Winter-Proof Your Shoes

By Veronica Saroli (ArtSci ’14)
Staff Writer

If the construction around the Ghetto has lead to your shoes taking a serious gravel-driven beating, the fight isn’t over yet. Winter is coming, and with it comes salt stains and soggy, wet boots. To keep your shoes in fighting form, it’s all about prevention and upkeep.

As the old saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of a cure. Or, to put it plainly, spending $5 on protective spray versus spending big bucks on new boots is well worth your while. Good Housekeeping recommends Kiwi’s protective spray, which works on both leather and suede, but you can buy many other brands from any cobbler or shoe repairperson to get the job done. Be sure to spray your shoes before they are worn and ensure they are clean. You can give them another rejuvenating spray every few weeks to keep the protective barrier strong. Be sure to take a moment to read the spray instructions before using the product.

The more taxing aspect of caring for your shoes is the upkeep. As a general rule, don’t pile your shoes on top of one another; it damages the structure and results in deformations. Shoe racks are helpful in solving this, and who doesn’t like seeing their shoes neatly organized and on display?

You should aim to clean and condition your shoes about once a month. It’s recommended you do this in two separate steps, but there are products out there that take care of it in one step. If you want to give your shoes the luxury of a two-step treatment, begin with a softening mild soap like saddle soap , let it dry and follow it up with a conditioning treatment or cream. The key is to use a soft, cotton cloth or an old cotton t-shirt to rub on your shoes to keep them supple and in good form. You can buy these products at any shoe repair shop, and Roots offers leather care products that you can use on your shoes and any leather bags.

In between shoe spa days, keep salt stains at bay. Leave a sponge by the door that you can use to wet and dab your shoes when you come in from the snowy salt-ridden sidewalks. For tougher stains, use white vinegar on the salt marks to erase the residue. For scruffs, use a soft cloth dipped in water and baking soda to gently rub away the marks.

Whether your shoes and boots have seen better days, or whether they are your pride and joy, keeping them clean and in good condition prolongs their lifespan so that you can enjoy many more years with your favorite pair.

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