How To: Look After Your Boots
Beautiful boots ... how to keep them that way. Photo: iStock
It’s time to start wearing boots. Ankle, knee-high, thigh high … this season there is a boot for every occasion, every leg shape, every day. Mud, water, dirt and slush all do bad things to our cold weather favourites. Here’s how to keep them looking lush and make them last more than just one winter.
Weather Proof: Before you even think about putting them on your feet you need to weather proof them. A common mistake is to only use a water-proofer on suede - leather needs it too. Ask you boot maker for a good quality product that will put a water resistant shield between the great outdoors and your shoe.
Resole: This hurts if it’s of the Louboutin red variety but rubber soling extends the life dramatically. It’s best done before you wear them so that the balance of the boot isn’t thrown out. Ask your cobbler to match the sole thickness to that of the heel cover. This might mean replacing that cap too.
Select: How long a pair of boots will last has a lot to so with the type of leather it’s made from. Suede, nubuck, calf and softer grades wear more easily. They scuff, the sag, they can even disintegrate. The hardier the leather the more resistant to wear and tear and the better they will look when worn in. As a general rule: examine the grain closely - the more texture you can see, the sturdier the leather is.
Polish: Treat you boots like you treated your school shoes – they need to be polished regularly. For leather use a clear polish no matter what colour they are. You want a cream based neutral product that will remove scuffs and wipe away grime. For suede use a hard bristle shoe brush to lift the fibre and remove dirt. The best cleaner for patent leather is a chamois – the kind you use on your car post waxing. A little bit of baby oil and a soft baby muslin also work well.
Store: Hands up if you throw your boots into the bottom of your closet and hope for the best? Been guilty of that many times myself. One of the keys to keeping boots in shape is storing them properly. If you have the room, keep them in the box they came in and store them flat. If that’s not possible – stuff the toes with paper or socks to keep the shape. Shoe trees are brilliant for knee-high and up styles as they keep the leg section from sagging out of shape.
Protect: It's not just the outside you need to look after. Always wear tights or socks with your boots (some people don't?!). This will protect the leather against perspiration which can erode the insoles and the leather casing.