How To Protect Your Dress Shoes From the Elements

We all get caught in a rain or snowstorm from time to time during the workweek. A prepared gentleman will likely have an umbrella. But umbrella or no umbrella, your nice dress shoes are still going to get wet. Do you know how to protect your dress shoes from the elements?

If you’re wondering if all this water on your fine leather shoes is a bad thing, you’re probably right. Simply put, when leather shoes aren’t properly maintained and protected, water damage is a very real consequence. It can shorten the lifespan of your shoes and ultimately cost you money.

How Do I Save Wet Leather Shoes?

The workflow of creating exclusive leather shoes by a young craftsman in a shoe workshop.

Though it may be tempting to stick the soaked shoes in front of a direct heat source, like a radiator or fireplace, we strongly suggest against this. Instead, stuffing your shoes with newspaper to absorb the moisture will do the trick! After the majority of the moisture is gone, replace the newspaper with cedar shoe trees.

What If My Shoes Start To Smell Bad?

Funky-smelling shoes are usually caused by bacterial or fungal build-up. An obnoxious “trick” floating around the internet is to put shoes in the freezer. The thought process here is that cold temperatures will neutralize bacteria. While this works for regular sneakers, we highly advise against following this hack for leather shoes.

Throwing your leather dress shoes in the freezer will cause the leather to shrink, and eventually become brittle as you wear your shoes more and more. Instead, find a simple antibacterial spray on Amazon or sprinkle a light layer of baking soda inside of the shoe. Additionally, dryer sheets do the trick as well!

Shoe Shine: More Than Meets The Eye

Shoe shining is by far the best way to protect your shoes from damage in the rain. Most people have the preconceived notion that shoe shining is purely for aesthetics. However, regular shining can be as important as using shoe trees. It can prolong the life of my finest dress shoes.

In order to properly care for your shoes, shine your shoes regularly, which should include a hydrating process and a sealing process which usually gives the shine effect. When shoes are not shined, they are in danger of being damaged. However, if shoes are dry too, they are in danger of being even more damaged. A good rule of thumb is to get your shoes shined every 90 days. This regular cycle will fall in line with the different seasons of the year, protecting your shoes from rain, shine, or salt.

Get a Rotation Going

We know your favorite pair of cap toes look great, but if you wear them every day they are going to be beaten to hell in a few months. Like your garments, the more you wear your shoes, the faster they’re going to wear out. If you already have a few pairs of dress shoes, be sure to get a rotation going.

Wear your pair of black dress shoes on Monday and Wednesday, your brown ones on Tuesday and Thursday and your loafers on Friday. By getting a rotation going, you allow ample time for the leather and shoe to rest. This plays a big role in protecting and extending the longevity of your shoes.

Know When to Rock Them

Another thing to keep in mind is your commute. If you have a commute that relies heavily on walking and public transportation you might want to consider wearing tennis shoes to and from work. We know it’s blasphemy, but wearing your tennis shoes significantly reduces the amount of wear and tear on your dress shoes.

The last thing we want is for some jabroni with his face in his phone to step on and mark up your pair of walnut strands. This can also apply to weekends when you go out. If you know you and your crew are going to get rowdy, opt for a pair of shoes you don’t mind spilling beer on.

Wrap Up: How To Protect Your Dress Shoes From the Elements

Leather can last a long time. But just like any natural material, it will break down over time. When water soaks into the sole and doesn’t quickly dry, it can eat away at the sole. But by following the advice outlined above, you’ll be in good shape.

By following these tips, you will keep your shoes looking as good as the day you bought them.  Have another home remedy? If so, help out your fellow gentlemen and share it in the comments.