It never fails. Even though we know winter is on its way (the thermometre begins to drop, frost forms) we delay going to the mall to buy a decent pair of cool-weather boots. And then, the second the snow starts to fall, we scramble to find a Sorel we'll enjoy wearing, immediately pop them on our feet and walk into the winter wonderland that awaits.
The only problem is we end up dropping all this money on a pair of boots only to skip the most important step in shoe maintenance: protecting them from the elements.
"Salt and snow can wreak havoc on footwear," says Adrian Mainella, a Canadian fashion journalist and TV personality and spokesperson for Tana. "It's important to protect all shoes and boots with a protectant spray... before the first wear and after every time you clean your shoes. It creates a barrier that repels the elements, and also makes cleaning easier."
For Mainella, doing the following three things is an absolute must if you want your shoes to last for more than one season.
If you don't take the time to clean your shoes regularly, not only will they lose their sheen, dirt and salt will get into the shoe's seams and slowly eat away at the strength of the shoe's fibres. And, if you can believe it, there's a right and wrong way to clean a pair of your slip-ons. "Use a damp shoe buffing cloth (shammy) to wipe off dirt and salt stains, or apply a... cleaning lotion with a soft shoe cloth for stubborn salt stains. The cleaning lotion also nourishes and moisturizes the leather," says Mainella. Once you're done...
Once your shoes are nice and clean, the next step in your shoe-care process is to apply a wax polish. Mainella says it's important to match the colour of the polish you're using to the shoe or boot. From there: "Apply the wax all over the leather in a circular motion until all surfaces are covered." You can also apply a liquid wax to the shoes. "The liquid wax has a sponge applicator attached. Whichever polish you prefer, once applied, use a dry shoe cloth (shammy) to buff the boot/shoe to a lustrous finish."
The final step in any shoe-care regimen involves using an all-protect spray to actually prevent salt, grime and dirt from sneaking into the seams of your shoes. "Hold the can 12 to 15 centimetres away from the boot/shoe and spray the entire surface evenly. Ensure you spray all surfaces including seams, especially along the sole. A light touch goes a long way," says Mainella. "Once dry, another layer can be applied if you wish." This step is important, he says, because the protectant spray creates a barrier that seals in the shine. A protective barrier also makes it easier to clean and extend the life of footwear. His suggestion? "It's a good idea to spray new footwear before first using, in between wears, every time you clean and to extend the life of the footwear." And now...
Think you know your way around footwear? Take this celebrity shoe quiz to find out.