Caring for nubuck boots
Hi there I have been stung with paying outrageous amounts for nubuck boots in the past. Im now buying boots 2nd-hand - that are in good condition. is there a tried and true way to care for nubuck boots? I have had a couple of pairs of Lowas and used their "very special" (ie: expensive and seemingly ineffective) "waterproofing" spray treatment - which instantly washed off when the boots were used again. In the end, I always end up with cracked uppers as nubuck seems impossible to care for (based on my standards anyway, and especially after trips involving a lot of river crossings....!) I know that you are not supposed to use snow-seal etc on this nubuck - however I dont really care about the manufacturers propaganda - it woudl be great to know if people have used snow-seal or another product sucessfully on nubuck boots in the past, and this has worked for them.
Currently use Lowa Renegades a good coat of Dubbin works wonders. After all Nubuck is simply leather thats been brushed to give it a fashionable finish. If you want to keep the finish then by all means fork out for the very latest of treatments and brushes to keep them looking like new. For practicality, waterproofing, and leather flexibility I have always used plain old Dubbin. Helps preserve the leather and its flexibility.
Cheers Frank - good to know. Yes, I cant there woudl be any seriosu trampers who care about how their boots "look?" "oh nooooooooooooooooooo, a stain on my boot - naughty cow-poo!" Practicality is what Im after. That sounds great.
Dubbin is made with animal fats whilst Sno seal is beeswax. Dubbin works fine. I used it as an old school solution. Theory has it though that it will aid in the greater liklihood of stitching rotting. My theory is that if you have boots that last up to ten years, then that may become a factor. Through frequent use i just can't get boots to last that long. I use Sno seal these days and have often applied it to all types of leather and canvas faces, including nubuck. All nubuck is, is leather split in half and brushed for the effect. It is usually only up to 2mm thick. It is on the market for the fashion conscious or the person wanting their boot for travel too. (meaning looking good). When you apply it to nubuck it simply provides the usual outside leather look you get in most boots. It definitely repels water. You'll never get it looking like nubuck again but come on you pansy, grow some.
Good to know aardvark - I still cant really see the supposed benefits of using nubuck on a lot of high-end tramping boots - surely it cant just be about "the look?" Is it also about weight benefits maybe also? After all, if you are paying about $700 for some Lowa Tibets, you assume that you are getting some rugged, fit for purpose boots.......
You still get good full grain leather in some boots. Like Scarpa Trek and the SLM3. These boots are usually waterproof enough to not need a membrane such as GTX. They generally employ a one piece leather and reduce stitching. The membranes are in boots that use multiple pieces of fabric and stitching OR thinner, lighter materials. eg nubuck There is always a model or two of boot within each brand which will mystify anyone wanting looking at it from a purely technical point of view. It may have features you don't see fitting with others. Like nubuck in a mountaineeering or serious trekking boot. Remember some people out there have a high disposable income. These companies making boots need to capture as much of the market as possible. It is up to the retailers to know their market and select the models they think they will sell within their area.
Just as long as they dont start using split leather in tramping boots. If you want a boot to last and dont mind breaking it in then full grain is the only option. Nubruck makes for a lighter boot and is softer. Should last well enough but easily damaged. I havnt had a great run from the stuff. Split is the piece they cut off from the nubruck which looks like a well worn bath towel. They then give it a coat of pvc to make it look nice. PVC relies on the reinforcing for strength but dont expect leather scrapings to provide it
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