Use and
Care for your boots

learn how to get the most out of your boots

Read on for some tips on setting your boots up, good care habits and avoiding issues.

Socks and Boots work together as a System

Choose socks wisely

Learn about how to select the right socks for use in a proper technical boot.

Here's a list in priority order of tasks your socks have to perform

1- Moisture transport. Wick and transport your perspiration off the foot and out of the boot. Modern waterproof membranes transport vapour, not liquid water. So your body heat is needed to drive out the perspiration vapour. A thinner sock will perform this function better and one that has advertised moisture transport properties. Socks which keep the feet drier will be cooler in hot weather and warmer in cold weather.

2- Wear out. The sock must wear faster than the inside lining of the boot. It is much cheaper to replace socks than expensive boots. Socks must use soft outer fibres without abrasive qualities. Avoid harsh abrasive socks.

3- Insulate. If you operate in very cold conditions then you might choose a thicker, more insulating sock. Be sure to size up wearing this sock as it will change the fit and feel of your boots.

4- Comfort. Meindl boots are very comfortable. Your socks can help even further by fitting well, having flat seams and padding only where necessary. 

Lacing is a significant variable in correct boot fit and function

Lace up Properly

Learn how to customise your lacing to suit your boot fit and activity.

Just smash your foot in there right? Wrong.
Donning Boots

Get yourself in a comfortable seated position. 
1- Open up the laces fully and loosen them right off, slide the foot in.
2- HEEL SET: Now bang the heel down onto the floor shunting the heel fully into the back of the boot. This is the correct start position for the heel.
3- ANKLE SET: Set the angle of the ankle so that the rear inside cuff lightly touches the back of the calf. This puts the ankle/foot at 90 degrees. This is the correct starting angle before lacing up. 
4- Close the tongue and guide the storm gusset to sit flat, even and centrally.

Now you are ready to start lace up correctly.

Use these techniques to separate the boots lacing system into zones

Using zones allows you to create the right tension at the right place on the boot. Zoning and correct tension will increase the comfort of the boot by holding the heel and relieving pressure in other areas.

Below are three images of the lacing technique, showing the same thing from different angles.

Lace Locking and Zoning

Left view

1- Lace the instep zone for comfort. Too tight can cause cut off of the blood vessels and nerves in this area.
2- Lace around the top of this hook. This will lock the lace at this point. It prevents the tight tension of the heel zone spreading down.
3- In the heel zone, draw the lace tension as tight as possible whilst still comfortable. This tension locks the heel into the back of the boot and provides ankle support.
4- Lace around the top of this hook. This will lock the lace at this point. It prevents the tight tension of the heel zone spreading up.
5- On the tongue hook, go around it and double back. This locks this hook in position and prevents the tongue from working around the side of the boot.
6- Lace the shaft zone with tension appropriate for your needs. More tension creates more ankle support.

Right view

1- Lace the instep zone for comfort. Too tight can cause cut off of the blood vessels and nerves in this area.
2- Lace around the top of this hook. This will lock the lace at this point. It prevents the tight tension of the heel zone spreading down.
3- In the heel zone, draw the lace tension as tight as possible whilst still comfortable. This tension locks the heel into the back of the boot and provides ankle support.
4- Lace around the top of this hook. This will lock the lace at this point. It prevents the tight tension of the heel zone spreading up.
5- On the tongue hook, go around it and double back. This locks this hook in position and prevents the tongue from working around the side of the boot.
6- Lace the shaft zone with tension appropriate for your needs. More tension creates more ankle support.

Looking down on it

1- Lace the instep zone for comfort. Too tight can cause cut off of the blood vessels and nerves in this area.
2- Lace around the top of this hook. This will lock the lace at this point. It prevents the tight tension of the heel zone spreading down.
3- In the heel zone, draw the lace tension as tight as possible whilst still comfortable. This tension locks the heel into the back of the boot and provides ankle support.
4- Lace around the top of this hook. This will lock the lace at this point. It prevents the tight tension of the heel zone spreading up.
5- On the tongue hook, go around it and double back. This locks this hook in position and prevents the tongue from working around the side of the boot.
6- Lace the shaft zone with tension appropriate for your needs. More tension creates more ankle support.

You need the lace force to bare down on the instep and pull the heel into the rear of the boot.
Extra Heel locking force

Here's a view looking down on the boot. Put a twist here, as shown, to provide extra lace friction and force in towards the heel. Simply twist the laces together once or twice. Draw the tension really tight.

Lace Zoning for Terrain

Downhill

Downhill lacing is all about preventing injuries and securing the foot into the back of the boot. Lace a little tighter than normal across the instep. Lace very tight across the heel zone to lock the heel back. Lace very tight on the shaft to provide maximum ankle support.

Cross country

For undulating terrain you want to balance the lace tension with maximum comfort. Lace the instep for comfort. Lace the heel zone with enough tension to lock the heel. The shaft should be laced tight enough to secure the ankle from rolling.

Uphill

During uphill movement you'll want to relieve pressure on the shins but keep the feet secure in the boot. Across the instep lace for comfort. In the Heel zone use enough tension to secure the heel and prevent heel lift. Lace looser on the shaft zone; this allows the shin to flex forward with less restriction from the boot.

OPERATE EFFECTIVELY

Field Use and Care

Learn some tips to get the most out of your boots while in the field.

