Shoe Care for Wet Spring Weather
You’ve been dying to pack away the winter boots and pull out your springtime shoes or cute booties (or maybe you’ve been wearing them all winter?!), but with all that melty, sloppy wet slush you’re worried you’ll ruin your shoes before anyone even sees them. Or maybe you just stepped in a slush puddle that was deeper than you thought and now your shoes (and possibly your feet) are all wet.
Either way, here are some tips to keep your shoes (and feet) dry and comfortable while you flash those ankle bones a bit this spring.
Determine Your Shoe’s Needs
What your shoes or boots are made of will determine what type of product to use to care for them. You will also need to consider if the shoes are already waterproof or water resistant, as that will make a difference in the care routine as well.
Waterproof vs. Water Resistant
“Waterproof” shoes generally have a membrane built into the shoe to let water vapor (like foot sweat) escape your shoes while keeping water droplets (rain, puddles, etc.) from getting in.
“Water Resistant” on the other hand has had some kind of treatment, like Scotchguard, already applied to the shoe’s surface.
Both of these options are ready to go for sloppy weather right out of the box, but water resistant shoes can still get wet and may need additional protection added after a while.
Shoes made with synthetic leather should not have any care products applied because it can break down the materials or discolor the shoes. For these, it’s best to just wear rain boots or something else while outside and switch to your shoes with synthetic leather once you’re safely out of the wetness.
All Other Materials
There is some hope for most other shoe materials out there for weather-protecting them. Read on to find out how!
Protect Your Shoes
Here are a few of our featured care products to help you weather-protect your footwear. *NOTE: these products do not make your shoes waterproof, they just provide some extra protection from raindrops or a little puddle splash.
With all these products, please read instructions on the package carefully so as to not destroy your shoes and provide the best protection.
Four Seasons Weatherguard Water & Stain Repellant
Good For: Leather, Suede, Nubuck, and most other materials too!
You can spray Four Seasons Weatherguard Spray on most materials: leathers, canvas, mesh, and it doesn’t have to be just for shoes either! We have customers that spray this on their purse or jacket to help repel water and stains too!
Four Seasons Leather Balsam or Dansko Beeswax Conditioner
Good For: Smooth or Oiled Leather
These products are great for making smooth or oiled leather shoes more water resistant, and also for conditioning the leather to keep it soft, smooth, and scratch-free. Simply apply a small amount with your finger or applicator and rub in until absorbed. It will darken the leather slightly, but makes it oh so soft!
Birkenstock Cork Sealer or Kelly’s Cork Renew
Good For: Cork-exposed midsoles
Cork is a very porous material and when it absorbs water it breaks down, so keeping it sealed from the elements is essential to keeping your shoes looking new.
Both of these products work great, and the Birkenstock Cork Sealer comes as part of a whole care kit, but the Kelly’s brand is my favorite simply because of the application method.
The cap of the Birkenstock brand sealer is removed to expose a sponge tip applicator that is too wide for most of the shoes I use it on, and I make a big mess trying to get it only on the cork and not everything else. The Kelly’s brand is applied with a brush that is affixed to the cap and gives you more control over where the glue-like substance is applied.
Wear Other Shoes
Your other option for keeping your shoes and feet dry are just to wear other shoes while you’re outside and switch to your cute spring footwear once safely out of the elements. Here are some of our favorite options we carry at Benders.
Xtra Tuf Men’s Ankle Deck Boot
Why we love it: This rubber boot is 100% waterproof so you don’t have to worry about getting your feet wet.
Why we love it: Another 100% waterproof boot that is so lightweight it packs down into your purse or bag.
Waterproof Hiking Boots/Shoes
Why we love them: Hiking boots and shoes are so versatile and rugged, and the waterproof versions have the built-in membrane that lets sweat escape but doesn’t let water droplets in, keeping your feet nice and dry. Just be warned – they are only waterproof to the top of the gusset (where the tongue meets the rest of the shoe), so no deep-puddle jumping!