Winterproofing Your Leather Goods

Snow and freezing temperatures are on the horizon and with that, salt and slush aren't far behind to eat away at your leather goods. Luckily, there's still time to protect your leather, whether it's shoes, boots, or bags, so they can look great through another harsh winter.

The first (and best) step towards winterizing your leather goods is to apply a protector like Sno Seal or Obenaufs LP. Both are beeswax-based and create a breathable barrier to protect the leather from the elements. They also contain oils that hydrate leather to keep it from drying out and cracking. You can find out more about them here: Sno-Seal, Obenaufs LP.

The next step is to clean off any dirt or salt after trudging around in the muck. Any leather that has come in contact with the ground, snow, dirty car or otherwise must be cleaned off after bringing it inside. While there are products created specifically for this role, a damp cloth or paper towel should be fine for removing any dirt or salt. Don’t just limit the cleaning to the obviously dirty spots: salt may not necessarily show up on the leather initially and brown leather may hide the dirt. It’s good practice to give the entire item in question a once over. Failing to do so, the outer layer of the leather will be eaten away over time, exposing the less durable inner layers and significantly lowering the lifespan of it.

Finally, if any leather gets wet, be sure to let it air dry and keep it away from heat sources--radiators, pipes, etc--which will cause the leather to dry out. If you’re trying to dry out shoes, it’s best to use cedar shoe trees, which not only absorb moisture, but also help maintain the shape of the shoe. Short of that you can stuff the leather good with newspaper to help it dry out.

To learn more about routine leather maintenance, check out our Leather Care page here