Category Archives: Guides, Hints and Tips

A collection of useful articles offering helpful advice on all things footwear

How to Look After Your Winter Boots for Snowy Weather


How do you make sure your Winter Boots perform at their best in the snow?

When the snow comes down, one thing is for certain. The sandals and flip-flops will be taking a well deserved vacation in the bottom of your closet for a little while. Show me someone who enjoys having cold wet feet, and I’ll show you a pink elephant in space playing the bagpipes and drinking vodka martinis; it just doesn’t happen, right? Everyone wants warm dry feet when the winter weather comes a-calling. This little guide explains what you can do to preserve your toes in the manner to which they would like to become accustomed.

Most winter boots are made from three different types of upper material, or a mixture of the three; Synthetic (nylon usually), suede or nubuck, or leather. Identifying which material your favourite boots are made from should be your first step. Why? Because each material has its own unique care requirements. And just to make matters more complex, you also need to know if your boots have a waterproof breathable lining or not. This lining may be Goretex (in various guises), Sympatex, IsoTex, or something similar. If your boots do feature a lining such as these, you are going to require specialist after-care products, and this is a topic that goes outside of the scope of this quick guide.

This guide will be primarily concerned with fashion boots, those without a waterproof breathable membrane.

For all boots worn in the snow, here are a few general points to observe;

  • If the upper material looks damp in itself, something refered to as “wetting out”, rather than water simply beading and rolling off the surface, then they need to be treated. A wetted out upper cannot breath, absorbs the heat from your skin, and stops insulating. Water vapour from your skin then condenses on the inside of your boot, and this can give the feeling that the boots are leaking, letting in water while the boots may in fact be structurally sound. Its just that water from your skin cannot be breathed out into the air (because the uppers are saturated with cold water), and stays in the boots instead.
  • Use a warm damp cloth to wipe away any mud, grit, or other debris. Small particles of dirt and stone can easily find their way into the grain of leather, suede, nubuck and synthetic materials, aswell as stitching. When the boot is then worn and flexed, these sharp particles can literally saw away at the material and threads, dramatically shortening the lifespan of the boots, and in some cases, even causing threads to break and seams to burst. So wiping away as much debris from the paths and roads as you can is very important. Cleaning the boots like this also helps to remove dissolved salt (from road gritters) and prepares the surface of the boots uppers to be treated.
  • What to do about it? Firstly your boots need to dry out. Pack them with something absorbent like newspaper, and then place them somewhere warm to gently evaporate the water. DO NOT place them directly on a radiator, for example, or anywhere where the heat source will be very intense. Why? Because all uppers may warp, twist, even crack, if warmed and dried to quickly. So pack them and place them somewhere where they can dry gently. Then remove the packing and you are ready to treat the uppers.

Leather

  • The aim with leather boots when treating them for service in the snow and ice, is to create a shiny surface on the leather, and nourish the leather so that it remains soft and flexible. A wax based leather balm or polish works best for this, such as Dr Martens Wonder Balsam. Wrap a suitable cloth over your fingers and scoop up a small lump of wax / balsam onto the tip of your fingers. An amount about the size of two peas should be sufficient for covering one average boot, but of course yours may require more or less, so use your judgement.
  • Working in circles, firmly rub the wax / balsam into the leather. Concentrate on areas that flex a lot, such as the top of the foot area, the ankles and the tongue. What is the best way to apply wax to the tongue? Its easy, just remove the laces and stock your hand into the boot.
  • When all the high flex areas have been massaged with wax / balsam, work more of it into the remaining surfaces, again use small circles to ensure a good thorough coverage.
  • Next, get more wax / balsam on your cloth, and work it into the seams where the stitching is. This should ensure that the physical holes, made by the needle when the boots were manufactured, are sealed up the stitching thread itself is well protected.
  • Lastly, the one area that frequently gets missed; the edges of any leather panels used to construct your boot. You will likely end up with a bit of balsam under your nail while doing this bit. Get some balsam right on the end of your finger (on the cloth) and rub it into the exposed edge of the leather panels.

