My Best Tips for Winter Shoe Care

Nov 8, 2022

Last week, it was 65 and sunny with chilly mornings.  Yesterday, it snowed three inches and the temperature won’t rise above freezing for at least two weeks.  Wonderful.  Everything I could have hoped for. I’m so ready for this.  Not convinced?  Well, at least my shoes are ready for the impending winter blahs.

Living in the Pacific Northwest, the winters are wet and snowy.  Combined with the road salt and sand sprinkled on the sidewalks, winter is murder on nice shoes.  Here are some tips for keeping your shoe wardrobe winter ready.

Prep Your Shoes. Crep Protect is the best shoe protectant spray that I have ever used.  The spray works on everything from sneakers to stilettos. It’ll even keep suede looking like new on rainy days.  For best results, apply two coats.

Kill the Smell. Have a pair of your shoes picked up a funk?  The easiest way to remove that odor is to spray them with a mixture of vodka and water.  Cheap vodka is also a good deodorizer for sweaters, blazers and other clothing that you don’t want to wash after every wear.

Wipe It Off. So many times, I walked to a nighttime event in D.C. only to discover upon arrival that my shoes were covered in the white film of road salt.  To save my shoes, I started carrying individually wrapped leather wipes.  You can also buy them in a large pack to keep in your closet or desk.

Brush Up Your Suede.  Suede shoes look great, but they take a little work to maintain.  This suede eraser and brush combo lets you remove stains and freshen up your suede at the same time.  Need to clean your suede?  Unsurprisingly, Ugg makes the best suede cleaner on the market.

Fix Wet Shoes. If your leather shoes get wet on your commute, it’s tempting to put them next to the heater to dry out, but this can ruin your shoes.  Instead, stuff them with newspaper or paper towels to absorb the water, and then hang them on a cedar shoe tree so they retain their shape.

Replace Your Heel Tips. Ever been walking down the hallway at work and heard the tell tale click of an uncovered high heel nail hitting the floor. While you should have a good cobbler on standby (many dry cleaners also fix shoes) for major repair, there’s no reason to pay a professional to replace your worn out heel tips.

You can buy a box of tips and the necessary tools to replace them at home.  It takes a few tries to get the hang of it, but it will save you damage to your shoes and money in the long run.

A Quick Fix Shine. No time to shine your shoes, but they’re looking a bit iffy?  Spray a little bit of Pledge on a soft cloth to give the leather a bit of its gloss back.  Or you can keep an instant shine sponge on hand to freshen your leather back up.

Have any shoe tips to share with your fellow readers?  Leave them in the comments.

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  1. Anna says:

    On the vodka subject – does everyone dry clean an evening gown after one wear? It was cold, i danced for 1 song, no smell, no stains. I was tempted to not dry clean it, but then was afraid it would be bad to store like that since who knows when i will wear it again. But I feel like dry cleaning is so harsh that it will do more damage.

    • Belle says:

      Spray it with a dilution of vodka and water, only on the inside. Then hang it up (not in the closet) to air out for a bit.

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