How to stop your boots from getting destroyed in the winter

Leather boots require extra attention during the winter.

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Leather boots require extra attention during the winter.
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Shutterstock

  • Rain, snow, and road salt can wreak havoc on your boots during the winter.
  • Before taking your boots outside, condition and weather-proof them.
  • Consider buying a leather protector or suede cleaner depending on the material of your boots.

If you’ve treated yourself to a brand new pair of winter shoes during the holidays, chances are you are probably looking for simple ways to help protect them throughout the long and cold winter season. Road salt, ice, and snow can definitely take a toll on your boots, making it important to invest in the proper cleaning and protective tools.

To help keep your boots standing tall throughout the ice and snow, we spoke to three expert stylists about all the ways you can stop your boots from being destroyed in the winter. Below are some of the helpful hacks they recommend keeping in mind if you are looking to keep your shoes looking as good as new.


Condition and waterproof your boots.

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It’s best to prepare your boots before heading out in rough weather.
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David Becker / Contributor/GettyImages

“Bring new boots to the cobbler and ask for a conditioning and waterproofing treatment on the leather,” said Gloria Cospito, New York-based wardrobe and personal stylist. This can be done every couple of months, she explained. However, if you have a rotation of boots you wear throughout the season, she suggested you can likely get one treatment to last you through the winter.


Add protective half soles.

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Protective soles will keep your shoes in their best shape.
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Nattawuttho/Shutterstock

“Many luxury boots have soft leather soles, which really isn’t great during winter,” Cospito told INSIDER. Ask your cobbler to add protective half soles to your soft-soled boots, she suggested, as protective soles are plastic, waterproof, and add grip to the bottom of your shoe.


Install rubber taps into your heels.

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The heel tends to get worn out the fastest.
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Alessio Botticelli / Contributor/GettyImages

“One of the first places you’ll see wear on a boot is in the heel, usually more so on the outer edge where your feet hit the pavement first,” Cospito explained. To prevent this uneven wear, she suggested having rubber taps installed into the heels before your first wear.


Invest in a horsehair brush.

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A horsehair brush will help you clean suede boots.
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Peter White / Contributor/GettyImages

“It’s always wise to invest in a horsehair brush,” said personal wardrobe stylist and fashion consultant Vanessa Valiente. “You can use this to brush off dirt or to dust off your suede boots,” she explained.


Use nubuck and suede cleaner.

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Invest in some suede cleaner.
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Raymond Hall / Contributor/GettyImages

“Nubuck and suede cleaner can be used to clean your suede boots,” said Valiente. However, before spraying your boots with suede cleaner, she suggested brushing the shoe with a horsehair brush first to help open up the nap and eliminate preliminary dirt and dust.


Buy leather protectant spray.

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Leather should be protected.
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Matthew Sperzel / Contributor/Getty

“Leather protectant spray can also be sprayed on your leather boots,” Valiente said. However, depending on how much you wear your shoes, you will definitely want to re-spray them a couple times a year, she suggested.


Consider buying shoe polish.

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Shoe polish can make a shoe look brand new.
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NurPhoto / Contributor/GettyImages

“Right before winter, I sit down and clean all my boots, polish them up if the color faded, let them dry, and then spray them with leather protectant,” Valiente told INSIDER. Your local cobbler can also polish your shoes if you don’t want to do it yourself, she suggested.


Use white vinegar and water to remove salt stains.

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This hack works especially well on leather.
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Achim Aaron Harding/Getty Images

“Salt is not so great for your boots, as it can degrade and stain leather,” said celebrity stylist Amber Alexandria. To clean salt stains effectively, he suggested wiping your boot down with a soft damp cloth first. Next, he advised mixing equal parts water and white vinegar together, which can be used to gently wipe your boots.


Erase scuff marks with baking soda and water.

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The kitchen staple has many practical uses.
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Flickr/Aqua Mechanical

“Combine baking soda and water and use a soft cloth to rub scuffs out gently on leather boots until they disappear,” Alexandria told INSIDER. Wipe the boot clean and allow it to dry before giving it a final buff, he advised.

Read more: 8 DIY beauty treatments you can use baking soda for – and 3 things you shouldn’t try

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