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Friday 29 November 2013

How to take care of your shoes this winter

It’s one thing to be wrapped up warm in winter (we’ve got your scarves, gloves and coats sorted) but even when you’ve found the perfect winter boot, they're not easy to take care of. Snow, rain, gritted roads and ice are going to play havoc with your brand new shoes. Here are some tips to help keep your lovely winter footwear looking brilliant.

Taking care of your shoes in the snow.

First things first: make sure you invest in a shoe protector or waterproofing spray. There’s no avoiding the elements so you might as well do all you can to battle them. (This has all gone a bit Narnia, have you met a man called Mr Tummnus recently?)

Mr Tummnus doesn't wear shoes, he really has no business being here.

No matter how tempting, don’t put your shoes anywhere near a radiator. Sure, they’ll be all snug and warm when you put them on, but this extreme heat cracks the leather and means your shoes need repairing and replacing quicker. Your soles will split and you won’t notice until you’ve stepped in a puddle and you've got soggy socks.

Clean up any mud from the leather to stop staining, and be patient. Start keeping spare shoes at work if you have to. Radiators will ruin that leather in no time. And it’ll still be cold even when the snow has gone and you'll have nothing to wear but ruined shoes.

What if it rains?

You’re not wearing suede, are you? The very worst thing for suede is water. It's suede Kryptonite. Those lovely suede boots can still be worn in winter and autumn, but on those really bright days when the sun is shining and it’s freezing cold.

Don’t wear these if there’s a high chance of rain.

Even when they’re this pretty. Suede is often quite thin and has no waterproof qualities at all so your toes will be frozen by the end of the day if they get wet.

Wear these instead.

Let’s be realistic: it rains quite a lot in the UK. There are going to be unexpected downpours. If your shoes do get wet, let them dry naturally. If they’re not very sturdy, stuff them with scrunched up newspaper - this will help them keep their shape as well as soaking up any water. Don’t clean any mud of the suede straight away - let it dry and you should be able to remove it with a soft brush (yep, that spare toothbrush should work just fine).

If you’ve got removable insoles, take these out let them air dry. This will stop them from getting… mildewy (so sexy) and they should dry quicker.

Socks can go on the radiator. Mmmm.. toasty.

These will stop your toes freezing.

How do I stop grit and salt stains?

Grit and salt will ruin your shoes if you’re not careful. Don't come in from the pub and forget about them until the next day. This is how your favourite shoes get ruined and forgotten about and beyond repair.

Covering your shoes with a damp cloth for a few hours will definitely help get rid of any salt residue (yep, do this while napping, you mulled wine-soaked boozehound). Giving them a clean with warm water will help the stains and then leaving to - you’ve guessed it - dry naturally. If there’s a bit of colour loss, some shoe polish should sort that and your shoes will look as good as new in the morning. Aren’t you pleased you didn’t go straight to sleep now?

No slipping with those grips.

What about ice?

Caring for your shoes in icy weather is much the same as looking after them in ice or snow - ice melts, after all. But that doesn't mean you can gambol about like Bambi on ice. Making sure you don’t fall on your ace or break your ankle. It’s not enough to be wearing flat shoes, you have to choose a shoe that has some grip. In some snowy countries, women have been known to use stiletto heels as a sort of ‘pick’ to stick into the ice. You are almost certainly not that lady. You’ll be the lady with the sulky face in the plaster cast. Take care out there, fashionable adventurers.

Post sponsored by Shoes International.

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