How to Save Your Kicks
from the Brutal Season Ahead
Freezing temperatures? Check. Frigid winds? Check. Epic snowfalls? Yeah, with plenty more on the way. Winter can be a dangerous mistress and she rarely plays fair. But that doesn't stop us from having to go to work, dinner and holiday parties. Of course, such arctic conditions can beat the hell out of our shoes. Even if you've got a sturdy pair of slush-kickers, you can't expect them to stand up to the winter's rage if you don't treat 'em right. Here are some simple suggestions to protect your kicks and save your feet from the brutal season ahead.
You want to stay grounded when you're navigating the slippery slush and icy sidewalks. And hard-wearing, rubber soled styles or rugged hiker boots will provide the necessary traction. You can also pull some rubber galoshes like SWIMS ($95) over your standard dress shoes.
Sidewalk slush and chemical de-icers will deteriorate even the toughest leathers. Treat your shoes with a protector. Some camps advocate sprays like Kiwi's Protect-All ($10), because they blend into the leather without altering the color. Others swear by more natural products like mink oil or Sno-Seal ($9), a beeswax-based waterproofer that allows the leather to breathe.
Your boots are a bit roomy for a reason. You'll likely be wearing thicker socks, such as a pair of ragg wool or camp socks, that not only add some cushion to your trudging but keep you warm. And okay, they look cool too.
Wet footwear is cold footwear. And that makes for a shitty day. If your shoes or boots are soaked, take them off and stuff them with newspaper, which will help them dry faster without affecting the leather. By the time you need to put your shoes back on, the insides should no longer be damp.
Each winter, the United States uses 18,000 tons of salt on roads and sidewalks which will destroy shoe leather. Here's how to keep your shoes salt-free.