Ensure Long-Lasting Footwear: Caring for your Duty Boots

 

Ensure Long-Lasting Footwear: Caring for your Duty Boots

    Police officers, EMTs, firefighters, and other public safety officers depend on their footwear every day to stand up to emergency situations and long shifts while remaining comfortable and durable. However, buying these boots is big investment as most quality options cost upwards of $100 dollars and often times more. To ensure that your investment lasts, it is essential to care for your boots and retain their original, polished shape and style for as long as possible. 

    One of the first steps to ensuring long-lasting boots is to wipe of dirt and grime on a daily basis. During tactical operations and work in rough terrain, your boots are sure to get dirty. Keep a rag or cloth handy to wipe off mud, dirt, and sand from your duty boots to keep these particles from entering the boot or harming the fabric. Following this routine every day is essential to ensuring the longest possible life and professional appearance from your boots. 

    For a deeper clean on the outer features of your boot, use products tailored to the material construction. For leather duty boots, use soft brush or sponge to remove all dirt and dust. Once your boots are fully dried out, use a cloth to apply a leather conditioner to the boot to replenish the natural oils that may have been lost due to water exposure or previous cleanings. To keep your footwear looking shiny and new, use a polish to shine your boots. When shining your duty boots, be sure to apply the polish in thin, even layers, allowing ample drying time in between coats. For tactical style boots, commonly made with suede, use a fine-bristled brush to remove dried mud and dirt from the boot. Use water or a gentle cleaner like dishwashing soap to remove any excess stains. 

    In addition to your boots getting dirty on the job, officers will often run into inclement weather conditions and other instances in which moisture will build up in the boot. One remedy for this is to look for insulated or waterproof boots with an interior membrane to block moisture from entering your boot while still allowing perspiration to vent out. Keeping moisture out will also ensure that bacteria does not grow inside the boot and create an odor. If your boots aren’t waterproof by design, be sure to leave them to dry after your daily wear or cleaning. Boots should be dried at room temperature, as direct sunlight or fire can severely damage the exterior of the boot. When exposed to high heat, leather boots can dry out and crack – be sure to use caution when drying leather boots and use a conditioner to replenish the material regularly. 

    The next step to ensuring long-lasting footwear is to break in your boots properly and maintain or replace your insoles. Durable footwear is inadequate if your boots don’t fit or result in pain or discomfort after wear. Look for boots with comfortable foam insoles and heel support that provide an instant broken-in feel.  To further break in your boots, wear them for short periods of time to allow the soles to mold to your feet and build up to everyday wear. For extra support, try adding specialized insoles as a replacement or addition to your boot’s existing insole. The new Firma-Tech insoles feature patented B.FAST, Bilateral Foot Alignment Suspension Technology, which allows your foot’s structures to align and move naturally. Additional insoles provide greater support and reduce impact on the body.              

    Don’t forget the small stuff! Your duty boots can falter due to broken zippers, frayed laces, or ripped seams. If you choose a duty boot with zippers, ensure that it is waterproof and durable in construction. For laced boots, remove the laces prior to cleaning or drying and use a cotton swab to clean the hard to reach eyelets along the boots. Our boots feature a unique BOA closure system which forgoes zippers and laces and is tightened using an outer dial. BOA is much more durable than traditional laces and does not create an entry point for water or mud to leak into the boot. Apart from the boot’s lacing system, it is important to care for the seams of the boot. Dirt can often build up in this area – use a cotton swab to properly clean and condition around the seams. 

    Regardless of the specific style or brand of boot that you choose, it is essential to properly care for and maintain your footwear to guarantee long-lasting wear. For officers who work in seasonal climates, it may be a worthwhile investment to purchase duty boots fit for the cold and snow, such as an insulated style, as well as a lightweight duty boot for warmer months. It is always a good idea to have a backup pair of duty boots or shoes if your budget permits. 

    Investing in a quality pair of tactical or duty boots is not always cheap - justify your investment by choosing a boot that is durable, functional, and comfortable that will perform for countless shifts with proper care and maintenance. 

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