    Where to apply wax to leather uppers: Edges of Leather Panels & Over Stitching & Seams

    Where to apply wax to leather uppers

Suede, Nubuck & Synthetic

  • Both Suede & Nubuck upper boots could be treated with a wax or balsam products; they are both leather, however there is a desirable aesthetic matt appearance to these materials that people like to maintain, and using a balsam product on them would ruin this matt finish.
  • Synthetic uppers that resemble leather usually will not absorb a wax or balsam treatment. But the water repellency of the surface can still be enhanced by a wax or polish treatment as described above.
  • Synthetic uppers that are a woven fabric, such as what you might find on hiking boots, and all imitation suede and nubuck fabrics can all be treated with a spray. [Although we would strongly recommend that in snowy conditions you use genuine leather boots, as leather is usually a lot thicker, warmer, and more able to cope with Winter weather.]
  • A suitable product to use is therefore a footwear protector spray. These are often sold as either pump cap or aerosols. They are usually made with a chemical that is hydrophobic (water hating) and causes water droplets to bead on the surface to which it is applied. [NOTE; some sprays made for equipment such as bags and tarps are made using a silicon compound that does not permit the material to breath, i.e. allow water vapour to pass through it. These silicon sprays are NOT suitable for footwear. Remember you want your footwear to breath so the water vapour from your skin can escape instead of condensing inside the boot.]
  • Sprays can darken the appearance of the suede or nubuck initially, so test this on an inconspicuous area of the boot first, to make sure you are happy to go ahead. Usually when the boots are fully dried after an application, the darkening is barely noticeable.
  • Remove the laces to expose the tongue of the boot, then proceed to spray the surface of the suede / nubuck / synthetic woven fabric with the spray from a distance of approximately 20cm. You will want to do this in a well ventilated room.
  • Spray the panels, edges of the panels, stitching & seams, and tongue. You can also protect the laces by holding them up and spraying them from all angles.
  • Leave the boots and laces to dry for 30 minutes. It is recommended that if the boots have not been treated before, that you give them 3 coatings, each time allowing 30 minutes in between.
  • Thereafter your boots should only need treating when water stops beading on the surface. To test, simple wet your hand and flick water at the boots. If the water droplets are absorbed, its time for a treatment.

What to wear with boots in Winter.

So that is your boots taken care of. Your feet’s last line of defence is your socks. Have you ever heard the phrase from an outdoors enthusiast “Cotton kills”? This is not always an exaggeration. Cotton fibres have a horrible affinity for water, they just get hold of it and don’t let it go. You know how hard it is to dry jeans out, right? Thats because they are made with, you guessed it, cotton.

What is better to wear than cotton? The best answer is WOOL. Mother nature has perfected over millions of years the best material suitable for keeping dry and warm when the weather is cold and wet; Wool. Wool socks will insulate your feet by trapping air next to your skin, and also has a massive surface area for transporting water away from your foot, while the wool fibres themselves do not absorb water, but repel it. The softest wool to look for is Merino Wool, and this can often be found blended with synthetic fibres that boost its wicking (water transport) abilities to the outside of the sock.

Hopefully this article will be of some use, and goes some way to explaining what can happen if you don’t look after your winter boots properly, and why treating them is so important to haw they will treat you.

One last note; if the boots you have are not designed and built and guaranteed to be waterproof, there is no treatment on earth that can actually make them become waterproof. All the above tips will serve to make the materials the boots are made from more water-repellent and thus stay drier and warmer. A spray cannot, for example, prevent snow getting into the boot around the side of the tongue, for example. Only a waterproof membrane lined tongue baffle will do that.

Cool And Creative Ways To Lace Up Your Shoes And Boots


Laces; often overlooked and unthought of, yet without them your favourite trainers would just fall off your feet. And that would make sadness.
You can add a bit of interest and individuality to your trainers simply by changing the way you lace your shoes. It is to this end we give you this lacing guide to cool ways to lace up.

