There's no doubt that winter is rough on everything, including on our beloved boots and bodies. Between the rock salt and the slippery ice, the cold, icy months can take their toll. Getting shoes and boots repaired or adjusted during the harsh months can cost a huge amount of money, especially if you need a quick fix. There are several easy and inexpensive repairs that can help you save money on care for your winter boots and shoes as well as stay on your feet.
One of my favorite items to carry around with me, especially during the winter months, is a black Sharpie marker. I'm prone to falling or slipping on ice and it never fails that my black boots and shoes get scraped in the process. Should this happen, go over the scrape with a black Sharpie marker. No one will even notice unless they're inches away from your shoes.
Wet shoes and boots
One of the most uncomfortable feelings is to walk around with squishy feet, which is when the inside of your shoes or boots get so wet that you're squishing around in them until you can take them off. Even worse than squishy feet is how long it takes for the insides of the shoes or boots to dry and how they lose their shape. Take care of both problems by stuffing newspaper in your footwear as soon as you get home. It'll absorb the moisture and will help hold the shape of the shoes and boots. It also helps prevent the awful smell that can occur when moisture builds up.
I wasn't very happy last year when, for the first time, I managed to step in a small rock salt filled puddle while I was wearing suede boots. Although I blotted the shoes dry with a towel, there was still a line of rock salt on my boots and the suede was flattened in some spots. Thanks to my grandmother informing me of an old trick to fix the problems, I was able to save my boots. Once the suede is dry, use your hand to brush away as much of the rock salt as possible, then use a (clean) eraser to remove the rest. To push up the suede, use a clean toothbrush and lightly rub it over the pressed down spots.
Rock salt on leather
One of the most annoying problems in winter is getting a rock salt ring around leather boots. An easy and inexpensive fix that won't cause damage but will easily remove the rock salt is to use a clean soft cloth that's dampened with a water and vinegar mix. No need for scrubbing as it should come right off.
Slipping on ice
Let's face it, many of our more fashionable winter boots don't have such great traction on the bottom. I've fallen and slipped more than enough times as testament to this fact. One of the best gifts you can buy yourself is a traction device. Many quality ones cost between $20 and $30 and slip right over the boots so you can have a better chance of walking down the block without taking a spill. They're also interchangeable from one pair of boots to the next. Many are small enough that you can slip them off when you get to your destination, put them in a plastic bag and throw them in your purse. It's a much cheaper alternative to buying a bunch of new boots with better traction or paying for medical bills after you fall.
The cost of cleaning and repairs to boots and shoes - along with doctor visits from slip and fall injuries - can cost quite a bit of money if you're not careful. Knowing how to deal with certain winter related damage to footwear can help keep you from spending more than you have to all while still keeping your fabulous shoes and boots intact.
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