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Photo by Mark Newton, Mexican camping

I haven't been everywhere...
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Photo by Mark Newton,
Camping in the Mexican desert




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  #1  
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How to take care of leather motorcycle boots with waterproof membrane

I have a pair of TCX Explorer 4 Goretex boots made of microfibre construction and after 8 tours all over South East Asia, the boot is NO more waterproof.
After every tour I have cleaned the boots with Nikwax Footwear Cleaning Gel followed by Nikwax Fabric & Leather Proof DWR.
So, I reckon it is time for a new pair of boots.

I ordered the Forma Terra Evo low boots and it has full grain leather with Forma's own waterproof membrane.
I chose leather over microfibre construction as I think leather is more durable.

I've been reading on the best regime to take care of the full grain leather boots with waterproof membrane.

Please share with me your experiences on maintaining our leather boots with waterproof membrane.

New boots - upon receiving
#1 Nikwax Conditioner for Leather
#2 Nikwax Fabric & Leather Proof or Revivex Leather Water Repellent

When boots are dirty and needs to be cleaned
#1 Nikwax Footwear Cleaning Gel or Revivex Boot + Shoe Cleaner
#2 Nikwax Conditioner for Leather
#3 Nikwax Fabric & Leather Proof or Revivex Leather Water Repellent


I found this as a reference.
https://www.formaboots.com.au/pages/about-us
https://www.redsmartie.com/2019/01/f...d-maintenance/

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What you described is a very nice regime for taking care of the outside layer of the boots - and it should make that layer stay good-looking and mostly rainproof for a long time.

What it does NOT do is anything for the inner Goretex membrane, which is inside the boot, between the liner and the outside, and no product that you put on the outside will make a difference.

From my experience and understanding, the Goretex layer rarely deteriorates as a material - most of the time these membranes (of any brand) lose efficiency because the seams come apart, and water seeps in between them. That and the sole wearing out to the point of holes... The only solution at that point is pretty much to have a cobbler take the boot entirely apart and rebuild it. Which is supposedly the Goretex factory support thing - but in practice, you'll just get new boots.

Obviously, keeping the outer layer reasonably waterproof will reduce the chance of water reaching the membrane, but none of those outside wax treatments will affect the ability to stand in a flowing river with water not quite reaching the gaiter level, and walk out with dry socks.

This is a photo of my Dainese Fulcrum GTX boots from 2018, and they're already a few years old here. Six years later, the gaiters are still waterproof, even though the outer leather is beat to crap. You either get lucky with your GTX layer or you don't.
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Informative reply.

I would agree with you. My TCX EXplorer 4 Goretex is leaking from the sole. After I returned from my recent tour of Thailand, I cleaned the boots as usual and let it dry.

I then filled bucket with water up to 50mm/2 inches. I removed the insole and stuffed tissue paper in the boot. I then put the boot in the pail for 30 seconds.
Left boot pass.
Then repeat the same for the right boot. FAIL. The sole was wet in just 30 seconds.

I knew there and then I needed a new pair of boots. Only 2 years service but been through a lot with 8 tours and each tour lasting 4 weeks minimum.
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Agree with AnTyx. You can look after the leather all you like but if the Goretex liner develops leaks that's game over man. It's a thin membrane that's stitched together then the seams are sealed with tape. Flex and stretch it enough and the seams will pull or the tape will loosen.
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Waterproof socks are easier to change, boots with drain holes dry out much faster. There's more than one way to skin a cat!
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Waterproof socks seems like a good idea if the WP membrane fails.

Any particular brand of WP socks come to mind?

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I'm confused about the whole premise here--that it's necessarily the goretex which makes leather boots waterproof.

In the olden days, like the 1970s before goretex hit the market--not so long ago, really--I had mountaineering boots made entirely of leather, and they were resoundingly waterproof. I treated them with Sno-Seal periodically, but aside from that I used them harshly.

In the 1990s--that's 20 years later--I bought plastic-shelled mountaineering boots and put the old leather ones on the shelf, where they still sit. I'd bet that they're still as waterproof as the day I bought them.

In the meantime, I've given up mountaineering while owning a series of light hikers, trail runners, walking shoes, and an occasional pair of lightweight backpacking boots. Most of these have goretex or similar membranes, and most leak after a brief period of total waterproofness.

So....what's with big, rough, tough motorcycling boots? Are they really just lightweight running shoes in disguise? Is there a compelling reason to rely on a fragile goretex membrane rather than a leather shell to keep water out? No one's going to convince me that this enhances "breathability" in heavyweight boots, since in that sort of application any breathability is almost entirely a fantasy.

Awaiting enlightenment, if you've got some to spare.

Mark
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 9w6vx View Post
Waterproof socks seems like a good idea if the WP membrane fails.

Any particular brand of WP socks come to mind?

Sealskinz are often mentioned but I'm sure there are other brands. I've tried them and didn't get on with them. They're quite thick which affects the fit of your boots. When you fill your boots your feet can't pass water vapour so you get wet feet from sweat instead of water, and I've found they're susceptible to loss of waterproofing anyway when you wash them.

Quote:
Originally Posted by markharf View Post
what's with big, rough, tough motorcycling boots? Are they really just lightweight running shoes in disguise? Is there a compelling reason to rely on a fragile goretex membrane rather than a leather shell to keep water out?

