As we’ve been preparing for winter we’ve spent a fair amount of time discussing ways in which you can make sure you look great and stay warm with your clothing as you see out the colder months in style. However, while we’ve looked at things such as overcoats and sweaters, one aspect which we’re yet to touch on till now, are your shoes.

Your shoes are the one piece of your outfit which are likely to take the biggest beating in the coming months. Whether it’s as a result of the rain, sleet, or dare we say it, snow, they will in most cases see you marching through whatever the winter weather throws at you. That’s why it’s important to know how to not only avoid damaging your shoes, but also how to take care of them if the inevitable happens and they fall victim to the weather – we’ve had a closer look below.

AVOID – Finding alternative footwear

The best way to protect your much loved shoes is to avoid wearing them altogether. This might sound like a bit of an extreme solution but it’s the only sure-fire way of keeping them away from the winter weather. There are a whole host of alternative footwear options such as Chelsea boots, brogue boots and derby boots which are ideal for the winter weather in terms of keeping your feet protected and offering a smart look as opposed to your beloved loafers which won’t bode as well as they did during the summer.

If you can’t bear to tear yourself away from your favourite shoes for the entirety of winter, which we can’t blame you for given the fact we’ll be surrounded by showery weather for a fair few months, then you need to take good care of your shoes. There are ways of minimising damage and wear caused by the winter weather. See what you need to consider below.

PROTECT – Polish, wax and weatherproof shoes

There are a number of ways you can go about protecting your favourite footwear. The main course of action, and probably the most popular, is to polish and wax your shoes. The key to this is to ensure you do it a couple of days before you plan on wearing them. While this might take some forward planning (a little more than we’re ordinarily used to) it’ll certainly pay dividend when it helps to keep your shoes in good nick. Getting into this habit will help to ensure you don’t forget and risk wearing them without prepping them first.
Another alternative is to weatherproof them. Materials such as suede are likely to feel the effects of rain far greater so it’s worthwhile waterproofing them. There are a wide range of products available that can cater for this so we recommend checking a few reviews before committing to any.

A final way of keeping your shoes away from the mess they might encounter is with shoe protectors. They’re designed to be worn over your shoes, and while they might not win any style awards, they can get the job done. We should mention that they’ll struggle to keep your shoes safe in all condition as they don’t fully cover them so use with caution.

REPAIR – Treating weather damaged shoes

With the winter being as prolonged as it can be, along with the fact the weather itself can also be rather unpredictable, there’s a chance your shoes will fall foul of it at some point. That’s why it also helps to know how to treat weather damaged shoes, and in most cases any damage caused is often repairable as long as the correct treatment is provided in a timely manner.

Rain is likely to make for the main culprit when it comes to damaging your shoes. Soaked leather can easily lose its shape while suede could well lose its texture, therefore drying you shoes appropriately is crucial. The first thing you should do is ensure they dry naturally, don’t take a hair dryer to them and try to rush the process. This will only result in the heat further damaging the leather and potentially causing it to crack. You should instead look to use cedar shoe trees to help not only absorb the moisture but also maintain the shape of the shoes.

If you happen to be travelling or don’t have cedar shoe trees at hand, then a great quick fix is to get hold of a newspaper and use this as a substitute. It’ll help to serve a similar purpose as it’ll not only soak up the moisture, but if stuffed sufficiently, will also help to maintain the shape of the shoes.

In addition to the rain, the salt and grit which you’ll often see on pavement when the temperature really drops can also damage your shoes. Thankfully there are a number of homemade remedies that can remove the salt stains effectively. Simple use a mixture of vinegar and water (2 parts water to 1 part vinegar) and wipe the leather clean as soon as possible, the salt can prove corrosive so don’t leave your shoes sat around untreated for days.

Final words

Winter can prove to be an unforgiving period for your shoes, however if you plan ahead and you’re prepared for the worst then there’s a good chance your shoes will make it through in good condition. Looking good is priceless but the next few months will require a little more work from you in order to stay looking that way.

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