A correct maintenance regimen will optimize the performance of your Zamberlan boots, especially in harsh, wet conditions. All elements of your Zamberlan boots require some care, monitoring, and maintenance, but the uppers merit special attention. Leather is used, at least in part, for the uppers of nearly our entire range of products, save the Alpine collection and some Speed Hiking products. Correct care of the leathers is of critical importance to the long-term performance of your boots. If you are in any doubt about how to best care for your Zamberlan footwear please consult your specialist retailer or contact Zamberlan USA at [email protected]
Preliminary Care: Cleaning & Drying
To begin, remove the laces and wash the boots under cold tap water, using a mild soap (not a detergent!) if you wish. Ensure that all debris is removed from the uppers and soles. Rinse the boots well, especially if they have been exposed to peat, as its acidity can be particularly destructive.
Remove the footbeds and leave everything to dry slowly and thoroughly in a cool to warm, well-ventilated area. If the boots are very wet it may be advisable to stuff each boot with newspaper during the drying process, replacing as required. Be sure NOT to attempt to accelerate the drying process by placing the boots near direct heat sources such as fires, radiators, fan heaters or boilers, as this will cause cracking and/or shrinkage of the leather and may seriously damage the bonding compounds used in the construction of the boot. Again, NO HEAT!
Uppers: Proofing & Conditioning
Appropriate proofing and conditioning vary according to the materials used for the uppers of your boots, but in every case, its main function is to feed the leather with the correct degree of support and suppleness, as well as to maximize its water resistance. For boots with composite leather/fabric uppers, the treatment will also help maintain the water resistance and repellency of the fabric sections.
How often treatment will be required depends upon, amongst other things, the terrain and conditions in which the boots are used and the frequency of their use. As a general guide, it is better that you proof and condition the boots on the 'little and often' principle, rather than applying excess quantities of treatment on an infrequent basis. Before long periods of storage, treatment should be applied, as significant drying may occur if left untreated.
Please note, if you decide to use treatments other than Zamberlan Hydrobloc leather treatments, they should meet the requirements in place for Gore-Tex (if applicable). This means no silicone-based treatments or any treatment that will (a) clog the pores of the Gore-Tex membranes, or (b) block the leathers natural ability to breathe. There are several providers in the market that make excellent products. Please contact [email protected] for further information.
Full Grain Leather:
When the uppers are fully dry, apply Zamberlan Hydrobloc Cream sparingly; use a soft brush to apply the treatment, working it thoroughly into the leather. Leave to cure overnight before use, after which you may wish to buff your boots to a shine as excess surface proofing will attract particles of grit or sand that can abrade the leather when the boot is flexed. We recommend that you test the product on a small area initially, as darkening of the leather may occur.
Nubuck Leather, Crosta Leather, Nubuck Leather/Fabric, Split Leather/Fabric:
Zamberlan Hydrobloc conditioning spray should be applied when the boots are dry and clean. Shake the container well and apply 2 coats of conditioner to the whole of the upper (including the fabric sections where present) from a distance of approximately 20 cm, allowing 5 minutes between coats (to let the conditioner soak in). Wipe any excess conditioner from soles and the sole/upper junction, and leave to dry overnight before use. We recommend that you test the product on a small area initially, as darkening of the leather may occur after application.
Linings-Care, Proofing, and Conditioning
Zamberlan boots may be lined with Cambrelle, Gore-Tex, leather, mesh or a combination of these materials.
Man Made Linings:
These do not require special care; they simply need to be allowed to dry naturally and thoroughly after use and cleaned with a warm damp cloth from time to time.
Leather linings do however need to be regularly cared for to maintain their performance. Whilst offering superb comfort, leather can become damaged, dried and cracked by the acidity of the feet's perspiration. For this reason, you should regularly clean the leather linings with a warm damp cloth, allow to thoroughly dry, and then apply a thin coat Hydrobloc Proofing Cream or Hydrobloc Conditioning Spray which will feed the leather, keeping it soft and supple.
Soles: Inspection, Care & Resoling
The soles do not generally require any special attention, but it is good practice to regularly inspect them for wear and general condition. Pay particular attention to any stones which might have become lodged in the sole, removing them carefully prior to subsequent use. Failure to do so may result in damage to the sole unit.
Check the depth of tread from time to time, as security and safety may be compromised by a significantly worn sole. Most Zamberlan boots are able to be resoled by specialist cobblers. If your Zamberlan boot was Made in Italy, it can always be resoled. You can see a list of Zamberlan USA-approved cobblers on our website in the Help Center.
Laces and Footbeds: Inspection, Care & Replacement
Laces will normally offer a fairly long service life, but cannot be expected to last indefinitely. Check regularly for signs of wear, replacing with genuine Zamberlan laces as and when necessary. After-market laces can also be used so long as they meet Gore-Tex requirements for moisture wicking and are considered suitable for the stresses of outdoor use. It is a sensible precaution to carry a spare set at all times, especially when walking in remote areas.
The anatomic footbeds supplied with your boots should be regularly cleaned and replaced from time to time with genuine Zamberlan footbeds. If you use your boots regularly you should consider replacement every six to twelve months. There are suitable after-market footbeds also available at specialist retailers around the country.
See more on caring for Gore-Tex lined boots from our other knowledge base article on the subject here.