If your try out any of these, or come up with alternative cool ways to lace up, we would love to see your efforts. Please visit our Facebook Page and post your pics to our timeline.

Dr Martens – So Much More Than Just Great Footwear.


Dr Martens, surely you must know by now, are world famous for their iconic air cushioned footwear, that first exploded on to the scene in 1960. Today Dr Martens are producing so much more than just great boots and shoes, (most of you will know the 1460 boot and 1461 shoe), we are seeing an ever growing product range now that includes cases for high tech electronics such as the Apple iPhone and iPad, laptop carry bags, wallets, and a distinctive range of clothing for both women and men.

We have put together a set of items over on Polyvore.com that showcases the fantastic range that Dr Martens are now producing. With their boots more popular now than ever before, imagine the jealous looks on your friends faces when they find out the knee high socks you are wearing them with are also made by DM. Check out the range on our polyvore collection. Dr Martens Boots & Shoes are available from you know who.

Dr Martens Cherry Red Croc

How to Wear Converse Trainers – Fashion Collections


Converse trainers are proving to be a massive hit with people on Polyvore.com, with many users designing sets of clothing, jewelry, accessories and make up to go with them. For the last two weeks we have been curating a collection of sets that include converse trainers, to see what how people are wearing them. The range of looks goes from goth punk alternative, with the pink All Star High proving especially popular, to everyday casual wear with jeans and tee shirt.

Here is our selection of the best sets, chosen to aim at a range of different age groups from young teens to 30 somethings and upwards.

camping EMMA
pink outfit

H M tie shirt
£13 - hm.com

Superfine skinny leg jeans
£141 - farfetch.com

Antik Batik enamel jewelry
$110 - net-a-porter.com

Ted Rossi leather bangle
80 CAD - dealuxe.ca

Cocktail ring
jewelry.1stdibs.com

Boho jewelry
$34 - baublebar.com

Beanie hat
$29 - myretrobaby.com

Dinner Night (lily)

Miss Selfridge cropped tank top
$28 - missselfridge.com

Balmain military fashion
$584 - theoutnet.com

Tiffany Co cord jewelry
$100 - tiffany.com

Skull

T shirt
€33 - undergroundstore.eu

Twill jeans
£22 - fashionunion.com

Converse black white shoes
£39 - scorpioshoes.com

Zip bag
$77 - tobi.com

Alexander McQueen logos jewelry
$295 - alexandermcqueen.com

Alexander mcqueen jewelry
$275 - forwardforward.com

Shu uemura mascara
$28 - shuuemura-usa.com

Illamasqua waterproof eyeliner
£17 - debenhams.com

Illamasqua makeup
$24 - asos.com

Nail polish
$6 - jacob.ca
Lollipop!

