How To Clean and Maintain Your Winter Boots


hoes are a man’s second best friend. They help you look great daily, and taking proper care of your footwear should be on the weekly list of every gentleman.

It’s already December, so for the next couple of months, snow and moist weather will be a daily occurrence (Aussies, you lucky chaps).

To survive the season with dry feet, and keep your shoes in the best shape possible, there are important things that you need to know about. You may have just bought your first pair of leather brogue boots, or you’ve already been through 50 pairs in the last ten years, and you want to keep that one for at least two years. Shoe keeping is a craft and should be accepted as one. Most men neglect it, while it’s something that shouldn’t be taken lightly.

How Water and Cold Can Ruin Your Favourite Winter Boots

Winter Cap Toe Leather Boots

It’s a great season if you love stylishly layering your clothes. However, the winter weather may be the worst thing that a pair of shoes needs to go through. The cold season is capable of completely ruining a nice pair of boots if proper care isn’t taken.

Wearing your favorite winter boots in the snow can shorten their lifespan quite a bit.

The biggest problem for shoes is that they are going to be wet most of the time. If you are walking to, and from work in the snow, you better be prepared to have a pair of rubber boots with you because only they can survive it.

Why You Need To Take Care Of Your Winter Leather Boots

Leather needs protection from salt and water. Salt may be the biggest problem. Regular exposure to salt will decrease the elasticity of the leather of the shoe and cracks will form soon after. If you have shoes with leather soles, they will crack as well.

Another big problem for shoes is the glue they are made of. Only the highest quality shoes use a small amount of glue. If you are looking for this, then prepare to spend around of $500 and above. While for some this is a normal price, most people stick to low or mid-range shoes. There are some great finds there, don’t get me wrong. Winter boots in that price range just use more glue to hold the shoe together.

The problem with glue is that it doesn’t hold up too well when the weather outside is colder. The cold makes the glue a lot less elastic, and it becomes much easier to peel off.

Another enemy of your shoes in the winter is the constant dampness and the cold itself. Cold stiffens up your shoes. This becomes a problem, as it also leads to cracks. Unfortunately, the only way to battle this is to keep them warm most of the time or to maintain them by dyeing your boots regularly. This will keep the leather of the shoes well lubricated and will help with the prevention of cracks.

Preparing Your Winter Boots to Face the Weather

Keeping your shoes healthy and in good shape during Winter requires preparation. Often times people will try to clean and restore their shoes as good as possible after they have already got them wet. This is a mistake that should be avoided.

Not preparing properly your shoes for snow and water won’t ruin them immediately, however it is a good idea to make it a habit of preparing beforehand.

The best way to ready your shoe to face winter weather is by using protective sprays. In order to repel water, there are different sprays that would do a great job. Make sure that you spray as the label instructs because every product has its own differences. Here are some that we recommend:

Great repellent that will protect your shoes. It’s best to test in an inconspicuous area, where you can test to see if it will interfere with the color of your shoes.

Kiwi are a brand that is well known in the world of shoe care. The heavy-duty protector will do a great job of keeping your suede shoes dry.

By creating an invisible coating on top of the fabric the spray will protect your shoes from any water and stain damage.  

How to Take Care of Your Shoes’ Soles

As for taking care of your shoe soles, there isn’t too much you can do. The best way to avoid ruining your soles is never to wear leather soles in the winter, or during rain. What is best to be used are rubber soles, that were specifically made for such weather.

Cleaning Shoe Stains and Fixing Common Winter Problems

Winter brings nice white snow, and not-so-nice problems for your shoes. This is something all men should be mindful of. It doesn’t matter if you’re wearing boots or sneakers, if you invest in your shoes, then you should know what problems to expect and how to fix them properly.

What problems to expect with your shoes during Winter:

1. Preparing for Wet Shoes
If you’re wearing anything different from rubber shoes, then you will have your shoes wet at some point.
The best thing that you can do is to have an umbrella for yourself whenever it’s raining, and watch where you step all of the time. It helps your shoes tremendously if you properly prepare your shoes by using water repellent sprays.

2. How to Dry Your Winter Boots Properly
Believe it or not, the way you are drying your shoes can be as much of a problem as getting them wet. The only way you should dry your shoes is by letting them dry out in an airy room, by themselves.
Trying to dry them by placing them close to the radiator, or any source of heat can be really bad for your footwear. It’s also a bad option to throw them in the dryer. In order to keep their shape, and have them looking great you should leave the water to evaporate naturally for a day or two.