- Inspect your boots regularly for the condition of the leather, seams. sole and footbed.
- Don't let thoroughly wet leather dry out until you get some wax into it. After a thorough soaking, drying leather is prone to cracking and shrinking.
- Carry a wax mini with you. They are only 30gm. Apply wax to the focus areas shown below.
- Apply it while the leather is still damp. And apply it as often as you can.
- Avoid getting the boots totally saturated on the inside. Waterproof boots trap liquid water inside the boot and take a long time to dry leading to immersion foot and severe discomfort.
- In wet conditions, seal off the top of the boots by wearing gaiters. Gaiters should seal to the skin and contain the sock.
- Pants should be on the outside of the gaiter to shed off water.
- Change your socks frequently to dry the feet and boots after immersion.
- Consider having a spare set of footbeds available with you to swap out after immersion.
- Chemicals such as nitrates, dips, manure, pesticides/herbicides are all bad for boots. Rinse them off immediately.
- Do not dry your boots near a heat source (e.g. fire); it will end in tears. Just dry with ambient moving air.
- Boots which have been immersed can be drained overnight by sitting them upside down.
- Remove footbeds to let them air.
- Footbeds and socks can be dried out pretty effectively overnight by putting them between your thermal sleep matt and your bivy bag and sleeping on them.
- Medicated foot powders are useful for foot health on extended missions.
- Carry two different thickness socks so you can vary your fit during an extended mission.

You'll probably start wearing your boots everywhere everyday

Regular Care

They'll need a little TLC each night to put them to bed.

- Chemicals such as nitrates, dips, manure, pesticides/herbicides are all bad for boots. Rinse them off immediately.
- Inspect your boots to catch any small issues before they become worse.
- Open up laces and tongue gusset fully to allow boots to breathe and leather to dry.
- Remove footbeds and let them air out overnight.
- Get Sport Wax into the focus areas shown below if needed. Rub it into damp leather before it goes dry.
- Stuff paper into the boots if really damp. Push it in hard; right down into the toe box. This helps them keep shape while drying and reduces leather shrinkage.
- Our Vildona footbeds are washable, this will freshen them up. Replace them when they have gone hard from use.
- We don't recommend shoe driers that use heat. Room temperature air is fine.
- Do not dry your boots near a heat source (e.g. fire); it will end in tears. Just dry with ambient moving air.

After a more arduous mission you should give your boots some extra TLC.

Post Expedition Care

Follow these tips to get your boots ready for the next mission.

- Pull out laces and footbeds. 
- Wash exterior with a brush and warm water.
- Wash the inside with warm water. This is fine for waterproof boots.
- Let water drain out by sitting boots upside down for a few hours.
- Stuff the boots with newspaper, push it hard down into the toe box. Change it after a few hours to dry them faster. The hard stuffing helps maintain the leather shape as it dries.
- Apply Sport Wax to the leather before the leather is completely dry. Use the guidance below on where to focus the wax.
- Our Vildona footbeds are washable, this will freshen them up. Replace them when they have gone hard from use.
- We don't recommend shoe driers that use heat. Room temperature air is fine.
- Do not dry your boots near a heat source (e.g. fire); it will end in tears. Just dry with ambient moving air.
- Reinstall the laces and footbeds when they are dry.

IMPORTANT
Now wear the boots soon after this cleaning. The boot needs your walking motion to pump air through the upper layers. It also needs your walking motion to pump air through the sole unit. Damp sitting inside the sole unit will exacerbate Hydrolysis and lead to failures.

Keep wearing your boots regularly between missions. This keeps them healthy!

Sometimes you'll want to store your boots

Storage?

Nope. Don't store your boots. Wear them.

We advise against storing your boots for long periods.
We recommend wearing your boots often. More often the better and should be a few times per month.

Long term storage leads to two main problems:
1- Hydrolysis. This is failure of the sole material by chemical breakdown. It is exacerbated by storage when damp or in damp areas and also severely expedited by chemicals such as manures, pesticides, dips, fuels and herbicides. 
2- Leather deformation. As leather dries it tries to shrink. This changes the shape of the boot and becomes unsightly and uncomfortable.

We advise only short term storage between wearings and employ these tips below:

- Carry out cleaning, correct drying, leather care and wearing before putting them away.
- Don't store in the hot water cupboard. It will over-dry the leather.
- Store away from direct sunlight and heat for the same reason.
- Store in a dry area with air movement, not a damp static place.
- Consider using newspaper stuffed hard into the shoe to help keep it's shape.
- Consider using wooden shoe trees to keep their shape.

Most important: Take them out regularly and use them.

good leather needs to be fed
Wax focus areas

Here is the detail on where to focus the wax.

It is best to apply Sport Wax when the leather is still slightly damp, before it is totally dry.

Pay particular attention to these areas: 

1- Toe box. The toe box will take the brunt of wear and tear and water. Keep the leather healthy with copious use of wax.
2- Toe flex area
. Drive the wax deeply down into the leather here. Use copious amounts and rub it in to reduce the chance of leather cracking here. 
3- Rand / leather join. Keep the join supple with wax to reduce the chance of the rand being picked off.
4- All exposed seams. Dry seams are more susceptible to abrasion. Keep them waxed to protect them.
5- Archilles flex zone. Keep this area supple with wax to reduce the chance of leather cracking.

Wax is good to reduce corrosion on metal eyelets . Wax is also good on the tongue gusset to eliminate squeaks. Apply wax to the general upper and panels as required.

We recommend Meindl Sport Wax because we know it has the right ingredients to ensure our leather stays supple and strong.
Never use leather softeners, oils, dubbins, saddle oils or tanning oils on your boots. They will clog the leather, soften it, and destroy the support.