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Winter boot care

With good winter boot care, we'll be able to walk comfortably and safely as well as guard against the snow and cold temperatures. We all know walking is a great form of exercise but walking in winter has its own challenges so keeping our winter footwear in good shape makes good common sense.

First sign of snow or cold weather

When winter rolls around again, you might be quite annoyed at yourself (I have been!) that you didn't do a good winter boot cleaning before you put your winter boots or shoes away. This always seems happen when you are rushing out the door when the first cold weather hits or the first snowfall happens. Then you'll discover that your boots look the worse for wear after being neglected and sitting in the closet for most of the year.

Pre-season and post winter boot tune-up

Good winter boot care means giving them a pre-season conditioning in the fall before the first snowfall makes sense. Actually, you really want to give them a thorough cleaning and brush (if applicable) when you put them away at the end of the previous winter. That is, if you plan on wearing them next winter.

As a constant reminder of winter, you'll see salt or high-water lines around the toes and heels on your winter boots or shoes. If you leave them untreated, those stains will be quite difficult if not impossible to get out the longer they are left.

Cleaning your winter boots in the fall is more about doing a quick maintenance check to make sure they look ready for another tough winter provided you have done your earlier due diligence of cleaning them thoroughly at the end of the previous spring. Otherwise, your boot cleaning will definitely take longer and be much harder in the fall.

Boot care benefits

This simple winter boot care will:

  • Make them look good (and you want them to look good, right?)
  • Repels snow and ice from seeping in keeping your feet dry
  • Minimizes those ugly salt and slushy snow stains so your boots look better
  • Extends the life of the boots or shoes so better for your budget.

You need to carefully read the instructions on any boot protection products you might buy. The right type of protector varies for the type of footwear you have in your closet. The form in which it takes is also important; whether it is spray, creme or wax.

For example, you would use a spray for suede boots and a brush to buff the suede. For leather, however, you would use a polish or wax instead to clean first. You'd then follow that up using a brush and soft cloth to shine smooth, leather surfaces. Using a protector that is not recommended for a particular type of winter boot or shoe will just ruin it.

If you want your boots and other winter items to dry fast, you might want to consider getting a boot dyer as I mention below.

Natural air-drying

Natural air-drying is best for your winter footwear. Leave them in a warm area BUT away from any direct source of heat.

My expensive lesson learned...

I made the mistake of having leather boots dry too quickly (mainly because they were too close to a heater and I forgot to move them) and the toes turned up. Not a good look for winter! They were also impossible to wear after that fiasco so I had to replace them.

As mentioned above, leather shrinks when it's drying so you can get boot stretchers to place inside your boots to help them keep their shape and hopefully, size as they dry.

To help with natural air-drying, you can just get upright plastic boot stands to increase the air circulation. Doing it this way will certainly take longer, sometimes one, two or even three days for your boots to dry - particularly leather and suede. In that case, you need a second pair of winter boots or a sturdy substitute is essential.

There are just plain boot racks too that you can either attach to the wall or leave on the floor to allow boots and shoes to dry naturally. Both types are readily available from department or large hardware stores.

Caring for your leather, suede and man-made synthetic footwear

Winter boot care varies according to the type of winter boots you buy. Cleaning methods are different and may only be suitable for a particular type of winter boots e.g. leather or suede. Cleaning also includes conditioning and applying water-repellant sprays and waxes to your leather and suede boots and shoes as well.

Go to Cleaning Winter boots and shoes

Return to Winter Boots for Winter boot care

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