You just bought a brand new pair of leather boots.
You decide to wear them to your son's soccer game.
Then all the sudden it starts pouring…
…and you forgot to waterproof them.
Maybe it just snowed 6 inches…
…you put on your boots to go out and shovel.
Next thing you know they're ruined.
$500 down the drain.
Quality leather shoes are an investment.
Protecting them ensures they last a lifetime.
All the solutions mentioned here offer the following benefits:
- Prolong the life of your shoes.
- Avoid slipping on ice and smooth floors.
- Less noise – no clickety-clacks for those who prefer silent shoes.
- DIY – on expensive trips to the cobbler required.
Through the winter season, you need to preserve and protect your leather shoes from cold, snow and salt.
Snowy winters present another problem – apart from water, your shoes needs protection from salt.
Salt spreads on city sidewalks have the ability to stain your shoes and even damage the leather over time.
Applying a coating of wax polish creates a thin protective layer that shields your shoes from salt deposits. Regularly applying a polish not only keeps your shoes looking sleek, but also repels moisture and extends the life of the leather.
It could make a difference between a one-minute cleaning versus an expensive trip to the cobbler.
- Sno Seal Beeswax – The beeswax formula in the Sno-Seal Original Beeswax Waterproofing protects leather from salt and snow.
The solid wax forms a layer of protection that insulates the leather and prevents salt deposits from clogging the surface pores.
Waxes have a longer sticking period than polishes. However, use this product in conjunction with a polish as this protectant is meant to seal out moisture, not create a shine.
- DIY Remedy With Kitchen Ingredients – Dilute equal parts white vinegar with water. Apply the mixture to the stained part of your shoes. Remove any vinegar residue with another damp cloth, wipe with a dry towel and leave the shoes to air-dry. Use this solution to get rid of both salt and water stains.
While it's not possible to make your leather shoes impermeable to water, you can add a protective layer to prevent long-term damage.
Water can destroy the suppleness of leather and warp the shape of your shoes. Adding a conditioner to your leather footwear maintains a level of moisture that prevents the leather from cracking.
Brands I have used and recommend:
- Meltonian Boot & Shoe Cream – The Meltonian brand of shoe creams contain a natural wax that offers a glossy shine and adds conditioning agents to the leather. Available in a wide range of colors.
- Leather Honey – One of my favorites for conditioning leather! The Leather Honey leather conditioner performs a dual role as a conditioner by keeping the leather soft and supple and a protector by keeping the pores of the leather sealed against water and dirt.
- Chamberlain's Leather Milk Water Protectant – Protect your leather from harsh winter conditions with the Chamberlain’s Leather Milk Water Protectant. The formula conditions your leather products and adds a layer of protection from water, keeping it supple and strong for longer.
Protecting The Soles From Damage
The sole on your shoes is bound to wear out before the leather upper.
- A rubberized sole prevents slipping on smooth, wet or icy surfaces. Plus, it mutes the click-clack noise of a leather heel on a hard surface.
- The rubber coating provides a better grip, more like an athletic shoe.
- It offers an extra layer of protection to the bottom of your shoe.
There are companies out there that provide sole protection. In other words it gives an extra layer of protection by glueing on a “temporary” sole that will wear out instead of the actual sole.
Check out Half Soles as one option.
Protection For Suede Shoes
Suede doesn't mean it's delicate, you just need to be careful with it.
Suede needs to stay dry in order to maintain its texture. Seal the leather with a water-proof spray to protect your shoes from water. A single coating will last for several months, repelling dirt and keeping stains from forming on your shoes.
Before you apply the spray, use a suede eraser for spot cleaning and a suede brush for rebuilding the nap.
Protect Leather Shoes With Galoshes
A traditional method of protecting shoes from damage involves slipping into a pair of rubber overshoes, aka galoshes. Overshoes are worn over dress shoes and according to standard protocol – they are meant to be removed when you arrive at your destination.
Keep a pair in your gym bag or at the office for those days when get stuck in unexpected rough weather.
Additional Tips To Protect Your Leather Shoes In Winter
- Dry Wet Shoes Naturally – If you happen to get your leather shoes wet, let them air-dry. Do not expose them to a heat source – the extra heat will cause leather to harden and crack.
- Restore The Shape Of The Shoe – When wet, leather starts to lose its shape. Pack damp shoes with newspaper or a wooden shoe tree as soon as you remove them.These natural materials absorb the moisture in your shoes unlike plastic shoe trees which press the moisture back into the shoe.
Alternatively, you could leave a pair of dress shoes at the office and wear warm weatherproof boots when you leave home.
Whatever your cold-weather situation, keep you shoes looking sharp using these tips. After all, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”
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