Sure, your Prada leather ankle boots were made for walking, but that doesn’t mean they don’t need TLC. The only way to ensure that your
boots wardrobe lasts beyond a single season is to protect them and clean them regularly. We break down the lifespan of your leather boots, and how to keep them shiny and polished from the moment they leave the store. Your biggest dilemma now? Wax or polish.

Take care of your boots: Before you wear them

You just bought a pair of black leather ankle boots? Congratulations! It’s a classic
investment purchase that, if proper preventative care is in place before those soles ever touch the ground, will last you several seasons at minimum (plus they look great with everything—double score!)

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Here’s what you need to buy along with those fabulous boots—be they
chunky heeled booties or of the classic brown leather riding sort. First, figure out the type of leather that makes up your shiny new pair—is it actually a shiny patent leather? Or is it more of a stiffer, oil-tanned leather? For the latter, you’ll want to condition the shoe before taking it outside. Keep in mind that this will darken the leather, but it’s part of the vintage charm of a rustic-looking pair. Opt for a mink oil to provide water protection as well.

Avoid all-purpose protecting sprays, which may damage or stain the leather depending on the finish (for example, a silicone-based spray works best on chrome-tanned leather). But check with the manufacturer or read the label for specific footwear care instructions first before applying anything on your maroon
Marc by Marc Jacobs leather ankle boots.

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More ways to take care of your leather boots on the next page..

Take care of your boots: While you’re wearing them
Don’t wait until there are cracks in your Rag & Bone ankle boots before deciding to treat them—like your skin, they should be well-moisturized at all times. To be safe, plan to polish up your boots once per week, and any point after they’ve been immersed in a salt and snow bath while waiting for the streetcar.

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And as tempting as it is to kick off your boots after a long day, take the time to carefully unfasten buckles and laces—this will preserve the shape of the shoe much longer than trying to step out of them. Would Kate Middleton attempt to walk right out of her Seville chocolate brown riding boots? Then neither should you.

Take care of your boots: During a Canadian winter
One of the easier ways to ensure longevity with your boots is to have many different styles on hand—from a sturdy winter boot to the funkier pointy toe heel—and rotate them as needed throughout the season.

We put up with a lot this time of year, from having a closet brimming with knitted goods (scarves, mitts, hats) and coats for every wind pattern— and that doesn’t include the havoc this season wreaks on our footwear. To keep your black moto boots shiny after a day outside, use a hard shoe polish to wipe away dirt and salt (try Kiwi Shoe Polish in black). Again, a quick swipe of mink oil on soft leather before heading out the door will keep it looking buttery and supple—and salt-free.


And while we can’t prevent winter from happening to our boots, one of the most important factors in helping them last longer is quick damage control. Never stuff sopping wet leather boots that have trudged through slush to try to retain their shape—remove all dirt and laces, and allow boots to air-dry away from any heat. Once fully dry, assess the boots for any cracks and re-apply water-repelling treatment if needed.

Like any worthwhile investment, take care of your boots (from over-the-knee to ankle boots) and they will, season after season, take care of you.

Read more:
Fall fashion: 10 chic ankle boots under $300

Fall boots wardrobe: The 12 top styles
10 fall boots under $250
How to buy boots you’ll love forever: 5 shopping tips