We’re nearing the end of winter, and before we gather our winter gear to pack away for spring, it’s worth taking proper steps to care for your shoes and boots. After all, they did just endure (and hopefully survive) a brutal season of subzero temps, rain-soaked streets and winter squalls. While road salt helps both motorists and pedestrians get a grip on their way to Point B, it’s not exactly a great solution for keeping your shoes kicking. Follow these easy steps to get your footwear back in shape.
1. Stuff ‘Em
Soaked shoes can lose their shape easily. The excess moisture makes the leather more pliable and more prone to warping. The best solution is to stuff your shoes with cedar shoe trees as they maintain the shoe’s shape while absorbing excess moisture and fending off offensive odors. If you’re treeless, the next best thing is newspaper.
Cedar Shoe Tree by Houndsbay $20
Cedar Shoe Tree by Nordstrom $20
2. Dab ‘Em
Next, remove any salt stains by dabbing them with a towel and a solution of one part white vinegar with two parts water. The vinegar helps to break up the salt and lifts it to the surface of the leather.
Cleaning Wipes by Boot Rescue $8
Saddle Soap by Fiebing’s $10
3. Condition ‘Em
Though your shoes have just gotten the salt out of their system, they’re still thirsty. They’ve been stripped of vital oils and vitamins in the process and need to be replenished before stepping out again. If you don’t, the leather can dry out and crack (neither of those things are good). Condition them with a leather lotion to restore those essential nutrients which will keep the leather healthy.
Medaille d’Or Renovateur by Saphir $28
Leather Care Kit by Otter Wax $42
4. Protect ‘Em
Now that the leather has been fed, the last step is to protect your shoes for their next outing. Leather waxes and leather protectors help provide a barrier against the elements, ensuring that your shoes can make it a few more paces before needing to go this whole routine again. Once you’ve conditioned your shoes with leather lotion, apply a leather wax/protector all around the shoes, making sure to get into the welts and stitching.
Leather Wax by R.M. Williams $20
Leather Protector by Red Wing $9
Note: Purchasing products through our links may earn us a portion of the sale, which supports our editorial team’s mission. Learn more here.