Winter’s here. That means salt on the street, snow falling outside, and slush waiting for you at every crosswalk. So, it’s crucial to have shoes at the ready that can keep your feet dry and hold up against Mother Nature. That’s why leather boots come out when the weather takes a turn. With just a few preparative steps, your leather shoes can last through the winter and make your cold-weather treks enjoyable.
Before you start winterizing your boots, you’ll need to get them ready for the process. That means cleaning them up and getting rid of the winter gunk that’s already accumulated—especially any salt. To begin, remove the laces on your boots. This allows you to clean, and later weatherize, every part of the leather. Once that’s done, take a damp cloth and clean off any current build up. If you come across any extra tough salt stains, you can create a mixture made of equal parts white vinegar and water to remove them. Do a quick spot check to see the effects of the solution before applying it to any salient parts. Once the shoes are dirt free, let them dry fully before moving to the next step.
Do this as you normally would for your leather goods. Conditioning ensures that the boots are in good shape and moisturized before putting the final protectant on them. You’ll want to give the conditioner time to soak in before the last step.
For this phase, you’ll need some type of water protectant. To get an effective, lasting layer against the weather, consider waxes, like Obenauf’s or Sno-Seal, which provide the heavy-duty protection your boots need to survive through the winter. These products seal your footwear, keeping ice, snow, and slush from ruining the leather. Once applied, let your boots dry out, put the laces back in, and then you’ll have weatherized boots ready to be worn out into the elements.
Just make sure you’re cleaning off any salt that gets on your boots so they stay looking sharp.