I have a pair of GriSport boots. They are natural leather, with SimpaTex membrane. I use them for biking, weekend hikes and general wear in the winter in the city: salt and car oils everywhere.

They are beginning to smell a little. Also, I reckon, the membrane is full of dirt and rubble and does not breathe as well.

How can I wash them (at home) so that they are as close to new as possible?


2 Answers 2


Wash them with a product made for washing leather shoes, like Nikwax Footwear Cleaning Gel. This will remove the crud without damaging the oils in the leather. Then re-waterproof them with a product made for waterproofing leather (e.g. an aqueous wax product). Nikwax also makes some of those. I have used both the cleaner and waterproofer and been happy with them.


Dear Mr. Vitkov,

we would rather suggest to proceed in this way:

  • wrinkle with a brush the external part in order to leave out the dirty parts;
  • then you need to take out the Insole and wash the Insole and the internal part of the boot with some detergent;
  • for the external part of the boot, please do not wash using the detergent cos it could be dangerous for the water penetration of the leather. The detergent should ruin the Waterproof Treatment made to the leather.
  • everything could be done with normal water, no hot temperature.
  • once is almost dry, please fulfill the internal part of the shoe with normal magazine paper, that allows to keep the form and dry off the shoe ( also internal part of the leather /membrane ).

Hope you can handle it in the proper way.

Have a nice day.

Best regards / Mit freundlichen Grüssen

Luciano Ziliotto Grisport S.p.A.

I have to wonder how is some soft soap going to do more damage than two winters of salt, car oils, many kinds of mud, sometimes encompassing the whole shoe, bike chain oil, cow shit, sharp rocks, rotting wood and more.

  • 3
    One thing that helps with the breatheability of membranes is that the outer material has a low wettability, which means it does not get soaked with water but water is repelled as small droplets that don't cover the whole material. Soap is a so called wetting agent that allows makes water do exactly what you not want it to in this case. So it would be better to wash away the rough dirt with water, let them dry and try to remove the remaining debris with a brush than applying some soap that will make the material soak up water afterwards. Dec 13, 2013 at 12:11
  • 1
    Also, while oil and grease can be "dirt" from your point of view, they may actually be good for the leather. In any case, a detergent that will remove them will also remove fats/lipids/oil/grease/wax from the leather which is essential for the mechanical and water resisting properties of the leather. Leather lacking grease is brittle and leather that gets wet is also mechanically much less robust. Jul 9, 2019 at 9:23

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.