Suede military boots are breathable, lightweight and comfortable but they can be hard to clean and are susceptible to damage from wet weather if not properly protected and looked after. After a long day on duty or a yomp across Dartmoor, you may be tempted to simply slip off your boots and relax, but it’s crucial to give suede military boots at least a quick brush. In fact, if you want to get the very most out of them, we recommend treating suede LOWA Military Boots to an intensive clean at least twice a week with LOWA’s boot care accessories.
Suede is created from the underside of the leather hide and has a coarse, rough texture that is more prone to change than its full-grain counterparts. But don’t worry! We’ve caught up with a member of the Army to create an easy-to-follow guide for how to clean suede military boots.
Air Dry Daily
Suede boots like the LOWA Desert Elite Military Boots are made with Cordura materials resistant to damage from abrasions, tears and water alongside long-lasting split-leather suede. Although Lowa military boots are made to take a hit, it’s still important to air-dry your leather military boots daily, away from direct heat, such as radiators and natural sunlight. We recommend air-drying your boots for 24 hours after a trek. This step is a crucial starting point; if you leave your boots damp they could be susceptible to mould, roughness and even a change in shape.
Brush Away Debris & Dirt
Thanks to step one, your Military Suede Boots and any mud coating should be dry for easy removal of debris and dirt. Simply take your Lowa Triangular Boot Cleaning Brush or any hard-off suede brush to help gently remove stubborn soil without damaging the fabric.
Clean Mud Stains
If persistent mud stains are proving a challenge, we recommend using liquid or spray cleaner, such as the LOWA Shoe Clean Boot Cleaning Spray; unlike creams, sprays are less likely to clog up unique leathers. The LOWA Cleaning Spray offers two services: it dissolves soil and prevents your suede from drying out. The 90% natural origin spray relies on the cleaning power of bamboo extract for a protected and environmentally-friendly finish.
For those who don’t have a spray, you can mix ½ teaspoon of washing powder or dishwashing liquid with about 250ml of water (that’s 1 cup). Dampen a cloth with your mix, and wipe away any leftover stains. Revert to step one and leave to air-dry.
Top tip: Avoid using alcohol or oil-based cleansers; they may result in dryness and staining.
Wash Your Boot Laces
Next up, untie your laces and treat them to a dip in a mixture of hot water and washing up liquid for 15 - 30 minutes. Rinse, squeeze and repeat until your water runs clear before hanging up to dry; I’d recommend tying them together so you don't lose them.
Are your laces looking frayed and worse for wear? It may be time to breathe some new life into your Lowa military boots with a simple and affordable set of new laces.
Remove Scuff Marks
Back to your boots! There’s nothing worse than looking down to see a fresh scuff mark on your new suede boots. Luckily, one of the sides on the tri-function design of your Lowa triangular boot cleaning brush is an eraser that’s suitable for suede. Taking your eraser or suede stone gently rub back and forth until the scuff is gone. Ensure you don’t apply too much pressure or you could remove the surface.
Target Tough Oil Stains
Oil stains not only look bad but also cause the leather pores to close up. To tackle oil stains on your Lowa military boots, apply baking soda or baby powder and leave for 30-40 minutes to absorb the oil. Remove the powder with a soft brush (the rubber brush on your Lowa triangular brush will do) and repeat if necessary.
Spritz Up The Interior Of Your Boots
Step 7 of treating suede boots: the inside. Cleaning the inside of your boots will prevent unpleasant aromas and it’s also crucial to foot health. To spritz up the interior of your suede boots, take a damp cloth and low pH shampoo and wipe until any visible dirt or scent is gone. Follow with a dry cloth to soak up any moisture before leaving to air-dry overnight.
Top tip: apply an anti-fungal or deodorizing spray to the inside of your Lowa military boots each day to prevent the build-up of salts and acid from sweat, dead skin and odours.
Finish With Suede Protector
If you haven’t done so already, it’s important to waterproof your suede boots; water penetration can affect your boots’ ability to breathe, blocking the regulation of your foot’s temperature. The LOWA Water Stop Pro Spray Repellent is a quick and easy way to treat suede boots, the spray creates a water, oil and dirt-repellent barrier that still allows the circulation of airflow and is suitable on all leather types, including suede. For best results, spray from 20-25 cm and leave for 24 hours.
LOWA offers a range of leather military boots with suede uppers including the LOWA Zephyr Mid Boots –Desert, LOWA Desert Elite Boots – Coyote OP and LOWA Elite Jungle Desert Boots that require extra care to keep them effective and healthy. For tips and tricks on how to waterproof suede uppers, read our full guide.