Global leader in safe, high performance waterproofing, cleaning and conditioning for outdoor gear


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Dear Professor Nikwax: How do I care for my footwear?

Dear Professor Nikwax,

My summer plans have me climbing several peaks, riding my bike along the California coast, and wearing my sandals to the Farmer’s Market. Of course I’ll also be logging a lot of time in the office. I’ve invested in some good shoes for the different sports, but I want to take care of them so they last through the season and beyond. Help!

-Wanderluster

…………………………………………………………………………………………..

Dear Wanderluster,

Your instincts are correct; even the highest-quality footwear needs regular cleaning and conditioning to last.

Congratulations on taking the time to learn about the best steps for caring for your kicks.

I’ve put together a handy chart to remind you about what to do for different shoes and when. Print it out and hang it in your gear closet!

Then, read on for a break down by sport.

Back_room_poster_footwearv4

Hiking/mountain climbing

As you know, stable boots or hiking shoes with lateral support, excellent tread, and waterproofing are priority number one when you’re heading to the high country.

Leather: Before you do anything, clean ‘em with Nikwax Footwear Cleaning Gel. This gets rid of the dirt and establishes a clean slate for the next step: waterproofing.

Are they pretty beat up? Treat them with Conditioner for Leather, which is absorbed into the leather and helps keep the material supple.

Then, even if your boots come with a waterproof membrane like Gore-Tex, waterproof them. We’ve got both a wax and liquid waterproofing product, and both can go directly onto wet leather. So sit down, clean, waterproof, and leave to dry.

Finally, send me a picture from one of the peaks you climb this summer.

Fabric and leather combo: Whether we’re talking about your ultra light trail runners or your low-top hiking shoes (which is what I use in all but the most epic mountaineering adventures), this leather and fabric combo needs to be cleaned with the Nikwax footwear cleaning gel and then treated with our Fabric & Leather Proof product. I guarantee this will add water repellency and keep your shoes in better condition, longer.

Biking

Until recently, I thought high-end, leather cycling shoes were the purview of professional cyclists. Then I got a pair. Wow. They’re comfortable, lightweight, and they make me feel powerful. I, like you, want to return the affection. So I use the same products on my leather biking shoes that I do for my leather hiking boots: clean, condition, waterproof.

Sandals

The worst thing about sandals is the stench. Sporty sandals with a rubber sole and technical fabric upper can collect stinky bacteria and, put simply, reek. Fortunately the Nikwax Sandal Wash deodorizes and sanitizes those bad boys.

Office/Daily wear

Are your office shoes nubuck or suede? Then treat them with the Nikwax Nubuck & Suede Proof waterproofing. Leather? See the instructions for leather footwear above.

I hope that answers your questions. Follow these tips and your shoes will last far beyond this summer.

Happy travels!

Best,

Professor Nikwax

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Nikwax on the Road from Cape Town to Paris with GlobeRiders

Helgeonbike

Nikwax ambassador, Helge Pedersen, is on yet another life list adventure. He’s currently motorcycle touring from Cape Town, South Africa, to Paris, France. Along for the 25,000-kilometer ride are three other riders, a supporting vehicle and several of GlobeRiders technical staff.

La Paz photo shoot and pelicansTo those who know Nikwax from the human-powered, outdoor adventure realm, our motorcycle contingent often comes as a surprise. We have a strong relationship with the motorcycling community; our cleaners and waterproofers are often key parts of their safety kit. Adventure riders wear durable fabric outerwear; apparel that can take a beating, keep riders warm and dry, and shed moisture in torrential downpours. That’s right—it’s not that different from your backcountry skiing kit.

Imagine heading out to play in the heat, the rain, the mud and the dust. Now imagine doing it at 70 mph. Your gear takes a beating.

In order for your gear to bear the burden as opposed to your skin, taking precautionary care of motorcycle outerwear is critical.  If not properly cleaned, dust and dirt can damage the fibers of technical outerwear. Sweat, dust and dirt can also mask the durable water repellent finish, causing garments to attract water rather than repel it.  We recommend cleaning with Tech Wash and using TX.Direct to add water-repellency (spray-on or wash-in, depending on the manufacturers washing instructions).

