How to protect leather shoes in winter

This story was originally featured on Mel Magazine.

Winter – and the cold, snow, and salty pavement that come with it – is hell for shoes. In fact, you can start the season with a whole new pair – even a decent leather shoe or boot – and by the time March rolls around they can still look like they’re a hundred years old.

But like your home and your tires, they can also be winterized. In particular, here are four basic ways to extend the life of your leather shoes when the weather outside is proverbially scary …

Use sole protectors

If you’re worried that your favorite pair of boots weren’t designed to be worn in a wintry mix of rain, sleet, slush and / or snow, the most economical way to make them more durable is to use boots. sole protector. “They protect the shoe from excessive wear and tear,” explains Mike, the owner of Mike’s Shoe Repair. “It’s just a simple piece of rubber that I stick to the bottom of your shoes, from the midsole to the toe.”

In practice, sole protectors prevent water from being absorbed into the soles. They cost around $ 35 and should get you through at least a few winters.

Go full rubber sole

It’s a much more invasive and aggressive strategy, but Mike says replacing your leather soles with rubber soles is the most effective way to keep the frozen tundra of winter from punishing your shoes. “It’s definitely more expensive,” he says. “But if the condition isn’t too worn out, I can do it for $ 75 to $ 100.”

He adds, however, that the rubber-to-leather exchange will change the feel as well as the shape of most shoes and boots. “This will make them more durable, but they will also be more rigid,” he says.

Essentially, they will feel more awkward because they are now built for the winter.

Display the real tree of the season: a shoe tree

Shoe trees maintain the shape and condition of your shoes by preventing the leather from retaining too many wrinkles and preventing moisture absorption, which usually leads to mold and mildew. “Let your shoes sit and aerate for 20-30 minutes after taking them off, then insert the shafts until the next wear, which ideally means giving the shoes at least a full day (24 hours) in the trees to rest. “suggests a Good Year Welt subscriber,” a subtitle on quality footwear.

This same writer states that some shoe manufacturers recommend up to an hour of breathing for boots. But, he writes, “I would go for a system that you can work reliably – putting trees in shoes or boots earlier is probably better than putting them on the next morning because you forgot.”

Be your own shoe shiner

Let us return to the aforementioned salt (for the alleys, for the sidewalks, for the roads…): Wipe your shoes with a clean and slightly damp cloth will prevent the said salt from molding the leather uppers of your shoes. Your job, however, does not end there. If you let wet shoes dry, you can also dry out the leather. It is therefore a good practice to use a leather conditioner whenever you feel the leather getting a little stiff and the creases appear more pronounced.

“A general rule of thumb is to condition every month or two if you wear your boots in difficult conditions (hiking, wet, muddy, etc.), and every 2 to 5 months otherwise,” recommends another subscriber to Good Year Welt.

So have Jack Frost. You can pinch my nose, but with these tips, you’ll never be able to pinch my heels.

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