How To Winter-Proof Your Shoes
Whether you have to spend time outside for work, walking the dog or just love getting outdoors, you will know that protecting your feet at the dampest and coldest time of the year is a priority. The cold creeps in quickly and even the sturdiest of shoes can be left battered and bruised by rain and snow, leaving you with soggy socks and tired-out footwear, not to mention feeling pretty miserable.
So, knowing how to winter-proof your shoes is a skill worth learning. With no need to visit a professional cobbler, these DIY tips and easy to find products will not only keep your feet toasty but help your shoes hold up in bad weather, saving you money in the long run.
Clean Up Your Shoes
Before you start winter-proofing, give your shoes a good clean, as you do not want any dirt or marks getting set under waterproof spray or wax. Depending on how old and worn they are, you might get away with just a quick wipe using a cloth. For a deeper clean, soak your cloth in dishwashing soap and water before wiping down and dig out an old toothbrush to scrub any ingrained dirt away.
Water damage is one of the biggest concerns for your shoes in wintertime, especially for leather shoes that lose their suppleness and can crack as they dry out. Using a waterproof spray is one of the best and easiest ways to make shoes waterproof and protect them. These work by creating a special barrier over the shoe’s material, which keeps rain from sinking in and causing damage. There are also waxes, which work in a similar way.
Different materials are suited to different waterproof sprays, so pick the right one for your winter shoes. Always follow the instructions of your spray carefully, spraying from a good distance away and leaving to dry before you test them out in the elements. Remember to check how long a coating lasts too, so you do not get caught out by forgetting to reapply a layer.
Protection From Salt
On icy days, we all appreciate the salt gritters who keep us from falling flat on our faces. But there is a downside to the grit: like water, salt can wreak havoc on your shoes. It leaves stains as well as causing splitting as it dries out. Again, there are sprays and waxes available that will form a protective barrier specifically against salt.
If your shoes do get salt stained, dabbing them with a homemade solution of white vinegar mixed with water should be enough to clean them up.
You can get insoles super cheap or splash out on more premium ones if you really want to treat your feet. Either way, an extra lining is a sure-fire way to insulate against chilly weather and since your feet are one of the first body parts to lose heat, you want all the help you can get retaining heat down there. Plus, the added support they provide is never a bad thing, especially in treacherous weather conditions.
For those of you with boots, you can take this idea one step further by seeking out thermal fleece liners. A pair of these will guarantee you warm feet, even on the coldest days.
Replace Your Lace Caps
The lace caps are normally the first part of any lace-up shoe to show signs of wear and tear. You probably have not given them much thought before but there are people out there who have, designing more durable caps that you can add to your shoes. Choose a metal option for the best buffer against bad weather, prolonging the life of your laces and putting an end to scruffy, half undone ends.
Take Care Of The Seams
Another area of shoes that is prone to wear and tear is along the seams, especially when weakened by bad weather. If a serious gap has appeared in your shoes, they may no longer be suitable for winter but before you give up on them completely, there are wax products out there that can seal up seams that have come apart. Catch a tear early enough and this stuff should be the winter-proof fix you need.
Keep Them Clean
Once winter-proofed, prolong the effects of all the tricks and products you have applied and maintain their great condition by keeping your shoes clean. Invest in a shoe brush if you do not already own one so that you can brush off dirt and salt after every wear during winter. Get in the habit of doing this as soon as you walk in the door, as the longer you leave it the more chance there is that stains and disrepair will set in.
Dry Out Wet Shoes
When your shoes get soaked by rain, make sure you completely dry them out before you next go outside or before applying any more weatherproofing products. A good trick for doing this without doing any harm to their condition is to scrunch up bits of newspaper and stuff them inside each shoe, leaving them to air dry. Place them near a heater if you want to speed things up a little,but take care not to expose them to super harsh heat, as this can be just as bad for shoes as the winter weather itself.
Our tips to winter-proof your shoes go to show that with just a little extra effort in the shoe care department this winter, you could end the season with shoes that look as good as they did when summer was still in swing. Enjoy stepping in and out of winter with warm, dry feet.