Table of Contents
- What causes ski boots to wear out fast?
- Maintaining and storing your boots during winter
- Guidelines for cleaning, drying, and storing your boots off-season
- Which boot drying options are out there?
- Getting rid of bad odor
- Some quick handy boot cleaning and drying tips
Skiing is but for a season. Once the season is over, it is time to store away your gear and wait for the next. This calls for proper maintenance and storage of your boots both in season and offseason. Otherwise, you may find yourself investing in boots every other winter just because you didn’t accord them the proper care that they deserved in order to serve you longer.
What causes ski boots to wear out fast?
- Drying boot liners (especially the heat molded liners) under direct sunlight or exposing them to direct heat to dry. This is likely to degrade their material. In addition, a well packed out boot may shrink and not fit you well the next time you will be putting it on.
- Storing your boots away before they are completely dry. This causes the growth of mold and mildew as well as bad odor which eventually destroys your boots.
- Storing your boots while unbuckled and unstrapped. This makes them lose form so that when you will be using them next they will not fit you as well as they did initially.
Maintaining and storing your boots during winter
Taking care of your boots should be an in-season-off-season affair. This is the only sure way of keeping them in a good condition for a long time to come. Ideally, you only need to replace your boots when it’s time to size up!
Here is how to dry and store your boots throughout the winter season, when you will be needing them more often.
After every skiing session,
- Take off your boots
- Take out the liner and/or footbed. If your liner is not the removable type, crush an old newspaper page into a softball and stuff it inside the toe-box of each boot. This paper will absorb moisture leaving your boot dry and free from bad odor. Remember that moisture combined with heat with time not only encourages the growth of mold but also creates a bad odor.
- Using a damp cloth, wipe the outside of your boots clean and leave them out to dry. For the boot areas that the cloth will not clean well, a toothbrush can be more helpful.
- A boot dryer will come in handy if your boots are too wet yet you need them dry within a short time. Ensure that you give them ample time to dry completely before storing them.
- Once dry, put back the liners and store in a cool, dark, and dry place, ready for your next session. A storage container is a no-no since it locks out all form of ventilation causing your boots to start producing a bad odor.
Guidelines for cleaning, drying, and storing your boots off-season
While storing and maintaining your ski and snowboard boots during winter is a simple drying, airing, and safe storage process, off-season maintenance could involve repairing and sometimes replacing lost or worn out parts. Here is how to clean, dry, and store your boots at the end of the winter season.
What will you need?
- Two pails of water, one with hot water mixed with mild detergent and the other with clean plain water
- A cleaning cloth
- Loosen your boot buckles and straps then widen the boot opening to take out your liner gently without forcing it out.
- Take out the boot liners from inside the boots, if the liners are the removable type.
- Wash them with cold soapy water using your hands, rinse them with clean water and then lay them out to dry.
- Note that washing your boot liners with warm or hot water as they will shrink or deform. When putting them out to dry, take care not to hang them under direct sunlight. It is also advisable not to put them near a source of heat to dry.
How to safely take outliners from boots?
- Place your boots on your thighs with the toe box pointing to the ground.
- Place your left hand on the back part of the shell and the right on to the liner inside the boot.
- Using the hand that is on the liner, force the liner out gently while holding on to the shell.
Putting the liner back inside the boot
- Unbuckle the shell of the boot and place it on a surface.
- Hold the shell of the boot with one hand and the heel of the liner with the other.
- Curve the liner upward a little to be able to slide it in easily.
- Push the liner back into the shell.
Intuition Liners – How to take care of them?
Intuition liners have become popular by the day. They are known to be lighter, warmer, more customizable, and offering a more excellent fit compared to ordinary boot liners. Intuition liners are made with a thermosensitive foam which when you step on for the first time, molds around the shape of your foot. A good thing with this liner is that it thins out around pressure points to give your feet ample comfortable space while remaining thick in the other areas to maximize foot support. Secondly, they keep your feet warm throughout.
- Intuition liners, like other liners, are removable therefore cleaning them should be easy.
- Simply add mild antibacterial soap in cold water and hand wash them without rubbing or kneading them.
- Rinse them off with cold water.
- Lay them out in a cool dry place, giving them ample time to dry out completely.
- Remember that since they are heat sensitive, they could easily be damaged by heat.
- Once dry, dust them with athletic foot powder to get rid of the odor (this is optional).
- Wash the shells of your boots both interior and exterior, with warm or hot water and soap.
- It is not a good idea to use solvents for cleaning your boots as they are known to be too harsh for the plastic shells of most boots.
- Once washed, rinse them thoroughly with clean water and lay them out under a shade and give them ample time to dry completely.
- Consider deodorizing your boots if you need to be 100% sure they will not be stinking when you take them out for use next winter.
- When it comes to storage, investing in a ski boot tree is one way of keeping its shape intact. If you have boot trees, place one inside each boot. Let the tongue of your boot lie out straight onto the boot tree and loose the buckles just a little to allow circulation of air and to prevent your boots from deforming. Remember they will be stored for quite a while before using them again.
- When storing, place each boot in a dry boot bag and store in a cool dry place until next winter.
