Learning that a veteran shoemaker once ruined a pair of his own beloved leather boots is akin to a seeing master baker burning a pie crust, or finding out that your retirement planner lost a third of your savings on an ill-advised deal. But bad things happen to good people all the time — and that includes To Boot New York’s founder and designer Adam Derrick.
“I was out late one night trudging home through the snow,” Derrick said on a recent fall day, discussing how he keeps his boots in shape in fall and winter weather. “When I got home, I thought they were just wet, but usually where there’s snow there’s salt. And I didn’t remove the salt. I just kinda put them in the closet, and when I pulled them out a week later, the salt had eaten through the finish into the leather, and they were pretty much a goner.”
That cleaning salt off a pair of leather or suede boots is an absolute imperative is just one tip we learned on a quest to find out how to make a pair of boots last longer. (Loris Spadaccini, the vice president of men’s design at the new-ish Italian shoe brand M.Gemi, was more succinct: “Salt is the enemy of leather,” he said.)
From which products you need to keep your boots in shape to how often you can get away with wearing the same pair, read on for expert advice on getting the most mileage out of one of your biggest wardrobe investments.