With the the harshest of the winter weather; rain, ice, snow, road salt and bone chilling cold coming our way it can never be too late to think of winter weather shoe care. Generally speaking, men’s dress shoes (and one could argue women’s as well) are not well suited to handle these elements. Road salt is the greatest evil (it dries out and can leave white salt stains on leather) followed by water runoff from buildings, melting snow and roadways. Although many men’s shoes are of a rubber sole this does not make the shoes immune from damage from the winter elements. Leather soles, although they make for a better shoe, are even more susceptible to damage. Quite simply, this is because leather absorbs. The leather in the uppers (basically the shoe minus the sole, or the part of the shoe above the sole) absorbs moisture, like rain. The best way to avoid this is prevention.
The most effective method to fight against these ailments is to wear a different pair of shoes while trudging through inclement weather, such as boots or sneakers. Another option is to don some galoshes or rubber overshoes (like those pictured which are made by Swims, Tingleys and Totes also offer them but most will say Swims is the best), a well fitting pair should adequately shield one’s shoes from damage in all but the harshest weather. I used to wear my Bean Boots and change into my dress shoes when I got to work, but often times it is a pain carrying ones shoes with them. Galoshes are much easier, slip on-slip off. A regular shoe shine can also help but is by no means an adequate preventative measure. Regardless of what method you choose some form of proper care is needed in order to get the full life out of your shoes. And yes, I choose orange for the color of my overshoes, unfortunately there was no ‘raincoat yellow’ color.