Not a design post I know, but still a DIY one.
This was the scene on my kitchen counter this morning – boots, shoe polish, glue and industrial strength clamps. I was fixing my Winter boots, and only one pair is leather. The rest are fake; not plastic looking fake, but definitely disposable by design, and not really built to last. But they are comfortable, and I have had them for almost five years now.
There are a lot of articles on how to winterize your boots, but most of them are on how to preserve and care for leather, not the cheap one’s that I have. So, I thought I would share a few things that I do to keep my beloved, inexpensive faux boots lasting as long as possible.
Clean them gently with a damp cloth, then let dry overnight. By the way, I never remove any decorative hardware or laces to clean, as they might be very cheap and fall apart on you.
Repair any tears or dislocated bits of “leather” with E6000 glue. My friend introduced me to this a year or two ago, and it will fix almost anything – it smells a bit unpleasant, and takes almost a day to dry properly, but it works.
Buy a couple of tins of old fashioned shoe polish. This is a dense waxy paste, costs next to nothing, comes in a lovely little round tin in most supermarkets, and is wonderful for covering marks and water-proofing your fakes. I wouldn’t recommend swimming in your boots after using this, but for normal puddle-jumping it will at least give you a fighting chance. Dab it on in layers, and buff the heck out of it when you are done, because it will permanently stain your clothes and the floor of your car if you let it. Wear gloves if you are protective of your hands/manicure, but if not, just scrub with Ajax or Comet afterwards. I also wore an apron when I was doing the repairs, because I was wearing one of my favorite dresses and the polish is oil based. I use cotton flannel to apply and buff the polish (my old, ripped pajamas have given me enough fabric to last a lifetime).
Avoid most of the liquid scuff polishes that come with a foam applicator. They are usually water based, a temporary solution at best, and will just accelerate the demise of your fakes.
If your boots are looking inexpensive, change the color. Buff them with a darker shoe polish. I have a new pair of brown boots that I have never worn, because although they are comfortable, the color was a little too light in the caramel department for me, so I rubbed in some black shoe polish, then buffed it off. It gave them a warm, vintage look which means I can now wear them with almost anything.
Repair cheap, plastic heel scuffs with a few swipes of a Sharpie or magic marker. I do this regularly, no-one can see, and it lasts until you scuff it off again.
Care for your zippers before they break. Close them, then use a graphite pencil, a bit of oil (almond, olive or canola) or a plain candle, to rub down the teeth of the zip. Open it and do the same; run the zip up and down so whatever you have used gets in all the nooks and crannies.
Store your boots upright. I always thought this was only for very posh boots, but last year I noticed that where they had bent and crumpled in the closet, the pretend leather had cracked and peeled off. There are a ton of boot trees for sale out there, but now I just use an orange styrofoam pool noodle, cut in pieces, to keep them mine upright.
Hope this helps!
For more by Wendy and the Blue Giraffe, go to: http://www.thebluegiraffe.com/