use a natural product, as this will protect the leather and keep it in good condition.
Our leather grease, made for us by Obenauf - one of the most trusted names in leather protection - is a blend of beeswax, propolis and other natural oils, creating a barrier against moisture, some abrasion, chemicals and debris while still allowing the leather to breathe. This is the optimal formula for protecting and preserving leather.
You don't need to apply a lot, just create a film on the surface. You can apply with a fingertip or use a clean, lint free cloth. Rub it in with a circular motion, creating a uniform coat across the leather of the boot. Make sure that the areas of the boot that flex with motion get a good amount, as well as any stitching.
You can use other products, of course; SnowSeal and other waxes are out there and do work for sealing, protecting and nourishing leather. However, you want to avoid any products that have preservatives or other synthetic additives that can prove harmful.
Waterproofing treatments should coat the surface of your boots, creating essentially a fatty layer between the leather and the elements. Think of like sealing cooked meats in clarified butter; the fatty layer keeps harmful chemicals from penetrating your boots and also protects them from mild abrasion.
The other beneficial effect is that a natural leather preservative acts like lotion on skin, keeping it hydrated and supple as well as strong. After all, leather IS skin! Dry leather gets brittle, so a treatment of this sort keeps your boots from drying out and cracking.
Maintaining Your Leather Motorcycle Boots
Typically, you'll want to clean your leather motorcycle boots periodically to ensure they stay in good condition. You can spot clean, but for boots that are obviously filthy, use saddle soap.
After wiping away the soap, add your leather preservative as normal. Wipe on a good uniform coat.
The good news is that you won't need to repeat the full treatment. The goal with waterproofing is to create a foundation that you can maintain so you don't have to. After you've gotten your boots waterproofed initially, you can just repeat the treatment to keep up the protective layer.
What you want to look for is the appearance of any scuff marks or if the leather starts to feel a little dry to the touch. At that point, it's time to apply your preservative treatment again, and allow to dry.
Once you get a good treatment on the first time, it's really just a matter of applying a bit more preservative as needed. That will keep your boots resistant to water, debris as well as conditioned so the leather will last.