Properly taken care of, a pair of good quality hiking boots can last for decades. They don't need to be polished every day or kept out of the mud. All you need to do is clean the outer every time you come home from a hike and make sure the material stays supple and waterproof. In most cases it's best to wait until the mud has dried (if necessary, which is probably is) then brush it off with a soft cloth, damping it down if you need to. These spray-on proofers will make sure that your boots will outlast all of your other footwear put together.
Nikwax Frabic & Leather Duo Pack 4.2oz 178
Even if they already have a GoreTex liner, waterproofing hiking boots a good idea. It'll stop water from soaking the outer fabric or leather and making it heavy, and it'll also go a long way towards helping mud and dirt slide off rather than cling on. The process doesn't take long and it's not at all complicated. With the clever nozzles on the liquid Nikwax products it's also very easy to keep your hands and surfaces clean. There is no need for messy polish that stains skin and clothing. Simply choose the product that best suits your boots. Is the outer mostly suede, full leather, or fabric? Is it a combination of two materials? There are options for all kinds of hiking footwear.