3. Avoiding Salt Damage to Your Winter Footwear
As mentioned above, salt is especially bad for leather shoes. It will stain them, it will make them look old, and cracks will form soon.The easiest way to remove salt stains from your shoes during winter is by wiping them thoroughly with a damp cloth right after you get inside. If, however, your shoes are still stained after drying, you’ll need to do a bit of cleaning. The best thing is to wait for them to fully dry and take out your shoe caring kit.Start with wiping your shoes thoroughly. After that buff them well with a brush. Wipe again with a slightly damper cloth. Wait for them to dry and polish. This should get the stain out of most leather shoes. If needed use appropriate high-quality shoe paint.

4. Preventing Wrinkles in Your Shoes
Soon after getting off your feet, wet leather shoes tend to shrink. In order to keep them looking good, you should know how to keep their shape.

Preventing wrinkles, and helping your shoes retain their shape is very simple. We suggest that you invest in shoe trees. This is the best way to remove moisture and keep your shoes true to their original shape.If you don’t have shoe trees at hand, then you can use newspaper and stuff them good. Change the newspapers every couple of hours in order to keep moisture away from your shoes.

5. Smelly shoes
The worst that could happen to a pair of shoes is to absorb smell. Smelly feet can ruin your image seconds after you take your shoes off. What you can do to avoid smelly shoes is to avoid wearing them while they are damp.

Controlling the way your shoes smell can be done by using different sprays before and after you wear your winter boots. Here is our best pick.

How to Take Care of Formal Shoes in Winter

Shoe caring tools.

Formal shoes aren’t any different than other leather boots. You’ll need to dye them routinely in order to keep their shine. Here are four fundamental rules that you need to follow in order to keep your dress shoes in good condition this Winter:

1. Prepare your shoes before going out. Make sure that you use the right sprays in order to give your shoes that upper hand in the fight with snow and water.
2. Dry your shoes properly. After getting home, take your shoes off, and insert shoe trees in order to remove the dampness. Leave them to dry for a day or two in an airy room.
3. Clean your shoes from any stains. Salt can be the biggest nemesis to your shoes.
4. Make sure to keep your shoes fresh by using sprays before and after wearing them. Shoe trees extract smell as well.

The Types of Shoes That You Can Wear And The Ones That You Need To Avoid in Winter

Facing the winter with proper footwear is important. While taking care of your current pair will help them survive the next three to five months, the proper shoes should keep your feet dry on a daily basis.

The best types of shoes you can invest in are a solid pair of winter leather boots. Depending on the weather, you may want boots with a lining that will keep your feet warm.

If you live in an area where a lot of snow tends to fall we suggest that you invest in high leather boots, and a pair of rubber boots that you can use to shovel snow with.

Suede boots in winter are a great stylish choice for areas that don’t see a lot of snowfall, and have dry and cold winters.

How to Take Care and Clean Suede Winter Boots

You should consider the area that you live in when you buy suede boots for Winter shoes. If the place where you live has a lot of snow and rain, then you are better off spending your money on leather. Thus, the best advice for suede boots is to keep them away from water.

However, there is always a possibility where you get your favorite pair of suede footwear wet.

Because of this, you still need to know how to properly take care of your suede winter boots. Here are the crucial steps that you need to take after you’ve been in the rain/snow with your suede shoes:

1. Take them off.
2. Insert shoe trees.
3. Let them dry for the next three to four days.

Shoe trees will help with retaining the shape of the shoes and will absorb the moisture. And now for what you’ll need to do after they’ve dried.
4. Grab a suede brush and thoroughly brush your suede shoes.
5. Take out your suede paint spray and dye them. This will remove or hide any stains that may have appeared from the water or salt.
6. Let them dry, and leave them for the next three to four days. This will assure the shoes restore completely before the next wear.

It’s best that you limit this to only incidents. Once or twice won’t make your shoes look like they are your go-to beaters, but you don’t want to risk them getting ruined.

Everyone who lives in a place where winter occurs has to deal with this. Investing in quality footwear always helps to battle the weather conditions, nonetheless, shoes need help from you. Properly taking care of your Winter boots is the best thing that you can do to keep them in good shape and have them for years.

Evgeni Asenov

For the last 4 years I've been enthusiastic about men's style, lifestyle and fashion. Trough trial and error I've learned some things in this area and now I'm here to share with everyone who might be interested.

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