Currently the Globeriders team is nearing Kirundo, Burundi. The weather there may be warm, but there are rain showers in the forecast for the next week. We hope Helge and crew are staying as dry as possible on the road!

If you’d like to live vicariously through Helge, or if this GlobeRiders’ African odyssey spurs your own trip planning into high gear, follow their adventure on the GlobeRiders Live!Journal web page.


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Giving thanks to our gear

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We are gathered here today to give thanks to our gear, which cares for us through sleet and snow.

To you, dear mountaineering pants, thank you for no longer being woolen knickers. Sure, those trousers of yore had a certain panache, but why so stingy in the calf protection department? Calves need protection, too.

To you, sweet, sweet polypro:  We’ve had some touch-and-go moments with stink, but those are so far overshadowed by how you tenderly keep me dry even when I’m soaking you to the core. Pay no mind to the shade thrown at you by my old cotton T-shirts. They’ll learn to forgive… in time.

To you, my fat, semi-rockered skis, god bless. I used to fake my joy of skiing powder. I couldn’t get the balance right; I sat back; my thighs burned; my toes turned black. Then you entered my life in one, portly, waterski-like wave. You’ve taught me how to love again, fatties. You are my new truth.

To you, my itsy-bitsy bundle of feathered joy: my utmost gratitude. Dearest down vest, thank you. I used to run through down vests like a one legged man in an alligator swamp: fast and not looking back. Then I discovered I could wash down, and it was like the sun rose for the first time ever. Thank you for always bouncing back to your lofty and fluff-filled self.

To you, my new soft-as-a-baby’s butt Merino wool base layer: a hearty huzzah! I slighted your kind for years. Memories of scratchy, hot, heavy sweaters fueled my crusade against your goodness. Boy what a difference a century makes! You’re warm. You’re cool. You’re warm when I’m wet. I’m so happy you’ve got my back.

And last, but not least, to you: my beloved partners in crime, leather boots: my sincerest thanks. You’ve not changed much over the years, because you haven’t needed to. You were my first significant outdoor purchase. I knew that we could have a long, happy life together once you gave in a little, and I vowed to take good care of you. Season after season, year after year, together we’ve traveled untold miles of trails, mountains and deserts. Thank you for never changing. You’re living proof that the best gear can last a lifetime, with a little care and a lot of love.

Thank you for the adventures!  —Brook Sutton


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Dear Professor Nikwax: How do I care for my footwear?

Dear Professor Nikwax,

My summer plans have me climbing several peaks, riding my bike along the California coast, and wearing my sandals to the Farmer’s Market. Of course I’ll also be logging a lot of time in the office. I’ve invested in some good shoes for the different sports, but I want to take care of them so they last through the season and beyond. Help!

-Wanderluster

…………………………………………………………………………………………..

Dear Wanderluster,

Your instincts are correct; even the highest-quality footwear needs regular cleaning and conditioning to last.

Congratulations on taking the time to learn about the best steps for caring for your kicks.

I’ve put together a handy chart to remind you about what to do for different shoes and when. Print it out and hang it in your gear closet!

Then, read on for a break down by sport.

back_room_poster_4_2010.indd

Hiking/mountain climbing

As you know, stable boots or hiking shoes with lateral support, excellent tread, and waterproofing are priority number one when you’re heading to the high country.

Leather: Before you do anything, clean ‘em with Nikwax Footwear Cleaning Gel. This gets rid of the dirt and establishes a clean slate for the next step: waterproofing.

Are they pretty beat up? Treat them with Conditioner for Leather, which is absorbed into the leather and helps keep the material supple.

Then, even if your boots come with a waterproof membrane like Gore-Tex, waterproof them. We’ve got both a wax and liquid waterproofing product, and both can go directly onto wet leather. So sit down, clean, waterproof, and leave to dry.

Finally, send me a picture from one of the peaks you climb this summer.

Fabric and leather combo: Whether we’re talking about your ultra light trail runners or your low-top hiking shoes (which is what I use in all but the most epic mountaineering adventures), this leather and fabric combo needs to be cleaned with the Nikwax footwear cleaning gel and then treated with our Fabric & Leather Proof product. I guarantee this will add water repellency and keep your shoes in better condition, longer.

