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Properly care for winter shoes – the best tips

Knew? Winter shoes do not belong on the heater and should not be worn every day! Why this is so and what tips you should also follow for the longest possible shoe life – here you will learn the best tips and tricks.

Taking proper care of winter shoes is not so easy, cold, wet and muddy conditions are a challenge for all materials. What to look out for.

How do wet shoes dry out quickly?

So annoying wet shoes are – one should not accelerate this process. "Under no circumstances should they be placed on the heater or treated with a hair dryer. Then they become brüchig and cracked", says Claudia Schulz of the Federal Association of the Shoe and Leather Goods Industry. Instead, absorbent papers such as newspaper pages and rolls of paper that are stuffed inside the shoe are helpful.

And then they need time to dry. Only when there is no more moisture in them can the shoes be treated with a color-matching shoe polish or other care products, depending on the material. These must be allowed to work in well, after which they can be polished. Afterwards, the shoes must be re-impregnated.

Is it true that shoes should not be worn every day?

Indeed, it makes sense to have several pairs of change winter boots. "Even if the shoes have not become very wet, you should always wait one or two days before wearing them again", explains Claudia Schulz.

This applies to all closed shoes in all seasons. Because moisture collects in the materials, daily up to a shot glass full. Therefore, the shoes must be able to dry out. "Leather shoes have this resting time particularly nötig. They need up to 20 hours to dry", says Arno Carius, Präsident of the Central Association of the German Shoemaker Trade.

It is best to use a shoe tree when the shoes are not worn. In this way, one avoids wearing creases. It is important that the shoe tree is made of unvarnished wood and has the right size. Under no circumstances should shoes be placed in plastic bags, otherwise mold can form.

Shoe bags made of cotton or linen are an alternative to taking up space on the shelf. "Cardboard boxes in which the shoes were bought are also practical", says Claudia Schulz. "If you stick photos of the shoes on the fronts, no pair will be forgotten."

How do I prevent wet feet in the shoe?

No shoe should be left in front of the door in autumn and winter without being cleaned, regardless of whether they are new or have been worn for a long time. This keeps off water, but also dirt better. Depending on the wear and nässe you should therefore also repeat from time to time. "The imprägnier and care product usually offered at the checkout when buying shoes is quite useful if it is a high-quality product", says Claudia Schulz.

A tip on how to use it: Imprägnier sprays should never be used indoors, but only outdoors.

Winter shoes care with what spray?

No. "80 percent of shoes today are no longer made of leather, but consist entirely or partly of synthetic materials", says Arno Carius. "It depends on the material how the shoe has to be cared for. Unsuitable products can damage or even destroy it"

Genuine leather in particular is quite sensitive, says Schulz. Here, care products should be used that are expressly suitable for this purpose. But suede needs different imprägni protection. And Bernd Glassl of the Industrial Association for Body Care and Detergents adds: “Because of their open pores, shoes made of suede should be impregnated more frequently and more thoroughly than shoes made of other materials;

There are also special products for high-tech materials or other fabrics and for artificial leather. If you are unsure whether the leather is real or artificial, you will find the corresponding symbols in or on the shoe.

By the way: for textile uppers and shoes made of material combinations, the basic impregnation has another positive effect. Since it also protects against soiling, the shoes need to be cleaned less frequently. And this, in turn, prolongs their life.

What is the best way to remove dirt?

"Surprise: Good old shoe polish is taboo for many materials, according to the experts. "Shoe polish is generally not suitable for shoes made of synthetic materials. It would leave unsightly stains", says Arno Carius. "Such shoes are cleaned with special sprays or cleaning foam." Also suede and suede should not be cleaned with shoe polish.

Snow that remains on the ground is a challenge, because it usually contains road salt. The dirt can be dissolved with water and a mild detergent, but this is not always enough. For tough stains, a mixture of two parts water and one part vinegar that is not too strong will help,” says master shoemaker Carius. "If you work carefully, it even works on leather shoes."

Also interesting time for boots! The 6 most beautiful trends for autumn

How do I get my winter shoes through the summer?

Ideally, the thick boots and lace-up shoes should be well cleaned and fitted with a shoe tree in the closet during the summer, waiting for their next use in the cold season.

If you have taken the trouble to take good care of your winter shoes after the end of the cold season, it will be easy for you the next time you put them on: Just remove the dust with a soft cloth, impregnate them well and you’re ready to go. That way, the shoe can withstand rain, snow and mud,” says master shoemaker Arno Carius.

With material from dpa