Taking care of your boots and shoes during winter


Submitted 10 months ago
Created by
Ken Davis

Winter is notoriously tough on boots and shoes. Our shoes are exposed to warm air inside, and dry, bitter cold air outside. They routinely endure a cement-like mixture of mud, ice, sludge, and snow just to get us where we want to go. And before the snow can even melt off the soles, it happens all over again.

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Your boots and shoes are a marvel of modern engineering. No matter the brand or style, most are remarkably resilient and made to last. But with a little care, you can make them last even longer. Here's a few tips:

Quick fixes. Broken grommets, popped stitches, and worn-down heels and soles can be repaired! Can't find a pair of shoes in your closet that fit like they used to? You can have them stretched! The point is, don't throw out a good pair of boots and shoes when a cobbler can fix them and make them like new again. That said, don't ignore the problems for long, either. A little problem can weaken the structure and lead to bigger problems later.   

Love your leather. To some degree, leather is inherently water repellent. But subjecting leather to brutal winters can still cause damage. Leather boots and shoes should be regularly cleaned and conditioned. Conditioning is NOT the same as polishing. Shoe polish might make shoes shine, but it doesn't do anything to prevent or repair damage. Clean and condition your leather boots and shoes, then top them off with waterproofing. We recommend a conditioning cream and spray waterproof. Just always be sure the leather is clean first!

Brush your suede. Suede and nubuck need a bit more care than leather. Use a small brush to get unwanted debris out of the material. Then clean, condition, and waterproof just like you would with leather. IMPORTANT: Make sure you use the right products, ones specifically made for nubuck and suede. If your conditioner and waterproofing agent doesn't say it's safe for suede, don't use it! 

What about salt? Road salt can stain footwear just like it can stain everything else. And you often don't know it's happened until the boots or shoes have dried. The good news is this: It can be cleaned! Mix a bit of water and vinegar (go easy on the vinegar), and wipe down the boots and shoes with a clean cloth. For suede or nubuck, blot, don't wipe, and never soak. To really clean your boots and shoes of salt, we recommend a Salt Remover Liquid. Works like a charm!

Enjoy your winter!

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