How to Take Care of Your Winter Shoes So They Survive the Season

written by BELLA GIL

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Winter has only just begun, and with snow storms touching down on what feels like every corner of the U.S., it’s our snow boots’ time to shine. But as any cold weather-goer knows, finding a pair of good winter shoes is only half the battle; the other percent is all about taking care of them to ensure you don’t need to buy another pair next year.

Let’s be real here: These aren’t the shoes you’re reaching for because they go with your outfit. They’re the ones you’re wearing because the weather doesn’t allow you the luxury of having other options. With these easy steps, you can guarantee your boots will last you for years—even if winter where you live means snow storms every weekend.

Waterproof them

There’s a pesky puddle around any and every corner during the winter, so ensuring that your shoes are protected by waterproofing them is a must. Your snow boots should come waterproofed, but adding another layer of protection in the form of a waterproof spray or Scotchgard at the beginning of the snowy season is never a bad idea. The same goes for all of your other winter shoes: If you’d shed a tear over them getting a water stain, make sure you’re waterproofing them before you wear them out.

If your boots have some type of shearling inside or along the sole, you can keep it looking brand-new by cleaning it with a shearling-specific kit. If they’re leather, don’t underestimate the power of polish. Not only does the wax keep them looking new, but it waterproofs and seals them too.


Use inserts to help them keep their shape

To ensure your boots keep their shape, it’s always good to stuff them while they’re drying so they don’t stretch or sag while they’re wet. Invest in a couple of boot forms that you can put inside your shoes while they’re drying to keep them looking brand-new, regardless of what they’ve been through.

Give them a refresh

We all have that pair of boots that has seen better days. If it’s mid-season and your winter boots are looking a little dismal but it’s not quite time for a new pair, treat them to a spa day. Remove the shoelaces and clean them or replace them if needed. Treat stains with a stain remover, and go in with a brush to renew the fabric and buff out any stains. Treat with a protective spray and voila, your boots are back in business.

Check the weather report

You can never prevent an unexpected rain or snow storm, but you can do your best to know when one’s coming. Before you head out in your brand-new, favorite shoes, check the weather to make sure they’re compatible with the day ahead. If storms are coming, opt for shoes you know can handle the salt and precipitation instead (which will likely be your trusty snow boots).


Keep them dry between wears

While we can pray that our boots avoid weather-related casualties, Mother Nature has the final call, no matter how careful you may be. Maybe that puddle came out of nowhere, or the sleet and snow came down a little harder than you thought it would. In these types of cases, be sure to let your boots dry completely between wears. It’s no fun putting your dry foot into a wet boot or finding a muddy mess along the soles when you go to put them on. Give your shoes a good wipe down and set them somewhere warm to dry if they were recently out in the snow. Not only will it help you prevent damage, but it’ll also ensure they’re ready for their next wear.

Store them properly off-season

Throwing your boots in a corner of your closet once spring emerges is a major no-no. Instead, you should be storing them tucked away in a bin, away from dust and grime, and with inserts in them to help them keep their shape. Before you do so, clean them with a material-specific cleaner so when you take them out of storage later in the year, they’re ready to go—not covered in stains.

Leather and Suede Protective Spray
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Protect-All Waterproofer
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Suede Brush Kit
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