You’ve just purchased work boots that cost more than your saw pants do. You did it because you trust that they are your best bet to keep your feet safe at work. You chose the style and the cut out so carefully. You tell yourself that they will last you a long time, longer than those other boots you had….
But will they? You hope they will.
We can help with that!
We’ve heard feed back from our (mostly European) chainsaw protective boot suppliers. They tell us that North American customers file a much higher number of warranty claims than European customers do. The reason? Care! It turns out that in Europe, taking care of your footwear is considered standard. Footwear is something that needs to be cared for, cleaned, and looked after, just like any regular piece of equipment.
In fact, most of the footwear you purchase comes with care instructions stating exactly how to clean and store your boots/shoes/slippers… what have you.
We thought we would outline the steps required to keep your investment working for you for as long as possible.
The first and possibly the most crucial step in keeping your boots in good condition for a long time is boot selection. You need boots that are going to be appropriate for the type of work that you are going to be doing most often. Climbers may want something that tightens in the toe and is rubberized in parts of the boots they may be using to push up against the tree. Someone who frequently spurs their removals might look for a boot with a steel shank inside. A person primarily doing groundwork might want a boot with a strong, long wearing sole. A person who falls trees in wet climates may need a fully waterproof rubber boot. Many different styles of chainsaw boots exist, and each has been designed with someone’s occupation in mind.
Once you determine the best style of boot for you, you must ensure you find a boot that fits properly. Wearing boots that are either too tight or too large will result in stress being put on your boots in areas of the boot that aren’t intended to endure such stress. This will cause undue wear on your boot and undue stress on your feet!
When you aren’t wearing your boots, you’ll be storing them. It is important to keep them stored in a well ventilated, dry, clean area. Some manufacturers recommend storing the boot right back in its original packaging. While this is not necessarily always crucial it is good to conder that cardboard tends to breathe well and keeping them protected is a good idea as well. Keeping Extra silica packs (those things that come with everything you purchase) in your boot box will help absorb that extra bit of moisture odor.
Boots are worn on the feet and therefore tend to be the first part of our PPE to come into contact with dirt. Sometimes, a lot of dirt (mud, grass, dog poop, saw chips, barbeque sauce….). If dirt remains on leather or fabric for a long time, it can start to degrade the material. Think of how affective sticking a chainsaw into the dirt is for instantly dulling a chainsaw chain. Same concept! When dirt sits on the surface of your boot its tiny particles wear against the fabric of your boot working away little pieces of it one at a time. It’s important to periodically remove the dirt that accumulates on your boots in a gentle way. Some manufacturers recommend using a soft brush for this. Some recommend a dry or a wet cloth or rag. The important part is that you do not apply unnecessary force or abrasion and avoid any harsh chemicals that may damage the boot (no petrol, acids, solvents). Some manufacturers permit the use of commercially available disinfectants, but it is important to check your boots manual before you proceed.
Whether your boots are soaked through form the rain or just lightly damp from an in-depth cleaning (do not soak boots to clean them!) they will need to be dried from time to time. Boots should be dried in a cool, well-ventilated area, with the insole removed if possible. Drying boots next to a heat source, such as next to a wood stove or radiator, can cause the outer material to dry up and crack. It is a good idea to have 2 pairs of boots and alternate the ones you wear from day to day, to prevent them staying damp for long periods of time and give them time to dry naturally.
One idea, to help moisture escape the boot without force drying, is to stuff the boot with paper. The paper should help absorb the moisture from the boot. Moisture absorbers do exist for this purpose as well. This should reduce drying time somewhat in a pinch.
****SIP SEKO MOISTURE ABSORBERS****
For boots that are made with leather it is a good idea to use polish on the upper portion of the boot. While it is good practice to use polish on suede, it will affect the look and some users may not desire it. Polish will help the leather, which is essentially skin (sorry) to remain souple and flexible and reduces its likelihood to crack. It should offer some benefit in the form of mild water resistance as well. Obviously, this is a step that isn’t necessary for boots with a rubber outer.
There you have it. A (mostly) fully comprehensive guide to taking care of those precious chainsaw boots. We hope we help you keep them working for you a little longer. Don’t forget, as each boot is different, manufacturers recommendations vary slightly. It is important to get to know your boot!