Hiking shoes get dirty, very dirty.
They slosh through mud and trudge through dirt. They scrape and scratch and scorch in the sun. They sink into snow and slide down slopes, collecting dirt, mud, stones and blood.
But cleanliness is the last thing on your mind when you’re hiking. You’re too busy admiring the view or anticipating the next climb. You’re distracted by the sound of rushing water over cliffs and watching the sunlight tickle the drops of water as they fall from above.
You’re charging through puddles once into the hike, because your shoes and socks are already soaked after you braved the mini waterfall charging down the stairs. You were too busy trying to stay upright to worry about cleanliness or staying dry.
The state of your shoes matters little while you count the scars on your shins as you bash through yet more bush, and remind yourself that a sprained ankle halfway through the hike would make the climb out even harder. Onwards you hike, over tree roots and rocks and boulders until something captures your attention – the sound of gushing water, and soon the roar of rushing water, such that this hike has never produced before. Onwards you hike, drawn to the sound of the thundering water and thankful for the grip on your hiking shoes as you cling to the slippery rocks further into the canyon. Then you see it; the origin of the roar, and what a sight.
Your mind is never on your shoes as you catch a glimpse, yes just a glimpse, of that beautiful bird before it flies away coquettishly. I’ll capture it for posterity next time. That’s what you said last time.
You push on up the steep and slippery stairs, sodden but satisfied and hoping that you packed the chocolate as well as the scroggin.
The encroaching clouds cause you to ponder whether you’ll make it home before the rain arrives, and whether the Scots would be bothered by a ‘wee spot of rain’ on the moors.
As you turn for home, your’e forced to confront the condition of your squelching shoes.
There are various methods for cleaning your shoes. You can scrape them, soak them and scrub them. It’s always a good idea to remove the laces, for a thorough clean. Hold them up and squeeze the water from them – it’s amazing how much dirt they collect.
The trusty old toothbrush comes in handy when cleaning off all manner of debris, especially from the sole. The toothbrush helps to dislodge tiny stones and decidedly less savoury items. Be sure to return the dirty toothbrush to the laundry and not the bathroom – that would be highly unsavoury.
A scrunched up ball of newspaper inserted into the soggy shoes helps soak up the dampness, before you subject your footwear to yet another beating.
But in the end, what’s the best way to clean hiking shoes?