The first snow has fallen here in New England. Don't get me wrong, snow is beautiful. However, it tends to wreak havoc on the condition of my shoe collection with all the salt and moisture. I used to only wear one or two pairs of shoes that I knew were water proof for fear of ruining them. Last year I got fed up and went in search of ways to protect my shoes. I learned a few tips and tricks I'd like to share with you:
- Start with proper storage-
At the end of each season I take special care to properly clean and store my shoes that I won't be wearing in the upcoming season. I stuff the shoes with acid-free tissue paper then store them in air tight containers. This will prevent and misshaping, dust and discoloring during storage.
- Give the shoes some lovin'-
When you remove your shoes from storage you need to give them another proper cleaning for the upcoming season. This will ensure they are in perfect condition.For leather remove all dirt and give a proper scrub with a product designed for smooth leathers. I generally use saddle soap such as Kiwi Saddle Soap, but you can use any soap you find that is designed for such shoes. For my suede shoes I use a supply kit from Sports Authority but you can use any cleaners from drugstores such as CVS that specify treatment for suede shoes. You need to scrub off any scuffs and clean with the shampoo and brush. If you have designer shoes you feel uncomfortable cleaning yourself bring them to your local cobbler.
- Call in the big boys-
Sometimes there might be a problem with a loose heel or a worn down sole. This is when you need to bring your shoes to a cobbler. I myself used to put this off and hope I can get through the season and fix it at the end. Don't do it, because it causes irreversible damage to the shoes core that might make it impossible for a cobbler to fix later. I usually bring my shoes to a small cobbler in my hometown. He is local and does a really great job. Its nice to bring it to local businesses and cultivate a relationship since many times I've gotten a free shoe cleaning and shine with my repair.
- Limit wear in the outdoors-
Try limit the amount of time your shoes are exposed to the elements. Its hard when walking through the city but when you can pack your shoes in a bag and wear inexpensive flats or rain boots when trekking through the snow. I know this seems like a no-brainer but I've seen women plough through snow in four inch heels before!
Hopefully these help you care for your shoes this winter season! If you're going to invest your money in expensive shoes, its important to get the best out of it and take good care of them.
If you have any additional tips or comments I'd love to hear them!