Prevent winter weather from ruining footwear

February 12, 2014

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Winter in New York City means your shoes will take a beating. After every snowstorm, the slush inevitably piles up at street corners, creating murky, gray puddles that appear solid and can be stepped in accidentally. Additionally, the spread of salt on sidewalks can cause discoloration and other damage to your shoes. Luckily, there are many options in terms of repairing existing footwear and alternatives to your everyday shoes to prepare you for the remainder of winter.

The best shoes for this kind of weather are waterproof boots. Options for waterproof yet stylish boots for men include classic brands such as Timberland and Red Wings. Traditionally, these brands produce work boots, so their products will withstand the most adverse weather. Red Wings’ 815 Men’s 8-inch boot exemplifies how waterproof attire can still be stylish ($285). Red Wings are expensive, but they last when cheaper options fail. When investing in boots, especially in this price range, make sure that the soles are rubber, not plastic.

Rubber soles offer better traction in slippery conditions and will not wear out as quickly as plastic soles.

For women, a classic Hunter boot  ($135) will keep your feet dry and last you a lifetime. These durable, all-rubber rain boots are perfect for any rainy or snowy day.

If you want to repair previously damaged shoes or boots, there are two essential products to have.

Bear Grease can be used to clean, revitalize and waterproof damaged leather ($7.49). Remove any dirt from footwear using a shoe brush before applying the product. Use a cloth to apply the grease and then leave the footwear in a warm place overnight.

If your shoes are falling apart, particularly if the soles are separating, try Shoe Goo ($6). Prepare your shoes by cleaning the area that needs repair. Apply the Goo to both surfaces, press them together and attach rubber bands around the shoe. Leave the shoe to sit for at least 24 hours, checking to make sure it has not separated again.

Both Bear Grease and Shoe Goo are inexpensive options for repairing damaged shoes. However, these products work best on boots and leather footwear and may not work well on other types of shoes, such as sneakers.

The weather will not change anytime soon, and salt and slush have a way of lingering. If you follow these tips, you and your shoes will be better prepared for winter in the city.

A version of this article appeared in the Wednesday, Feb. 12 print edition. Sam Del Rowe is a staff writer. Email him at bstyle@nyunews.com.

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