If you read our other blog post about some of the most under-appreciated gear that we use daily, then you know how much boots take a beating without a second thought. Our boots help keep our feet warm in the winter and keep our feet dry through the wet spring, and all we do is keep walking them through mud and whatever else nasty we come across daily! On top of that we wedge them into crotches that pull and prod at their soles, trying to tear them from the very foot bed that makes them comfortable! We figured if we were going to beat on the boots all day long, then we should write a blog post on caring for your boots as well!
Keep them Mud-Free
When it comes to caring for your boots, the first thing to keep in mind is that most have some sort of suede leather uppers that make the boot flexible, but also durable. This suede material takes an absolute beating day in and day out and it needs to last, so one of the best ways to do that is to keep it clean and flexible. If you are in some super deep mud that is sure to stick to your boots, take a soft bristled brush and get all that nastiness off the boot. After they are cleaned up, use a leather conditioner to help keep them pliable and bendable. The last thing you want is a crack in your leather, not only will the material degrade much faster, but it will also lose the ability to repel water! Coconut oil can also be used as a substitute for a leather conditioner if you don’t have any on-hand.
Keep them Dry
Another way of caring for your boots to keep them around for an extra season or so is to keep the insides dry. Even if you don’t work that hard your feet still sweat. So you can only imagine how much sweat our boots soak up with all the hard work that we put in by the end of the day. A good quality boot dryer can really help dry boots out overnight. One of my most hated things is having damp boots on a cold Michigan winter morning. You are guaranteed to have a miserable day! By drying your boots, you are giving them a chance to not get super stinky, as well as making your next day at work a much more enjoyable experience! If you don’t have a boot dryer, wadding up newspaper and sticking it inside is another great way to dry your boots out overnight. If you aren’t a paper reader, try putting your boots over a heat duct or in front of the fireplace for a great way to keep your toes warm and comfortable!
Protect them from Cuts
One thing that is sure to tear up your boots is your chainsaw! Obviously, the saw will cut your boot to pieces in a matter of nanoseconds but they are also great at cutting small gouges into the heels of your boots when the saw isn’t running. Many times, when the saw is hung from the back ring, it hangs low enough that the teeth tear into the heel when you step upward. An easy way around this is to change the way you hang your saw. One way is to hang the saw directly off the back of your harness. This allows the saw to hang more so off the center of your lower back instead of directly above your left or right boot, depending on which hip you hang your saw off of. Another way to hang your saw is Melbourne Style, or off the top handle. This works great with a long saw lanyard that can be girth-hitched around the top handle and then hung off an accessory carabiner on your hip. By hanging the saw off the top handle, it allows the bar of the saw to sit horizontally towards your back instead of vertically towards your feet. This will not only keep your boots in better shape but also make it easier to hang your saw or grab it when the time comes to make a cut!
Hopefully you picked up some great tips for caring for your boots to keep them in great shape, and maybe a new idea on how to hang your saw! Our boots are one of the most important pieces of gear we have on us and the right pair will surely keep us comfortable all year long. Be sure to take care of your boots so they can keep your feet feeling good, which in turn keeps our hips in place along with our backs! Everything is connected, and in tree work, it all starts at our feet!