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Learn How To Clean Boots For Winter And More

No matter how rugged your boots may look, without proper care, they’re no match to the season’s snow and salt. Before you head out into the elements there are a few things you should know in order to keep your boots looking great for years to come.

The featured image is the Uptown Plain Toe Chukka Boot in Cognac.


Ben Franklin once said that an ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure. That certainly holds true when it comes to taking care of your boots in the winter. With a few exceptions, if you know how to clean leather shoes then you know how to clean leather boots. Follow these steps to get your boots ready for the season.

Clean the leather

For cleaning boots, remove the laces and clean your boots with a slightly damp, soft cloth. A small amount of moisture in the rag helps prepare the leather to accept the conditioning. Work the rag gently over the entire surface of the boot to remove any dust, dirt, or debris.

Protect the leather

Apply an even coat of polish to the boot’s upper. Buff with a soft cloth to produce the desired finish. To help keep water and cold air out, apply generously along any stitching and the seam where the upper meets the sole but remember, nothing will make a fine leather boot completely waterproof. To protect your boots further, apply specially designed leather or suede/nubuck protectant.


No matter how careful you are, your boots will probably get wet and salt stained at some point in the winter. Never fear, with proper care most of the season’s unwanted gifts can be repaired without too much difficulty. When it comes to leather troubles, winter weather has two main culprits, moisture and salt. Each has its own remedy.


Water and leather don’t mix, so avoid ice, snow, and slush as much as possible. If you do get your boots wet, don’t panic and don’t try drying them with hair dryers or by putting them near a radiator. This can crack and permanently damage the leather. Let them dry naturally. To aid the process, stuff the shoes with newspaper. While they are still wet, do not use cedar shoe trees as they are not designed to absorb so much moisture. Once they are nearly dry, condition and protect the leather following the steps above under Prevention.

Salt Stains

Apart from leaving an unsightly white stain, salt damages the leather by stripping it of its moisture, therefore salt stains should be removed as soon as possible. The process is simple, clean the entire boot with a damp cloth, taking special care of areas with stitching and brogue details. Let dry, then condition and protect the leather following the steps above under Prevention.


When it’s time to trade in the boots for a pair of loafers, make sure you store them properly to guarantee they’ll look great when winter rolls around again next year. For best results clean and polish your boots as mentioned above. Next, place a pair of cedar shoe trees in your boots which will naturally absorb moisture and hold their shape. Then, put them in a cotton flannel bag to keep them dust free. Finally, store them in a cool, dry place protected from summer’s heat and humidity.

Wear Overshoes

You should always avoid slush and ice as much as possible. If you know you will be subjecting your boots to these conditions then we recommend that you protect them with a pair of overshoes.

More Information

For a complete list of care products check out our full-line of shoe care products.

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