Biking

Until recently, I thought high-end, leather cycling shoes were the purview of professional cyclists. Then I got a pair. Wow. They’re comfortable, lightweight, and they make me feel powerful. I, like you, want to return the affection. So I use the same products on my leather biking shoes that I do for my leather hiking boots: clean, condition, waterproof.

Sandals

The worst thing about sandals is the stench. Sporty sandals with a rubber sole and technical fabric upper can collect stinky bacteria and, put simply, reek. Fortunately the Nikwax Sandal Wash deodorizes and sanitizes those bad boys.

Office/Daily wear

Are your office shoes nubuck or suede? Then treat them with the Nikwax Nubuck & Suede Proof waterproofing. Leather? See the instructions for leather footwear above.

I hope that answers your questions. Follow these tips and your shoes will last far beyond this summer.

Happy travels!

Best,

Professor Nikwax


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A Four-Stage Plan for Preventing Cold Hands

NW_GloveCareHow can we put this delicately? Cold hands suck.

If our subjective analysis isn’t persuasive enough, check out the medical proof. The ulnar and radial arteries deliver warmed blood to the hands. As ambient temperature drops, vessels constrict and blood flow slows overall. With less blood going to the extremities, they get cold. That is uncomfortable.

If you’re a woman or an athlete, there’s a good chance you may already have lower blood pressure than other folks. If that’s the case, your body auto-corrects in cold temps and directs blood flow to the heart and away from your fingers and tootsies. Warm heart, cold hands.

That doesn’t mean you’re doomed to suffer through frigid extremities. With a little groundwork to find the right mitts and some consistent TLC throughout said mitt’s lifetime, you can keep your digits warm. Warm fingers, happy heart.

Stage 1: Preparation. Armed with medical proof and forgoing the option of eating a bacon-only diet to raise your blood pressure, stage one is simple. Buy good gloves. That means you should not skimp. That means plunking down at least a C-note on the right gloves.

This might seem extreme, but good gloves incorporate high-tech materials, innovative water-proofing, and superior insulation. This matters because if there is anything we can say with more certainty than “cold hands suck,” it’s that wet gloves are a direct route to miserably cold hands.

Stage 2: Proof. After plunking down a small fortune on quality gloves, the next logical step is to make your investment last. It’s not just an investment in sweet gear; it’s an investment in comfort, well-being and the ability to stay out longer and play harder.

We recommend adding your own waterproofing regimen at home using the Nikwax Glove Proof or Waterproofing Wax for Leather.

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Black Diamond Kingpin Glove

Stage 3: Play. If this isn’t self-explanatory, please step outside for inspiration.

Stage 4: Prolong. Add years to your mitts (and warmth to your hands) with some easy care tips.

  • After every use, allow them to thoroughly dry in the open air. Don’t overdo the heat (a.k.a. blast them with a hair dryer) if they’re leather.
  • Apply waterproofing as frequently as your climate demands.
  • Before storing for the summer, take a close look. Do you need to clean or condition the leather? While ski gloves rarely need an intense cleaning, some gloves for motorcycles and other activities will highly benefit. Add a deep waterproofing treatment and allow to dry. If possible, store flat without squishing.

Bonus: Daily Tips for Warm Hands

  • When you know you’re looking at a cold day of Arctic proportions, start out with portable hand warmers. The best strategy is to never let yourself get cold in the first place. Warmers keep the edge off.
  • Manage sweat. Nikwax will keep the elements from getting in, but you’re on your own when mitigating sweaty paws. Take gloves off whenever you have a moment to cool and dry hands.


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Misadventures in Winter Golfing

In 2010 I made a deal with my husband that I would take golf lessons for one month. If I liked it, great! I would buy clubs and take up the sport at a leisurely pace. If I hated it, he would have to leave me alone and never say another word about it. Well, as it turned out, I was halfway decent and with a little coaching and practice, I would probably break 100.

Going to the driving range was a blast. It was covered and in a heated facility. I didn’t have to be wet, or cold, and I didn’t have to walk anywhere. I didn’t even think about what I needed to wear. Fast-forward to Super Bowl Sunday, 2011: My first day of “winter” golf. It was to become the worst day of golf that I have ever had.

