Winter brings with it a damaging cocktail of environmental factors — snow, slush, salt, despair — all of which can affect your kicks. But you can do something about it! If you’ve invested in a high-quality pair of shoes (and if you haven’t, that’s another conversation we need to have), expect to give your shoes a simple wipe-down for stains on the daily and a deeper clean and conditioning every week. No excuses. Here’s how to keep your footwear looking fresh:
Lightly wipe off damaging road salt stains as soon as they occur using a cloth soaked in salt removal spray or a solution of two parts water to one part vinegar. Letting stains set in will weaken the mate- rial over time — and look pretty ratty in the immediate.
BRISTLE BRUSH ($60) BY ABBEYHORN, AT MRPORTER.COM
Repeated exposure to water, road salt, and wind can dry and stiffen leather, making it prone to cracking. After cleaning, restore its resilience by applying shoe conditioner (which is absorbed into the material) or shoe cream (which acts as polish).
MINK OIL ($10) BY WALTER’S
To repel water and stains, warm your leather boots or lace-ups with a hair dryer, apply a liberal coat of shoe wax (focusing on creases and seams), and massage it in with a clean cloth. Repeat until your shoes shine, letting you know the wax is fully absorbed. Water- proof spray treatments will help slough off most materials, too.
REPEL SPRAY ($17) BY JASON MARKK, AT MRPORTER.COM
For an easy slipover solution, galoshes add much-needed traction and an extra waterproof barrier. It’s best to treat them like another pair of shoes — which is to say, an accessory to have some fun with. Choose a pair that’s bold and colourful — you know, something to pick you up in the depths of winter.