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Gore-Tex boots: How to Maintain the Leather?

Discussion in 'Wilderness & Survival Skills' started by Midnight Scout, Aug 21, 2009.

  1. Midnight Scout

    Midnight Scout

    May 27, 2007
    I have a pair of leather boots from Cabela's that have a Gore-Tex membrane in them. They are one of my favorite pairs of boots of all time.

    I recall that when I originally got them the maintenance instructions said to simply keep the leather clean so that the pores of the leather could breathe and therefore use the Gore-Tex most effectively. I have done that by occasionally using saddle soap on the leather.

    However, I usually like to put mink oil on leather so that it keeps the leather from cracking and keeps the leather soft. I imagine that oiling the leather on these boots will clog the pores and then the Gore-Tex will turn into a sheet of overly warm and useless plastic.

    Any ideas on maintaining leather for Gore-Tex lined boots?
  2. RickJ


    Mar 2, 2003
    Buy a can of Mink Oil, directions are on it but all you do is rub it on then with a clean dry rag rub it off. the Mink Oil will protect the leather and it will still allow the Gortex to breath so it will still work.



    Jan 26, 2009
    i use nik wax they have some stuff specifically for gore tex mink oil will soften the leather to much. you could also try looking at the danner web site they have stuff for thier gor tex boots the they recommend hope this helps
  4. DennisStrickland

    DennisStrickland Banned BANNED

    Jun 24, 2009
    you might try aloe vera gel works for my hair however call Cabelas and see if this is a viable solution R.E.I. co-op has some knowlegeble people.
  5. Millhouse


    Oct 14, 2006
    I have no idea what mink oil is (hey I'm from the UK).

    I would personally use a wax product specifically formulated for boots. Nikwax is good.

    If you are using a traditional wax product, I think you need to be careful as to how much you apply. You need to apply sparingly, just enough to nourish the leather. Too much and the boot becomes clogged with wax which will affect breathability of the boot.

    I would also advise applying the wax with a cloth rather than with your fingers. You don't want to overheat the wax as it will penetrate too deep into the boot. This will also affect breathability and may also soften the leather too much. I have Meindl boots, and this is what they recommend.

    If you are using Nikwax's Aqueous wax, apply this after cleaning the boot whilst it is still damp. Brush the stuff on, leave a couple of minutes and dry off with a cloth. Job done.
  6. baldtaco-II


    Feb 28, 2006
    Nikwax for me too.
  7. tenkara


    Apr 1, 2007
    Be careful about using any sort of oil based leather conditioner. It may work fine for taking care of the leather, but, if it soaks down into the membrane, it will clog the pores and ruin Gore-Tex. You need to get a conditioner specifically formulated to work on Gore membranes. Nik-Wax is a good choice. The other good choice is Revivex. I wouldn't trust anything else if I were you. Definitely stay away from Sno-Seal and Saddle Soap. Not only can they clog the pores of the membranes they also contain other chemicals that could potentially destroy the gore membrane and render the Gore-Tex membrane useless.

    I'm not just spouting off here. This is recommendation I have received from every shoe manufacturing representative that I have dealt with. Vasque, Asolo, Lowa, etc...

    Caveat Emptor,

    (I'm feeling dramatic today ;) ) Tenkara
  8. type00rev


    Sep 29, 2008
    I trust Nikwax....been using it for years. All my Goretex boots look great, and still breath very well. Just make sure you clean the boots and let them dry before application of the Nikwax. After applying it, let the boots cure for at least 24hrs. I use Nikwax on everything from Danner Matterhorns, Asolo GTX 520s, Tecnica Trekkings, Danskos, and Rockports.....basically all the leather boots/shoes I wear.....from the cheapest to most expensive.
  9. desmobob


    May 5, 2003
    I like Sno-Seal (beeswax/silicone). I've always used it on my Gore-Tex boots and other leather goods (including knife sheaths).

    It doesn't soften the leather and make your boots go limp like mink oil.

    Stay sharp,
  10. brians


    Apr 22, 2006

    I also have a pair of Cabela's Meindls that are my favorite boots. When I purchased them, I also asked and purchased some Obenauf's Heavy Duty LP leather protectant at their boot department. It allows the leather, and therefore the gore-tex, to breath. Bottle says "Gore-Tex Approved" and they have kept the leather supple, but strong. Here's their marketing copy:

    Obenauf's is a natural miracle protectant for leather and contains no harmful chemicals that can damage your leather. Natural oils are suspended in a Beeswax/Propolis formula. In the leather, these oils gradually seep out of the Beeswax/Propolis as a time release lubrication that restores fibers. If exposed to heat or constant flexing, the oils are released faster; so instead of getting parched, your leather gets oiled when and where it needs it most. Click here to browse our products and special offers, or read on to learn more.

    In addition to this remarkable "suspension release" quality, propolis also provides a durable barrier against chemicals and resists bacteria, mold, and mildew. Propolis is an anti-bacterial resin collected by honeybees to waterproof and disinfect their hives. This amazing, all natural substance repels water better and longer than regular water repellants. It even reinforces the surface of your boots against scuffing while still allowing the leather to breathe!


    Good reviews on Cabelas. I`m very pleased as well. Made in Idaho :)

    Last edited: Aug 22, 2009
  11. Midnight Scout

    Midnight Scout

    May 27, 2007
    Thanks everybody for the advice. I'll look for "Gore-Tex" approved leather products and use that on the leather. They are good boots and I want to make them last while I can.
  12. Quill


    Jun 10, 2002
    I like Dr. Jackson's Hide Rejuvenator.
  13. RickJ


    Mar 2, 2003
    I have been in the Army for over 17 years, most of that in the 10th MTN Div at Fort Drum NY, never had an issue with Mink Oil on our Gortex boots, spent more time in the rain and snow walking many, many miles than most and Mink oil kept my feet dry when most had wet socks from the rain or walking in the snow. Also, never had a pair of boots that I used Mink Oil on fail.

  14. Midnight Scout

    Midnight Scout

    May 27, 2007
    I am a big fan of mink oil, but I will try Obenauf's Leather Protector like Brians suggested. I'll pick up a can the next time I go to Cabela's. I'm up for trying something new.

    RickJ, I wonder if the mink oil on the leather of your boots kept the boots waterproofed even if the oils affected the Gore-Tex membrane. Meaning, mink oil is tops in my opinion for waterproofing boot leather, but it may have clogged up the Gore-Tex on your boots and it was not noticed since you still had a waterproof product on your boots.

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