How To Protect And Maintain Your Work Boots In The Winter - A Detailed Guide

How To Protect And Maintain Your Work Boots In The Winter - A Detailed Guide

Winter comes with everything, including snow, blizzard, and damp weather, which is not good for your work boots at all. The shoes could get wet, collect the yucky white salty residue of the icy streets, or the leather could simply get cracked. However, worry not! Being proactive about it and taking some maintenance tactics will help the boots survive the bad weather. If you need to work outside throughout the year, you need to take action to save your favorite shoes from Mother Nature. Learn how to protect, maintain, and store the work boots in winter, so they can serve you for a longer time.

The Ultimate Winter Care For Your Work Boots

How To Protect And Maintain Your Work Boots In The Winter - A Detailed Guide

When you work every day outside in bad weather, the shoes need special care every day, not just once or twice a week. You might be exhausted at the end of the day but daily care is necessary if you want the boots to last for several years.

In three separate sections, we will discuss how to take care, protect, and store your boots in winter, so they look new in the spring too.

Wintertime Care for Work Boots

Here are some effective tips for taking care of your work boots if they are exposed to winter weather.

  1. Don’t keep the shoes wet

When it’s raining or snowing outside, it’s normal for the shoes to get wet. However, try to dry them up immediately after coming home. Remember that any wet place is a breeding ground for fungus and bacteria. These things cause not only odor but also various foot diseases.

A boot dryer seems to be the best option for natural drying. You don’t even need to remove the insoles during the drying process. It’s safer for leather shoes that may crack if you keep them close to any source of high heat.

  1. Avoid direct heat for drying

We all want to wear a pair of fresh, dry boots when going to work on a winter morning. But it becomes challenging when you don’t have a dryer. One solution could be keeping the shoes in an open place that has indirect sunlight. You can also keep them in a warm place overnight. Stuffing the shoes with newspapers will help with soaking extra moisture. Along with quickening the drying process, it will also help the long boots to keep their shape.

However, don’t keep them near to a heater or flame. Direct heat is never good for any type of shoe material. It will dry up and crack genuine leather and shrink synthetic leather and fabrics.

  1. Clean road salt immediately

In most areas, salt is used for deicing the snowy roads. While salt keeps the roads clear, it’s bad news for footwear. It quickens the deterioration of all types of shoes by damaging the fabric and leather and tarnishing the metalware. Also, salt stains on leather boots are quite hard to remove.

After coming back home, clean the shoes with a cloth damp with lukewarm water. A mixture of baking soda and water will also help with removing the ugly stains. There are also many desalting agents in the market, so choose the one that will suit the fabric of your shoes. If the manufacturer has any recommendations for the shoes you wear, follow that.

  1. Use moisture-wicking socks

You might be wondering how socks can safeguard shoes from bad weather. Well, they can but it has to be a pair of good-quality moisture-wicking socks. They absorb moisture from your feet and release it into the air, keeping the feet as well as shoes comfortable.

  1. Freshen up the boots

Shoes can easily develop a bad smell during winter because of not drying up properly or staying wet for long hours. Odor also indicates the possibility of growing bacteria or mold. So, you need to freshen them up unless you want to annoy your colleagues with smelly shoes.

Getting rid of shoe smell is quite simple actually. Just wash the insoles and add plenty of baking soda inside the shoes. Keep it overnight and brush the soda in the morning before wearing the shoes.

How To Protect The Work Boots In Winter

How To Protect And Maintain Your Work Boots In The Winter - A Detailed Guide

Work boots are expensive and vital for workplace safety. So, you can save a lot and keep yourself safe at work by focusing on the winter protection of work boots.

1. Waterproof the shoes

“Prevention is better than cure”, so the best way to treat the shoes is waterproofing them before exposing them to rain and snow. There are plenty of water repellent products on the market that can provide super protection during the wintertime. If you can pick up the right product, your shoes will be able to withstand the harsh environmental elements.

2. Apply a protective coating for stains

A protective coating can save the shoes from water and salt stains. Remember that there are separate products for leather, suede, and fabric materials. Also, you should condition leather shoes after removing salt stains.

3. Purchase alternate shoes

Buying a second pair of shoes for the winter season would help both pairs to survive without any damage. How? Well, the condition of work boots deteriorates quickly during winter because they don’t have enough time to rest.

Due to the weather condition, it takes time for shoes to get dried during cold months. If you have two or more pairs, you can easily switch between them, allowing each pair enough time to get rested. This will save your money in the long run too as all pairs will survive longer than they would have been if used as a single pair.

4. How to Store the Work Boots

Proper storage is another important part of the total winter care of work boots. If you want to store the shoes in the cold months, you just cannot toss them into a basket. You need to make sure that the shoes don’t get damaged, lose their shape, or develop an unpleasant smell.

5. Don’t keep them on the bare floor

Whether you keep the shoes in the mudroom or in separate storage, don’t keep them on a bare floor, especially for long-term storage. The floor can transmit moisture and pests — none of which is good for shoes.

Use a boot mat or tray to lift the boots off of the ground. A shoe rack would be a nice option too. If the storage area is not climate controlled, keep them in an airtight place, such as a storage bag. The shoes should be cleaned, dried out, and conditioned properly before putting them in a bag.

Storing the shoes in this way not only saves them but also saves the floor from dirt, salt, and moisture from the shoes.

6. Store damp boots in a pebble tray

It’s good to take care of your boots immediately after coming home. Most people don’t do that, though. It’s understandable because that seems quite a hassle after a long day at work.

However, a tray full of pebbles can actually be a lifesaver in this case. Place it by the door and keep the damp shoes on it after coming home. The pebbles will quicken the drying process.

7. Hang the less used boots

Spare work boots that you don’t use often can be stored by hanging. This storage method saves plenty of floor space. You can use boot or pant hangers for a clean and clutter-free look in the closet. There should be a piece of kitchen towel or cloth in between the shoe and the clip to prevent indent marks on the upper material.

8. Maintain the shape

One problem with ankle- and knee-high boots is that they slouch when kept for long-term storage. Such slumping will make them lose their shape permanently.

Wrapping paper rolls, curled paper sheets, newspaper, and floaty noodles can be used for stuffing tall boots and retaining their shape. Empty wine and beer bottles also work well in keeping the boots upright.

FAQs About Work Boots’ Winter Care

Will wearing work boots in the snow damage them?

Winter work boots are specially made to survive hostile weather and outdoor elements. So, they won’t easily get damaged even if you wear them every day during the cold months. However, regular work boots (with no waterproofing treatment) will not survive the ice, snow, and road salt.

Are leather boots good for winter?

No. Cold, snow, rain, and other weather hazards are enemies of leather shoes. They will dry out and crack after a few days. However, some leather work boots are specially treated for surviving bad and cold weather.

Are steel toe boots a good choice for snow?

No. They get cold pretty quickly. Even insulated steel-toe shoes are not any better. But if your workplace demands wearing steel-toe, don’t forget to wear thick warm socks too.

Do composite toe boots get cold?

No, they don’t. It’s because composite-toes are not a good conductor of heat. If you get exposed to cold or wet conditions, your feet won’t be freezing. However, you should still wear a pair of thick warm socks for extra protection.


Your whole wardrobe needs extra care and maintenance during the colder months, so the work boots are not an exception. So, when winter is there, you should be ready with an upkeep plan for the shoes. If you do regular cleaning, drying, and occasional conditioning and waterproof treatment, the shoes will survive many winters to come. Also, follow the storage tips shared in this article to ensure the good health of the shoes. Remember that investing a few dollars will compensate with a few more years out of your work boots.

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