1) Protect your boots from rain, snow and spills. The ultimate protective spray to invest isn't just a 'waterproof' treatment, instead it acts as a repellent against any unexpected winter weather or spills. Leather Spa Water and Stain Protector ($14.95) works on leather, suede and fabric boots allowing a spill or liquid to sit on top of material so you can wipe away the stain before it bleeds into the shoe. You should spray your boots about once a week, applying the protector the same way you would apply hairspray.
2) Moisturize your leather. Just like you need to moisturize your skin to combat the cold weather, you also need to moisturize your leather boots regularly to preserve shine and make the leather last longer. Leather Spa offers a leather conditioner for under $10 that Mesquita recommends.
3) Repair salt or snow stains right away. Avoid the shoe damage that comes along with the "wintry mix" weather forecast by using a salt stain remover after being out in the snow or salty streets. Apply the remover as soon as possible after contact and let it airdry overnight to fix stains.
4) For more durability, add a protective rubber sole. Mesquita advises that the best thing you can do for your boots during the winter, is to add a thin protective rubber sole to an already existing sole in order to extend the life of your soles. Most shoe repair shops offer the service, which varies in price depending on the shoe, but typically ranges from $34 to $40 for slightly worn or new shoes.
5) Keep an eye on your heels. Replace damaged heels sooner rather than later. "Keep an eye on the condition of your heels," Mesquita says, "The longer you wait to have them fixed, the more money it is going to cost you." Instead of waiting until heels are no longer walkable, monitor their condition regularly and have them replaced when they start to wear down in order to have a less expensive fix.
6) Keep boots in shape with boot trees. Uphold the shape of tall boots by storing with a bootshaper. Leather Spa offers an adjustable bootshaper ($19.95) which matches the width and height of your shoe (and its gold hue also makes for a chic display).
7) Invest in the must-haves for suede boot care. While your leather boots can handle a run-in with rain or snow, your suede boots cannot. The essential products to take care of suede are a suede brush and suede eraser. The suede eraser acts the same as a pencil eraser in that it leaves little dustings when applied to suede, the eraser gets rid of shiny spots on suede after the fabric has been worn or faded down. The brush should then be used to brush off dustings and rebuff the suede and can also be used to remove dirt.
8) Use leather creams to treat scuffs or color fading. An easy fix to a scuff or discoloration is to apply a leather cream with a small brush. Leather Spa offers leather creams ($5.95) in over 25 different colors to match your favorite pair of boots. For more extreme fading, tears or scuffs, bring your boots into a repair shop to have them handle. "When a stronger touch up is needed, we have leather cream products that have more pigmentation—they aren't sold to customers typically because of the strong fumes."
9) Wipe down boots at the end of each wear. At the end of every day, wipe down your boots with a dust bag to remove any dust or dirt that has accumulated.
Via Harper's BAZAAR
Photo by Terry Richardson