I've been using Nikwax aqueous (the liquid version) on some new full leather boots, and whilst it seems to do a decent job, it does seem to lose its surface water repellency quite quickly, and the bottom inch or so of the boot leather seems to be wetting out even after a fairly short and low impact walk.

So, necessarily or not, I've decided to swap over to using the Scarpa HS12 silicone-based treatment. My question is, how much of a cleaning job do I need to do on the boots before using the HS12? Visually the boots look very clean (they are virtually new and have been washed off with water and a soft brush), but do I need to use something to remove the water-based Nikwax before using the HS12, or will the two types of wax be compatible? I would guess that going to a water-based wax AFTER using something silicone- or oil-based might be a problem, but maybe going from water- to silicone-based might be OK.

1 Answer 1


Anecdotally, clean and dry is enough. I've switched between Mink Oil, Sno Seal, Scotch Guard, and Kiwi a few times on my 80's Vasque Sundowners, and it's worked for me. I like the wax/oil based ones for leather conditioning on my old boots.

I think the silicone wets out and protects the areas that are un-protected by the previous sealer. You may get a color change at the interface between where one or the other sealer dominates, but if that would bother you, stick with the same treatment.

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    The colour change might be addressed by treating (all over) with the old treatment, cleaning well without soaking, then treating with the new. Or it might just make the new treatment not stick as well. Even if successful a repeat fairly soon might be a good idea
    – Chris H
    Nov 15, 2021 at 16:36

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