If one is going to wear stylish footwear during winter as an alternative to wellies then there will be extra responsibilities for shoe care during this period. Style is not without its price….
Wearing leather shoes in wet conditions, quite often with liberal helpings of salt scattered about, is not a great way to care for shoe leather. Winter boots tend not to come with leather soles so, thankfully, you won’t need to be too concerned about water damage to the soles. However, you do need to be concerned about potential water and salt damage to the leather uppers.
As you would expect me to say, shoe trees are important. They help to draw moisture out of damp leather, help minimise creasing, help shoes to keep their shape and help to deodorise the shoe. I know I keep banging on about them but with all these benefits why would you not want A Shoe Tree for Every Pair? At the very least for your best pairs?
However shoe trees are not a panacea. You are also going to need to pay particular attention to cleaning your shoes when worn in wintry conditions. See my earlier post: Care for your Shoes Like a Pro.
Using a leather moisturiser is not a bad idea. I am conscious that moisturiser on damp shoes may sound counter intuitive. However water will dry out leathers, once the water evaporates. So a moisturiser helps keep the leather supple. Some kind of leather cleaner to remove the salt is also worth considering. And once the shoe is clean you might want to consider some kind of waterproofing treatment, which will help to limit water damage.
Perhaps one of the key things you should do is to rotate your shoes so that you avoid wearing the same shoes 2 days running. This gives time for the leathers to breathe, to dry out and to regain their natural shape before they are next required for active duty.
My snow brogues have been hard at work today. A white residue which is the result of walking through salty slush has begun to develop as the leather dries. So once they’ve had a few hours to dry, I’ve got going with cleaning them before putting them away for at least 24 hours. The before and after pics tell the story methinks.
Not bad for a pair discounted at Tesco to a tenner. Even better, I had a club card voucher so they cost me no cash at all. The money saved was used to buy some shoe trees to put in them. And this week they have been proving their worth!