- Consider storing your boots inside the closet or on the floor of your laundry room. Garages, attics, and other littered spaces are not the best for storing your boots, whether for a long period or for a short one.
Checking your boots for wear and tear before storage
- Check out your boots and its liners for any damage.
- Check the buckles and straps to ensure that they are in a good working condition. If not, replace any part that is lost or damaged.
- In addition, check the soles and the rest of the shell and make sure that they are in a good condition before storing them away. Soles, especially at the heel and toe area, can wear out after walking in your boots on hard surfaces like tarmac and grit. Most soles are easily replaceable therefore if you can do this before storing your boots the better. Also, consider purchasing sole protectors along with your new soles. This will give your soles a longer lifespan and a better grip on snow.
Which boot drying options are out there?
Hanging them on hot air racks
Hot air racks are typically commercial which means you will be drying your boots alongside many other pairs. Bearing this in mind, be sure to first remove all the trapped snow from your boots before setting them to dry. If everyone using the rack does this, snow will not melt into others’ boots. Secondly, try placing your boots high with the toe bit facing up. This lets them dry well because warm air moves upwards. Lastly, don’t forget to turn on the heater as this is the source of the hot air that dries your boots.
Putting them near radiators or other sources of heat
Although not the perfect solution, radiators, fireplaces and other sources of heat can be used to dry boots. However, you need to be cautious as excessive heat will damage and deform both the shell and the boot liners. If using a radiator, ensure that you hang your liners on top and the shell at the side of the radiator.
Using a heated boot bag
Ideally, heated bags are designed to warm your boots before putting them on. In addition, these bags help to dry out the little moisture left in your boots leaving them completely dry. If you need a solution for a little dampness during spring, the heated boot bags will come as an excellent option. Like the boot dryers, the heated bags also need a power connection to operate.
Using boot dryers
Portable boot dryers are the most popular and most convenient drying option. These electric gadgets when connected to a power source, release warm or hot air from the base up the pipes and releases this through the air holes into the boots on the pipes. Compared to the natural sun-drying process, these gadgets take a much shorter time to dry your boots completely. They are pretty portable and can be used on demand anywhere. These dryers will keep your boots warm while others will kill bacteria and leave your boots sanitized and deodorized. There are many different boot dryers in the market, our boot dryers review and buyers guide will help you cut the chase and pick the best from the best.
Getting rid of bad odor
Humidity is the number one reason why boots stink and for as long as you wear your boots, the humidity will penetrate the fabric part of your boots which is why you take your time to dry them. Humidity breeds bacteria which breaks it down to produce an acidic foul-smelling substance.
Sometimes, washing and drying your boots is just not enough to get rid of the foul smell. Here are some quick remedies to boot odor
Baking soda is an alkaline base that’s good at absorbing bad odor. When the humidity in your boots is broken down by bacteria, it produces the bad odor that you smell which happens to be acidic. It takes an effective alkaline like baking soda to neutralize it. Sprinkle some baking soda in your boots and let it sit the entire night. Ensure that you remove the baking soda before putting on your boots.
Put your boots inside an airtight plastic bag and place them inside the freezer overnight. Bacteria do not survive in freezing temperatures so there will be no more bad odor production. However, if you will be wearing your boots and you need them warm, consider keeping them inside a boot heating bag or giving them ample time to warm after removing them from the freezer.
Vanilla extract will not only eliminate bad odor, but it will also leave a fresh smell inside your boots by morning. Drop a few drops in cotton and place the cotton inside your boots until morning. Never store your boots with the cotton inside.
An antimicrobial insert is a clinically proven method of getting rid of the bacteria that cause the bad smell.
Crush activated charcoal into small particles, place them in two separate bags and place them inside each of the boots for a night.
Some quick handy boot cleaning and drying tips
- As you head to the trails, it is a good idea to keep your boots inside your car rather than in the car trunk. This helps to keep them warm so that by the time you are putting them on, your feet also remain warm.
- When drying your boots, take out their liners to speed up the drying process and also let them dry effectively.
- Investing in a boot dryer is a good way of keeping your liner in a tip-top condition. This is because there will be no need to take it out to dry your boots, which is one of the main reasons why liners get damaged.
- The other reason why liners get damaged is when you put your boots on before they are completely dry. After every skiing session, make sure your boots along with the liners are dried thoroughly before your next session.
- Either use a boot dryer or dry your boots the slow natural way. Use of heaters or fires only goes to damage your liners.
- If drying your boots out in the sun, take out the liners. Liners never really dry well when left inside the boots. Eventually, they cause the shell of your boots to harden making them lose their original fit.
- Finally, buckle and strap up your boots before storing them to maintain the structure of its shell. If not, the shell is bound to get deformed and may not fit you as well when you wear them next.
Wearing clean warm and well-fitting boots to your skiing expedition set you up for a memorable experience on snow. Boots need to be accorded proper care to remain in good condition for a long period. Boot maintenance is important both in-season and off-season. Ski boots that are well taken care of will certainly take care of your feet throughout the season. Of importance is to follow the right procedures in taking care of your boots.