The Pacific Northwest is notorious for its copious amounts of rain and overcast winter weather. Having said that, it does not stop people from golfing in the winter because the golf courses in the PNW are open all year around. This is precisely why I found myself golfing on Super bowl Sunday. When I got dressed that morning, I thought I was being sensible for the rainy weather. I dressed in layers, wearing my Patagonia capilene, a Helly Hansen waterproof softshell, regular khaki pants, wool socks and leather tennis shoes. However, by hole number 3, I was starting to get concerned.

golf1

It wasn’t long before my softshell was no longer repelling the rain and my shoes were starting to take on water.  By hole 9, I was MISERABLE and screaming at my husband. I was having a hard time focusing and my swing was suffering. I was starting to get cold, my jacket was starting to stick to me, and my glove was wet. By hole 14, my pants were soaked up to my knees, my jacket was saturated, my shoes and socks were so soggy that I could barely walk, and I might as well have just thrown my leather glove away. I think I even started crying and may have attempted to murder my husband with my golf club. golf2I won’t reveal what I shot by the time the day was over. I had a total meltdown and vowed never to be that wet and miserable on the golf course ever again.

golf3

After that disaster, I learned to be proactive. Now I make sure to wash my softshell in Tech Wash frequently. I treat it with Softshell proof when it starts showing the smallest sign of wetting out.  I purchased a sweet pair of saddle style golf shoes from Adidas and religiously clean them with Footwear Cleaning Gel and treat them with Waterproofing Wax for Leather. I have also treated my leather golf gloves with Waterproofing Wax for Leather and my fabric and leather gloves I treat with Glove Proof. My husband also has gotten into the habit of making sure all of his gear is cleaned and waterproofed, especially his shoes.

I haven’t been that wet and miserable since. I can happily say that I have not attempted to throw my clubs at my husband, or anyone else. I also have yet to break 100, which now I cannot blame on being wet and miserable.


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Summer Lovin’

Summer is coming! For some of us it’s coming quite quickly, for others it may seem like it’s taking its sweet time, but it is on its way. Be prepared for this lovely season by getting your gear ready. You don’t want to miss one sunny day!

To help you get your gear ready, here’s a checklist:

Get your summer gear ready for action!

1. Give your tent and pack(s) some loving! Set up your tent to air it out, and give it a good washing with Nikwax Tech Wash. Tents and packs need special care to help protect them against sun damage in the fairer months. Nikwax Tent and Gear Solarproof not only adds water-repellency, but also protects your gear against the sun’s damaging rays. Now available in a concentrated formula! (See how Tent & Gear Solarproof helps your gear improves the durability of your fabrics in this short video?)

2. Clean your summer bag! Did you remember to clean your bag before you put it away last fall? If not, think of all the dirt, sweat, and body oils that were left in there all winter (ewwww). Clean your bag with either Nikwax Tech Wash (synthetic fill bags) or Down Wash (down-filled bags) to remove any residual grime and to get your bag nice and fluffy again after its long winter’s nap. If you want to add some water-repellency to your bag (and who wouldn’t?), use Polar Proof for synthetic fill bags, and Down Proof for down-filled bags.

3. Put some zing back into your waterproof clothing! Just because summer is warm, doesn’t mean that being wet is any fun (unless you’re swimming). You want your waterproof clothes to be performing their best if you get caught up in a summer deluge. Use Tech Wash to clean any waterproof clothes and TX.Direct to add more water-repellency.

4. Make sure your summer footwear is ready for action! Give your summer hikers, trail runners, and warm weather stompers a seasonal spiff-up. Use Nikwax Footwear Cleaning Gel to remove any embedded dirt and make them sparkle. Then, if needed, add water-repellency with Nikwax footwear waterproofing products. Fabric & Leather Proof is perfect for all fabric and leather combo footwear. Nubuck & Suede Proof is fantastic for your textured leather kicks. Waterproofing Wax for Leather is just the thing for all smooth leather shoes.

Don’t forget! Make sure all your winter clothing and equipment is clean before you stow it. Putting your gear away dirty can seriously reduce the life of your gear.

All of these products are now available for sale on nikwax.com!*

*Sales on nikwax.com not available for Canadian customers at this time. Please use our dealer locator to find your nearest retailer.