Mark
Ruggedness and waterproofing are different things. I had some MX boots that you could park a jumbo jet on, but show them a puddle and you're squelching the rest of the day. It really is the membrane that keeps the water out, same as a Gore-Tex lined jacket. But you have to bear in mind if you were riding in a plastic bag it wouldn't be long before you felt damp from sweat - this is why it feels like you have a damp crotch riding in the rain in Gore-Tex... the water stops the membrane from breathing, even if the water itself can't get past. But you dry out as soon as the top layer dries out and the Gore-Tex starts to breathe again. Same with boots, they may look sturdy but they do breathe. I did 300 kms in torrential rain earlier this year between Kassel (Germany) and the Channel Tunnel. My excellent Gore-Tex Klim suit stayed dry (except for a bit of zip leakage) but my Gore-Tex Alt-Berg boots stayed 100% dry all the way despite looking like low-tech lace-up affairs.
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Mark,
I am no boot expert/guru.

Yeah, I got really annoyed that the TCX with Goretex failed miserably after 2 years plus. My feet were wet many times at Thailand during my recent tour as I entered Thailand just as the raining season started!
And the moment I stopped to put on my rain jacket/rain pants I knew my feet would get wet!



And that was the time I wished I was riding a scooter like the Yamaha Nmax 155. Scooters have floor board so your boots are actually protected from the front tyre water spray.
I have a suspicion that my boots failed earlier but I did not realize as my tour before Thailand was Sumatra, Indonesia where I rented a Nmax scooter for 4 weeks.
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Tomkat,
Could you tell me the exact model of your Altberg boots? Just curious.
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I'm aware of all the variables in materials and construction, including coatings and laminates, and I know all about so-called waterproof/breathable theory. There are a few problems with that theory, even aside from the fact that for most people goretex and similar laminates just don't stay intact, therefore don't work, for very long.

For starters, the degree of "breathing" that a boot actually does once its outside surface gets wetted out or dirty is quite minimal. That means when it's raining and the outside of your boot is wet, it's not breathing. When your boot has been dirtied and sweated in for a bit it's not breathing (because the goretex has pores designed to let water vapor out, and they get clogged). For another thing, coatings and laminates like goretex don't breath sufficiently to let all the sweat out anyway--or at least, not all of MY sweat, which I generate in considerable amounts.

In boots and clothing alike, most of the waterproofing qualities AND the breathability are actually carried by design details and the surface water-repellency (a.k.a. DWR), NOT the laminate. That's why WL Gore & Associates always insisted on tight control over design and construction details for garments which used their proprietary membranes.

But ok, I digress. The point is that there are several ways to make boots waterproof: there are goretex-like membranes which work well for a while until they don't, but there is also the option of a waterproof outer, like my climbing boots. A well-made leather boot can be waterproofed on its outside surface fairly easily as long as the detailing is adequate to shed water and rugged enough so that it doesn't fall apart--seams don't separate, soles don't delaminate, etc. No need for goretex at all, which was my original point. Yeah, your feet will sweat copiously and your socks will soon stink, but unless you're a lot more genteel than I am that's already happening, goretex or no goretex.

Of course, a boot which is designed for maximum breathability--no goretex, no attention to waterproofing details--is going to leak. You buy that boot because you don't care--or at least care about other stuff more.

In cold weather there's a case to be made for letting your feet get soaked in nice, warm sweat rather than an endless supply of ambient temperature rain or snow. That's why my climbing boots were fully waterproof--the alternative would have been frostbite, nerve damage, potential amputations, etc.

But if you're riding around with leaky boots and you're miserable, just pull a plastic bread bag over your feet before shoving them into your leaky boots. Your boots will keep leaking, but your feet will stay as dry (or wet) as your sweat makes them. As an alternative, buy some of those expensive goretex (or other "waterproof/breathable") socks, or even a pair of cheaper neoprene socks--same idea as the plastic bags, but harder on the wallet.

Edit to add: The whole waterproof/breathable thing has a lot of the qualities of religion--or these days, politics. Sorry I went on at such length, and happy to be wishing everyone gear choices which satisfy their needs!
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Anyway, back to maintaining your leather boots with a membrane
I have the Forma Terra Evo boots and I use saddle soap for keeping them cleaned (I use it on my gloves too). Then I use the Daytona neutral boot cream to keep them in good order

https://www.sportsbikeshop.co.uk/mot...nt_prod/515147

Wayne
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Mark,
Thanks for sharing your insights.


Lonerider aka Wayne,
I hear good things about the Daytona boot cream.

The TCX Explorer GTX is now relegated to fair weather riding only! But wait a minute, I don't even have a bike at home now!
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I missed out on quite a lot of the discussion, but wanted to confirm that my waterproof socks are army surplus sealskinz and they work very well.

I bought a pair of Alpinestars that are Gore-Tex lined last autumn, after having previously had a pair that stayed waterproof for 5 years (though I was only using them in winter for a total of maybe 30,000km of 80% road 20% off road). We'll see how they go.

The problem I have with any waterproof boots, gore-tex or otherwise, is that my feet still get too sweaty. That's why I drilled holes in my normal use offroad boots and switched to waterproof socks only when needed, so most of the time my feet come out at the end of the day not looking like jungle rot is imminent.
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wet foot

At the end off the day if you have gone through water or ridden in the rain for 8 hours or whatever your feet will be wet it doesn't matter what boot you have been wearing, your feet will sweat no mater what you wear.
wet weather and water over the top of the boot is definatly going to make your toes look like white Prunes
boots are all about preference like gloves and what ever you wear
Its like a moto Not one is made for everything you want to pursue but it will get you there
At the end of the day if my feet are soaked and I dump water out of my boots then it is time to put on sandals and go to the nearest store and buy baby Diapers and stuff them into your boots, they will absorb water and make the boots semi dry with in 8 hours. The best thing about diapers is that you can buy them almost any where on the planet except Antartica, But Argentina and Chile probably sell them they have had babies there
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