winter boots

Caring for your winter boots

Polishing your shoes regularly is perhaps one of the easiest and cheapest ways towards a more sustainable and long-lasting wardrobe. As a follow-up to the previous post on the wardrobe spring detox, today I want to share what I do with my winter boots once spring is in the air.

I like to store winter coats and boots out of sight over the summer. I usually find it is worth the extra effort, just to be free from dusty boots and big down jackets cluttering the hall cupboard.


Polish your boots

I have read somewhere that you should polish your shoes every two weeks or so. I am not quite at that level yet, I’ll admit. But I have seen what a difference it makes polishing your boots once in a while. I particularly like to do this before putting my winter boots away over the summer. The leather holds much better over time and it makes it a lot nicer to get them out again in the autumn.

Above and below are the ankle boots I have worn daily for three long winters. The left one is polished, the right is not. See any difference?

How to do it

For leather that is scratched or faded, I use a shoe cream that matches the colour of the boot. Traditional hard shoe polish works just as well. First, I wipe the boots clean with a damp cloth and let them dry. Then I use an old rag (or you could use a shoe brush) to work the shoe cream in. Finally, I brush them up with a soft shoe brush for shine (and here you could use an old sock or similar instead).

For leather that is dry but not scratched, I use a clear leather balm instead. This gives the leather moisture and shine, and works as a protective layer against dirt and rain. Again, I wipe the boots clean first and use the sponge that came with the tub to work the balm in. After leaving them for a bit I wipe off any excess with a dry cloth.

Easy-peasy. The whole job is done in about five minutes and immensely satisfying.

I store the boots in shoe boxes or paper bags in our attic. Once I am ready to get them out again in the autumn it feels almost like opening a new box of shoes. That is, new old shoes: handsomely polished, but well-worn and guaranteed comfy. I am telling you, it is worth it.