< Go to Hiking Boots - Men's

Hands-on Gear Review

Nikwax Footwear Cleaning Gel Review

Hiking Boots

Click to enlarge
Price:   Varies from $8 - $10 online  —  Compare at 6 sellers
Pros:  Easy to use, cleans well.
Cons:  Pricey, Not something necessary to buy.
Editors' Rating:     
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Manufacturer:   Nikwax


Are your hiking boots tired, lifeless, and sand-spattered? You could revive them with a quick wash with Nikwax Footwear Cleaning Gel.
Click to enlarge
Gear Care Test: Nikwax Sandal Wash and NikWax Footwear Cleaning Gel

But, do you really care if there are stains or dirt on your hiking boots? Doesn't a dirty boot prove you have been out there getting after it? Removing abrasive dirt can prolong the life of the boots and save fabrics from showing excessive wear. Nikwax claims that removing the dirt particles restores the breatheability of your boots as well, which is a fine remedy for sweaty-feet.

The process couldn't be easier: shake, sponge on cleaner, rinse. Voila! Your grungy boots have a new foot forward.

The main use that we see for the Footwear Cleaning Gel is to prep your boots for a more serious treatment such as a waterproofing product. You wouldn't want to treat a dirty boot for waterproofing, because particles could inhibit the effectiveness of the treatment, and this cleaning gel leaves the boots squeaky clean.

If it is spring cleaning season and you want to freshen up multiple pairs of smelly shoes, this product can be used on all kinds of footwear, from Gore-Tex boots to sandals, making the Footwear Cleaning Gel more versatile than the Sandal Wash, which is shoe-type specific, but still less versatile than a product like Dr. Bronner's soap, which is half the price and can be used for anything. However, it is important to note that it is not recommended to clean your waterproof boots with soap or detergent because they contain ingredients that actually attract water instead of repel it, and can leave nasty residue. This makes an approved cleaner like the Nikwax product a safer alternative.

At $8.50 per 4.2 ounce bottle, it is slightly more expensive than the Sandal Wash and other leading brands of footwear cleaners, such as Meltonian All-Purpose Cleaner and Conditioner, which falls in the $5.99 - 6.99 range. It is about the same price as Tectron Shoe Wash and McNett ReviveX Boot Cleaner Concentrate, but won't last as long as a concentrated formula. If you are on a budget you could probably make due with some water and a washrag, or to get rid of mold that may work its way onto your boots you could clean with a mixture of 80% water and 20% vinegar.

Click to enlarge
Using Nikwax Footwear Cleaning Gel on the waterproof Keen Targhee II's.

RELATED: Our complete review of hiking boots - men's

Compare Side-by-Side

Compare all Hiking Boots - Men's >

Analysis and Hands-on Test Findings

Review by:
McKenzie Long
Senior Review Editor

Last Updated:
June 21, 2012
McKenzie Long

Where to Buy?

Thinking about buying some gear we've reviewed? Help OutdoorGearLab out if you do. Just click on any of the above seller links and if you make any purchase, the seller will contribute a portion of the sale to help support this site. It won't cost you anything extra, and it's a simple way to help us fund our gear reviews. Thanks!

*Most retailers free shipping offers apply only to lower 48 US states using ground/economy shipping. See retailer's website for details.

OutdoorGearLab Member Reviews

Most recent review: June 21, 2012
Summary of All Ratings

OutdoorGearLab Editors' Rating:   
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Average Customer Rating:     (0.0)
Rating Distribution
1 Total Ratings
5 star: 0%  (0)
4 star: 0%  (0)
3 star: 100%  (1)
2 star: 0%  (0)
1 star: 0%  (0)

Have you used the Nikwax Footwear Cleaning Gel?
Don't hold back. Share your viewpoint by posting a review with your thoughts...

Write a Review on this Gear
Where's the Best Price?

*You help support OutdoorGearLab's product testing and reviews by purchasing from our retail partners.
Table of Contents

    Helpful Buying Tips
    Other Gear by Nikwax