Tag Archives: men’s boots

Fall 2015: Time for a footwear check

29 Oct

Alright lads, no matter where you are in Canada, you may be experiencing a spray of El Nino/Hurricane Patricia thatAldo cleaner beat the west coast of Mexico this week. The Weather Network says that half of Canada is affected by the storm as of Wednesday, with high winds and heavy rain.

If you have to go out in this stormy weather, you may have dragged out last year’s boots and coats perhaps to find that you forgot what state you left them in when winter turned to spring. I went into the boot closet yesterday to revisit my footwear and resurrect my winter shoes and boots. Some were in a sorrier state than others and some I had to do a little mending surgery on them, some were ready to move on. To keep your feet dry and hopefully warm, it’s a good idea to take some time and inspect your winter footwear and look for cracks and holes in leather and rubber boots and shoes.

The best thing to do is of course, take your damaged footwear to a shoe repair shop and have someone else do the work, but it can be very satisfying to do the work yourself. I had to mend a pair of dress boots that have been so frequently worn that my foot tore through the side of one of the boots. I had an idea of what to do but verified it by looking on YouTube. Have a look at this short video that shows how to mend tears in leather and adjust accordingly for your footwear:

Another good video shows how to replace lining in your shoes (but I recommend that you keep the sound off).

Depending on the material your footwear is made of, you might try a leather cleaner and then follow up with a moisturizer which will make your footwear more supple and prevent cracks (note that cleaning products are sometimes called “sandal cleaners” but are made for shoes and boots). Aldo does a cleaner-moisturizer in one if you’d rather not do it twice.

The next thing to do is polish and protect your footwear. Kiwi is a trustworthy polish line that will help cover the scuffs on your boots and shoes. Apart from shoe care products, Kiwi offers some good tips on keeping shoes in good condition.

Since we’re in the wet season now, the next step is to protect your footwear to repel the moisture that can cause damage. The Tana All Protector is a good one. Treat your footwear with a spray every 8 – 10 wears, their website says.

It’s amazing what a good once-over on your seasonal footwear can do for your footwear, your image, and even your self-confidence – some people believe that self-esteem is reflected in the way one keeps one’s shoes, so keep this in mind.

Further reading:

Declare war on salt

A little gift for the winter blahs

The sloshed galosh

A little gift for the winter blahs

6 Mar

dirty boots

This winter has been horrendous. Gawd, when will it end? Many of us have reached our winter breaking point: it’s friggin’ cold and I’m at my palest; I’ve been wearing the same clothes for months, salt has eaten my footwear alive, and I just want it to be over!

Take a breath and decide to give yourself a gift and clean your winter boots. An odd gift, I know, but you’ve been neglecting them for weeks and the winter has been so cold for so long that you didn’t even notice that their lower third are white with salt. Have a good look at your boots, pick them up, and bring them into the bathroom.

Clean one boot at a time using the instructions below so you can compare the grimy boot to the clean one. I promise that this will give you a feeling of proud accomplishment that will lift your winter spirits:

You’ll need:

  • about 15-20 minutes
  • dirty, salt-stained winter boots
  • damp rag
  • drying rag
  • spent toothbrush
  • cup of warm water
  • shoe polish, leather conditioner, protective spray

Then:

1. Clean your boots:

toothbrush

Toothbrushes are fantastic cleaning tools

For smooth leathers, use a damp rag to wipe off the surface of your boots. You may have to rinse the rag a couple of times before you’re done depending on the filth level your boot finds themselves in.

Elbow grease may be necessary–this is where the toothbrush comes in handy. Short nylon bristles can get into places a cloth can’t, so start scrubbing with your toothbrush and get the dirt and grime out of boot seams, shoelace grommets, the boot tread, and the texture of the sole. Dip the toothbrush in the cup of warm water periodically.

If and only if your boot is waterproof, you can rinse the salt-stained sole under a warm tap, then rub dirt and salt off with a rag and/or a toothbrush. Dry.

2. Clean your laces: 

Do you tie your boots with dirty laces hardened by salt? Fix the problem by unlacing the dirty strings, then submerge them in warm water working the stains away with your fingers. Add a little soap if you like. Push the water out down the length of the lace, then hang to dry (over the shower curtain) or press water out with a towel. Re-lace when dry.

3. Lubricate your zipper:

As you know, fellas, lubrication is important to anything mechanical–and this includes zippers! If your boot has a zipper and that zipper is salt-dried and sticking, it’s time to clean and lubricate the mechanism. If you’ve had the misfortune of having to replace a boot zipper, you’ll know how much it costs, and this will save you some hard-earned dough.

I looked around and found zipper lubricating info on the web. One site suggested using Vaseline or soap (I tried this but it didn’t work well… uh, was the soap supposed to be wet?), but ended up choosing almond oil for the job. I squeezed a few drops onto a Q-Tip and lightly swept it up and down both sides of the zipper, then moved the lube around by zipping and unzipping the boot several times – worked like a charm! Cooking oils like olive oil may work here too, but not sure if any specific types of oil would react to the plastic zipper teeth, so use at your discretion.

4. Polish and protect:

Your boots are now looking a whole lot better than they did 10 minutes ago. To make your leather boots look better for longer, apply a leather conditioner to keep the material supple, allow to dry, then you can go ahead and use polish to cover the scuffs and bring back the colour. Always spray with a protective spray to ward off the next round of winter filth.

5. Shoe repair:

I can’t stress enough how important shoe maintenance is. You’ve invested in your footwear, so take care of it. You can have your boots re-heeled and re-soled; cleaned, stretched, and waterproofed, so you don’t have to throw this winter’s boots away, just get them fixed. Easier on the earth and more money in your account.

Well done! Wearing clean footwear feels civilized and it will give you a lift, no matter what the temperature. Just remember, only a few more weeks of winter 2014 to go, then spring arrives–hooray!