If you happen to catch me out and about in the midst of summer, odds are I’ll be wearing some kind of floral dress with lace-lined flats and a matching cardigan. If you catch me out and about in the midst of winter — well, odds are I won't be out in winter because I probably decided catching up on Netflix in an adult onesie was a better idea. It’s hard to be fashionable when you know there’s a world full of ice, snow, and salt out there, and it’s all just waiting to destroy whatever article of clothing you happen to put on that day.
The biggest bearer of winter abuse? Our feet, and unfortunately for me and everyone who agrees with me, shoes can entirely make or break an outfit. Even leggings and a baggy sweater can look put-together with the right pair of calf-high leather boots, but therein lies the problem: No one wants to wear their good boots out while Mother Nature’s on an ice rampage. Good thing there are tons of ways to waterproof your favorite shoes, so not even Snowmageddon can force you to compromise your fashion sense.
Kiwi Camp Dry Water Rellent , $17, Amazon
Make Canvas Last Longer with This Classic Saddle Soap Cleaner
Pink Miracle Shoe Cleaner, $16, Amazon
This classic saddle soap cleaner has been sprucing up canvas, leather, suede, and nubuck shoes for 20 years, and its nontoxic formula is guaranteed to last for 40 to 60 shoe washes. Remember: Your canvas shoes and sneakers take just as much of a beating from December to March, and this Pink Miracle Shoe Cleaner gets them looking brand-new all over again.
Replenish Dried-Out Leather with This Top-Rated Conditioning Cream
Black Box Leather Conditioner By Honey Leather, $20, Amazon
This water-based leather conditioner cream is made specifically for deep-conditioning leather products, absorbs in 30 seconds, and won't leave a sticky residue behind. The cream restores depleted oils in the leather, and one application to your favorite boots or dress shoes waterproofs them all winter long. The best time to start using this cream is the minute you bring home your new leather shoes — before they even hit the pavement.
Snag The Brush That Removes All Traces of Outside from Your Shoes
Jason Markk Shoe Cleaner Set , $38, Amazon
This top-rated shoe cleaner kit includes a handcrafted wood block brush and a cleaning solution that’s completely biodegradable. It will last for 100 shoes, is effective on most materials, and it's great for working out tough stains when preventative measures weren't enough. I value my shoes just about as much as I value my face, so getting them the best shoe-equivalent of make-up brushes is a great idea.
Repel Water With A Silicone-Based Spray
Kiwi Camp Dry Water Rellent , $17, Amazon
Unlike other sprays out there, one application from this 13-percent silicone spray will keep water rolling off your heavy boots and shoes all season. The formula forms a barrier outside of your shoes, is specially crafted to protect tough materials, and it won’t change the color or texture of the fabric. One user even said reapplying wasn't necessary for four months. (Where was this product when I was a camp counselor, knee-deep in the mud of Maine’s wet season while rounding up 9-year-olds like a sheepdog?)
Erase Salt Stains With A Multipurpose Leather Cleaner
Leather Honey Leather Cleaner, $16, Amazon
This concentrated formula has been getting rid of scuffs, dirt, and salt for 45 years. Not only is the Leather Honey cleaner nontoxic, but it's gentle enough to be applied between conditioning treatments, too. Plus, you'll get more mileage for your buck, as it’s safe to use on your handbags and leather jackets, and it won’t leave behind any residue.
Fight Dirt Stains With The Best-Selling Fabric Protector
Scotchgard Fabric Protector, $11, Amazon
Customers swear by this fabric protector, saying it’s reliable, durable, and almost odorless — and it does double-duty for around-the-house stuff, like protecting your dining room chairs and waterproofing your porch umbrella. If you're traversing a lot of dirty puddles, it's one of the best options for stain-proofing and water-proofing your favorite shoes.
Insulate Thin Boots with This Warm Fleece Liner
Capelli New York Rain Boot Liner , $10, Amazon
These fleece liners are ideal for rain boots, but they can also be worn with your favorite Steve Maddens. The fabric is soft and easily folds over your boot, and that knitted top adds an I-spent-more-than-five-minutes-getting-ready feel to any outfit. Waterproofing is essential, but it only goes so far if the fabric on your favorite shoes is the same general thickness as a grocery bag.
Combat Suede-Specific Stains with This Special Formula
Scotchgard Suede and Nubuck Protector, $12, Amazon
Scotchgard released this number-one, best-selling spray for suede and nubuck leather to keep even your most delicate pair of kicks dry and clean. The technology repels water and oil from suede, is fragrance-free, and is guaranteed to not alter the feel of your velvety-smooth shoes. Wool and canvas are one thing, but suede is something entirely different. This spray makes it possible to wear all of your favorite shoes no matter the weather.
Cushion Your Feet with These Genuine Sheepskin Insoles
Sheepskin Insoles, $14, Amazon
Add these 100-percent genuine sheepskin insoles to your thinner-fabric shoes for extra warmth. They're warm, but the natural fibers are also breathable, so you can turn any pair of shoes into something fit for shoveling the driveway. If your favorite shoes are chic and fashionable, but just not suited for the colder months, these insoles are your answer.
Melt This Top-Quality Beeswax to Waterproof Shoes
Your Natural Planet Yellow Beeswax , $11, Amazon
These 100-percent natural beeswax pellets are the trick you need when it comes to keeping your feet dry (users say this is the ultimate beeswax because of its pleasant, smoky smell). Simply melt it down to a liquid consistency in a double-boiler, apply it to your shoes with a clean towel or a paintbrush, and secure with the heat from a blow-dryer. When you're a big fan of DIY products, this one will be your ultimate winter day respite.
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Images: Fotolia (1), Amazon (10)