A Closer Look: Nikwax Shoe Treatments


If there’s one downside to buying investment footwear, it’s finding time for all the maintenance necessary to keep the investment worthwhile (I don’t think I’m alone in not loving the idea of getting down with a tin of polish once a week). What’s worse, is that the vast majority of shoe care products out there are extremely toxic, making them hazardous both to you and the environment. So, when the good folks at Nikwax offered to send over some samples of their all-natural, low-effort footwear treatments, I was happy to accept.


I decided to test the products out on a pair of Paraboot boat shoes that I picked up new-in-box on eBay three years back. As you can tell from the pic, the shoes have seen their share of wear (between three and seven days a week, for the last three summers straight). After a quick viewing of Nikwax’s handy how-to video on YouTube, I got to work.

Step 1: wet the shoes.

Step 2: vigorously scrub the shoes using the Footwear Cleaning Gel (which comes with an exceedingly convenient built-in scrub brush).

Step 3: rinse clean.

Step 4: while the shoes are still wet, spray on the Fabric and Leather Proofer.

Step 5: after letting the shoes sit for a few minutes, dab the excess proofer with a dry cloth.

Step 6: air-dry overnight.*


*Nikwax recommends stuffing your shoes with balled up newspaper while they dry, however, I chose to put in cedar shoe trees instead, as they’re both highly absorbent, and help the shoes to keep their shape.


And here’s how they looked the next morning.


A noticeable difference, to say the least.


Excluding drying, the whole process took less than 20 minutes, which is pretty good, considering I won’t have to do it again for the rest of the summer. In addition to conditioning the shoes, and evening out their color, the treatment also waterproofed the leather, so three benefits for the work of one. As far as at-home shoe care regimens go, it doesn’t get much easier, or, safer, thanks to the products’ complete lack of noxious odors and skin irritators. All in all, I’d definitely recommend giving Nikwax products a go. Now I just need summer to kick into gear so I can get these back in heavy rotation.

To view the full range of Nikwax products, and / or find a Nikwax stockist near you, check out the brand’s website.