It is raining in Limuru! Raining hard in the last two weeks. Bet it is also raining where you are. The streets, the grass, the pavements are wet, and our shoes are undergoing a war of sorts-keeping your feet comfortable and warm, while withstanding the elements being thrown at them.
But, are you returning the favour? Are we taking care of our shoes as they do, our feet? Or, at the end of the season, will we see leather shoes like this:
Leather footwear can manage tens of thousands of flexes. A persistently wet and dried shoe will only last a fraction of these uses.
Leather is nothing but animal skin which is made up of fat and proteins can only retain a set amount of moisture after being cured and tanned. The fibers that criss-cross each other in the hide, give leather its unique strength, but are also very susceptible to drying out and cracking if not treated with care.
Water can and will destroy the suppleness of your shoe’s leather. Water warps the shape of the shoe in an undesirable way. And water cracks your shoes.
Here are some tips on keeping your leather in tip-top condition in this weather:
- Never wear your new shoes in the rain until they have been worn about 3 or 4 times. They need to be broken in slowly, rather than taken straight into the war front
- If your shoes do get wet, put newspaper. Let them dry at room temperature for at least 48 hours before you wear them again. Wick off the water right away or use a dry rag or towel if available to wipe off the water. Pull the moisture from the inside of the shoe. This can be done with newspaper or a small dry towel. The key is to draw the moisture out, so every hour or so replace the moist paper with dry paper. Depending on the extent of the soaking, this could take from two hours to two days.Wet sole leather will wear out twice as quickly as dry sole leather.
- If you are walking through wet surfaces, it is really important you treat your leather with care immediately you reach your destination. A simple, brisk wipe off will suffice.
- If you live in salty areas like Mombasa, have you noticed your leather shoes get a whitish stain? That’s salt, and it is hard to remove. Wiping your shoes off immediately you get inside will prevent this.
- Despite what you might think, leaving your shoes next to a heat source only makes the problem worse. Let them dry slowly at room temperature. If you heat them you will cause the moisture to leave too quickly and greatly increase the chance of the leather cracking. Cracked leather cannot be repaired.
- Wipe down your leather shoes after walking through the slush!
- Polish your shoes regularly. Polish them with plenty of polish and allow them to sit with the polish on as long as possible. Ideally let the polish stay on overnight. Make sure you get plenty of polish into the welt and the crack between the upper and the sole.
- Conditioning and polishing the leather will help keep your shoes in tip-top shape and ready for whatever you throw at it. Think of it like moisturizing your skin after showering. If you don’t moisturize, you dry out, skin gets rough and cracked, etc. Your leather shoes work the same way.
Rainy Weather bonus
Wear good shoes – Be sure your shoes/boots are not only suitable for what you are doing, but also for the conditions you will or could encounter. Choose styles which are warm, breathable, and are waterproof.
Layer appropriately – Don’t assume that wearing extra socks will keep your feet warmer. Layering socks can be too much of a good thing, especially if you tend to have sweaty feet. Over layering your socks can cause your feet to overheat and sweat, which means you now have a wet sock, which can actually end up making your feet colder..and smellier.
Look good!- Rain doesn’t give you a license to look all grumpy and sore. You can dress for the rainy weather and look magnificent at it! Check out this article by blogger stylifiq on how to look hip in boots.
Wear boots-They cover the ankles well.
Pic/content courtesy: Real Men Style