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I have Lowa leather hiking boots with a rubber toe cap and sidewalls which I bought around 5 years ago. I've gotten great use out of them and the leather is still in great shape, but the rubber is starting to crumble.

It's basically very brittle and is slowly peeling away from the leather upper. As a work around, I've used an adhesive to coat the rubber and reattach it to the upper, but I'll need to buy new boots soon.

My question is how to postpone the rubber's degradation on my new boots. Since the rest of the boot is in great shape, if the rubber were not cracking, I could get another couple years out of the pair. What care tips can keep the rubber flexible and in good shape?

I've seen suggestions about using glycerine soap or silicon oil for boots with full rubber uppers. Would these products also work for my issues?

  • Yes, I was going to suggest the silicon. Basically the rubber is drying out. You need to re lubricate it. Your nearest outdoor shop might have something out of the shelf as well. – Desorder Sep 25 '16 at 21:06
  • If its degradation there's nothing that can be done. The rubber has a lesser life than in the old days due to the new ways they are processed, this catches glues too. Some boots can be renewed by a competent cobbler that can replace sole+midsole, rand etc. there are replacements but sometimes their cost can be too high for the boot. – Erik vanDoren Sep 26 '16 at 1:42
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Armoral for the rubber. It "helps renew and revitalize vinyl, rubber and plastic."

Armoral is a great rubber protectant. It even helps rubber that has started to dry out come back to life.

Also store the boots in a dark closet. Clean the boots after use.

But Armoral is not going to help the adhesive. That adhesive has about a 5 year life. Go with a heavy boot that has a replaceable sewn sole or a light weight boot that is going have a 5 or less year life.

What I do is use light boots for yard work and walking the dog so I make sure and wear them out.

For winter boots I just give them to my brother that drives a cement truck after three years and let him wear them out.

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