If you live in an area that is the lucky recipient of tons of winter weather, then you don't need us telling you that dealing with road salt is a daily occurrence during the winter seasons. While it's helpful for preventing road casualties from snow and ice, it's also really awful for your footwear; salt can degrade and stain leather, and unless you know how to properly ward that sodium chloride off, the threat is very real.
For those of us who are sartorially minded, this winter struggle is particularly poignant. We did the research for you so you can easily combat the negative effects of winter road salt on your precious boots, sneakers, and heels. So go ahead and buy that new pair of shoes you've been eyeing with the confidence of knowing they'll last you through the winter. From preventative measures to how to deal with salt on your shoes, we've rounded up everything you need to know. Keep scrolling to learn how to keep road salt from totally ruining your shoes.
Before you go anywhere, you need to add a protective layer to your babies. Buff your leather shoes with a lotion or conditioner that repels dirt, water, and salt. When you step outside into the wintry tundra, your shoes will be much less likely to come back with stains.
Once you get where you're going, you're probably still going to have a delightful buildup of salt, snow, and sludge on your feet. Gently use a paper towel or washcloth to wipe your shoes clean of any grime; this further reduces the risk that salt will soak into the materials and stain them.
If your shoes do end up getting slightly salt-stained, as long as they haven't been sitting for too long, they're not terribly difficult to remove. Mix one tablespoon of white vinegar with a cup of water, then use a clean, soft rag to gently blot the stain out. Apply the mixture sparingly, and let the shoes dry completely before wearing them again.
If your shoes have just about had it with winter weather in general (and not just the accompanying salt), you might need to give them a solid blowout, for lack of a better term. Stuff your soaking-wet shoes with dry newspaper, then leave them out to dry, avoiding direct heat, which can crack and ruin leather; leave the newspaper in overnight to absorb any extra moisture.
Keep scrolling to shop some of our favorite shoes now!