I live for winter and the excuse to wear boots every day. It’s also an excuse to give my toenails a rest from polish (my toe nails are nude for winter). Boot care isn’t terribly crucial here in the middle of our California drought: No snow and not much rain either. But I got to experience the real deal when I flew back to Fargo, North Dakota in January to be with my mother who was hospitalized after a bad fall.
She was in the hospital for four weeks and my home base was a hotel right across the street from the emergency room entrance. On warmish days–and there were several!–I would walk downtown a few blocks and have a bowl of soup or a coffee somewhere. This was boot country, for sure. I was so delighted by the variety of boots I saw. I guess I expected that snow country would mean people were primarily wearing utilitarian boots, not fashion boots. I was wrong!
So then I had to find out how people kept their boots so clean! While I was there I got some answers from physicians, social workers, people standing in line at the coffee kiosk, and my niece. I shared them in my Tips & Teasers newsletter this month but now I have even more tips!
Covered and cute
Let’s start with Fargo first where I saw so many covered and cute feet. Here’s what I learned about boot care in Sanford Hospital.
- “I change into my good-looking ones once I get to work and keep my wet boots under my desk.”
- “I use a suede brush on my suede boots and brush them after every wearing.”
- “I spray all my boots at the beginning of the season with a protective coating.”
- “I wipe them off as soon as I get inside a building.”
- “I wear the good ones on good days.”
- “I watch where I walk and dodge puddles.”
- “I invest in cute rubber boots to wear on the worst days so I still feel cute.”
And here’s what I learned this week from a Tips & Teasers reader and colleague from Canada.
Anne wrote to me a few days ago:
I’m sitting here in Toronto under sunny skies and temperatures of -25C (-36C with the wind chill) and reading tips about keeping winter boots looking good. When it’s this cold, you tend to ask yourself how many pairs of socks can I wear and still get my boots on. It’s supposed to warm up and snow this weekend so we’ll be dealing with slush and salt stains, again. So, here are a few more tips to add to your list:
1. Clean salt off right away. It can (and does) destroy leather. At the office, a quick wipe with a wet paper towel will prevent salt sinking into the leather.
2.Use baby wipes on your boots if a quick trip to the restroom isn’t possible. Keep a supply in your purse, car and/or desk drawer for emergencies.
3. At home, soak a cloth or paper towel with white vinegar and wipe your boots. Let dry and reapply is needed. Then treat boots with silicone spray or liquid and polish. A couple of coats of clear wax polish will protect the leather.
4. Invest in a product called Boot Rescue (www.bootrescue.ca)–similar to baby wipes but designed specifically for boots.
The next day she added this:
I was out this afternoon in my Rockport lace up knee boots and another thing struck me. We need to celebrate the Goddess of Leggings and Skinny Jeans. I’d be a total mess without her. You can wipe off a pair of boots and still look great. Slushy, salty pant hems not so much.
I agree 100% about the skinny jeans and leggings! Although I did have a pair of flared jeans with me in Fargo, I only wore them on non-snowy days with my cowboy boots underneath them.
Thanks to our expert, Anne Sowden, AICI CIP, an Image and Communications Coach, for sharing these additional tips!
Here’s Anne: www.hereslookingatyou.ca
Now, who else has boot tips to share?? Spring isn’t showing up too quickly in most parts of the country!