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Leaky Boots - Why?

Leaky Boots - Why?

Leather is a naturally produced raw material, which is cut from what is naturally available. In order to keep the leather soft and supple, the leather is coated with waxing agents. A final water proofing treatment prevents water and dirt from permeating the leather. All of this happens in the tanning process and also in the manufacturing process at LOWA. The leather in a brand new shoe is therefore perfectly groomed and protected, and should only need a final impregnation before its first use.
These pictures help illustrate how lack of care can lead to shoes loosing their waterproof qualities: If leather shoes regularly come in contact with water, the wax coating, which helps keep the leather soft and supple, will eventually be “washed” away. It is a comparable situation to when we spend a long time in water (eg. In a swimming pool), and our skin also turns wrinkly. The natural reaction of our sebaceous glands is to replace the lost elements and restore a balance. We usually help this process by additional skin cream. Unfortunately, this kind of care is usually neglected when it comes to looking after leather hiking boots or shoes. Water washes away the care products, the leather dries out, becomes brittle and tears.
The leather also shrinks in the drying process and the shoe “turns upwards”. (Image 1).
Or the leather loses its original shape (Image 2).
Hard, dried out leather is no longer flexible and puts strain on the seams, which surround it, which leads to them ripping apart (Image 3).
Dried out leather is like a sponge. Any water, which comes into contact with the leather, will immediately be soaked up and the leather is saturated, rendering the breathing qualities of the leather and the lining useless. Impregnating the leather is therefore crucial in maintaining these qualities. Dried-out leather shrinks and reduces the actual volume inside the shoe.
As a result, the lining becomes chafed and wears through in the toe area (Image 4). Any leather shoe, which is not cared is guaranteed to become leaky. If additional in-lays, two pairs of socks or very thick socks are worn, then the lining and membrane in the toe box can also be worn through.

 
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