Save Your Sneakers This Winter—Here’s How
Everything you need so that you can wear your favorite Jordans all year round.
Sure, when the cold weather hits, you know it’s time to trade in your sandals for boots and your open-toed heels for thigh-highs. But what about your sneakers? The shoes that so faithfully took you all through summer, and allowed you to comfortably walk from destination to destination for hours on end? We don’t know about you, but at Coveteur HQ, we’re not ready to give up our kicks just yet, nor do we think we should have to. There’s no doubt salt and snow will take their toll on your sneakers, but there are preventative measures you can take so you don’t end up buying your same favorite pair four times this year. Different materials have different saviors, but there is one tip that works across the board: If your sneakers get soaked (which they will), do not by any means prop them over a radiator (as you did with your boots as a kid) unless you want them to crack (which you don’t). Instead, stuff those babies with newspaper to draw out the water, and let them set for a day or two. Pay close attention to all of the other tips below so that you can be the one with the freshest sneaks all winter long.
It’s pretty much a given that leather protector is going to be your sneakers’ best friend this time of year, but don’t go overboard with each application. Instead, remember to reapply every two weeks or so. Two to three thin layers is just the right amount when it comes to this stuff, and be sure to let each coat dry before applying the next. Even with leather protector, the leather on your sneakers will dry out (and potentially crack!) in cold weather, so apply leather conditioner (mink oil works like a dream) on a regular basis—weekly is perfect. Another tip: Never allow any slush or snow to dry on your boots, otherwise you’re essentially asking for salt stains. Dab it away the minute you step inside.
Ah, suede, the coziest and softest sneaker material. It’s also the finickiest. There’s no doubt that it’s made a huge comeback as of late, so we’re going to go ahead and assume that you all have at least one pair of suede sneakers kicking around (get it?). Another thing we’re not doubting? That it’s the absolute worst material to keep clean. Thankfully, such things exist as suede erasers, plus brushes to rub away all impurities. If you can’t get your hands on either of those, a white pencil eraser or toothbrush will work just the same. If the suede falls flat, don’t fret, as you can fix this by holding your kicks over a bowl or kettle of steaming water.
To be completely honest, canvas is probably the worst choice of material for winter days. To start, it’s not the warmest, and you better bet it’s going to let in a decent amount of water. But we get it, canvas is great, and we can’t wait until spring to wear our new Carhartt Nikes, either. So let’s talk protection. Fabric and upholstery protectors are the way to go with this one. As you did for your leather kicks, apply two to three thin coats of it, allowing each coat to dry in between. Repeat every few weeks.
Surely you didn’t think we would forget about the soles of your sneakers? Aka the most important part of the shoe. The hero product when it comes to winter-proofing your soles is solid beeswax. Rub a good, even layer of it around the entire sole of the sneaker (be sure not to get any on the actual shoe itself, as it prevents breathability), and then run a blowdryer along it to slightly melt the beeswax while continuing to rub it in. This way no water is sneaking in, although we still wouldn’t suggest donning your sneakers outside in the middle of a snowstorm.