Victoria s Secret cotton tunic
$25 - victoriassecret.com

Victoria s Secret knit top
$25 - victoriassecret.com

T shirt
$20 - delias.com

Graphic tee
$20 - delias.com

Graphic tank
$20 - target.com

Faith Connexion skinny jeans
$250 - net-a-porter.com

Stretchy pants
£30 - republic.co.uk

Tamara Barnoff legging
€70 - ourstyle.hu

J.Crew chino shorts
$35 - jcrew.com

Converse shoes
20 CAD - gravitypope.com

Converse shoes
£63 - farfetch.com

Converse logo watch
£60 - debenhams.com

Yellow bangle
$44 - fantasyjewelrybox.com

Forever 21 spike jewelry
$7.80 - forever21.com

Kamm<3

Neon tee
$20 - delias.com

Pink top
£18 - debenhams.com

CIMARRON slim skinny jeans
€80 - placedestendances.com

Studded jewelry
$15 - etsy.com

Jessica Elliot rose jewelry
$72 - maxandchloe.com

DT

Zadig Voltaire long sleeve cotton t shirt
£70 - zadig-et-voltaire.com

Converse hi top
£40 - scorpioshoes.com

Theory leather messenger bag
$350 - theory.com

H m hat
hm.com

Ray-Ban aviator sunglasses
$160 - nordstrom.com
Whistle while we work

Mango jean jacket
£45 - mango.com

Burberry flared pants
€595 - leclaireur.com

Converse oxford shoes
£40 - scorpioshoes.com

Rampage platform sandals
$45 - dsw.com

Mantaray purple handbag
£39 - debenhams.com

Michael kors jewelry
$225 - neimanmarcus.com

Valentino post earrings
$705 - mytheresa.com

Collar necklace
gojane.com
Think pink picnic outfit

Rebel Yell screen printed t shirt
$69 - shopthetrendboutique.com

Betty Boop top
$1.95 - gkworld.com

Nixon watch
£2.50 - utilitydesign.co.uk

Wooden bangle
$11 - fantasyjewelrybox.com

Karen walker sunglasses
$180 - shoplesnouvelles.com

ranbow

SuperTrash yellow top
€70 - welikefashion.com

Michael Kors cashmere shirt
$965 - stylebop.com

Salvatore Ferragamo shirts blouse
$600 - stylebop.com

H M one shoulder tank
£15 - hm.com

Halter top
£75 - coast-stores.com

Off one shoulder shirt
$17 - alloy.com

BKE lace trim tank
$17 - buckle.com

Converse hi top
$32 - diapers.com

Mango skinny leg jeans
£23 - mango.com

Superfine skinny leg jeans
£141 - farfetch.com

7 For All Mankind straight jeans
$245 - stylebop.com

D&G low rise jeans
$210 - coggles.com

Ted Baker skinny leg jeans
£79 - houseoffraser.co.uk

Blonde + Blonde skinny leg jeans
£19 - bankfashion.co.uk

Juicy couture jeans
$160 - net-a-porter.com

Converse lace up shoes
60 CAD - gravitypope.com

Converse shoes
yatego.com

Converse high top shoes
£60 - farfetch.com

TarinaTarantino flower jewelry
$25 - shoplastyle.com

Forever 21 hair clip accessory
$1.50 - forever21.com

Orange hair accessory
£2.40 - debenhams.com

Hair clip accessory
£6.99 - glitz4girlz.com

Rose flower pin
$15 - jcrew.com

:P

White Label crop tee
£10 - republic.co.uk

Dark wash jeans
£30 - awear.com

Ted Rossi neon jewelry
80 CAD - dealuxe.ca

Mixit fuschia jewelry
$11 - jcpenney.com

Hair bow accessory
$2.99 - amazon.com

Wet Seal wayfare sunglasses
$7.50 - wetseal.com

A lo barbie

Camo hoodie
$42 - ladyfootlocker.com

Crew neck shirt
£25 - republic.co.uk

Miss Selfridge distressed skinny jeans
$68 - missselfridge.com

Ball chain necklace
$6 - etsy.com

Bracelet
storenvy.com

Earrings
$3.90 - gojane.com

Bracelet
storenvy.com

Coral blush
stilacosmetics.com

Lancôme lip gloss
$18 - nordstrom.com

Victoria s Secret victoria secret perfume
$12 - victoriassecret.com

Barry M neon nail polish
£3 - bankfashion.co.uk

pink

White Label striped t shirt
£10 - republic.co.uk

H&M short shorts
£13 - hm.com

Retro necklace
£5.62 - phixclothing.com

BVB set

Black Veil Brides
£13 - bluebanana.com

Converse black and white oxford shoes
£39 - scorpioshoes.com

Heart jewelry
$6.99 - hottopic.com

Heart jewelry
$6.99 - hottopic.com

Checkered belt
$20 - hottopic.com

PURPLE :D

Criminal Damage purple top
£30 - bluebanana.com

Proenza Schouler racerback top
$275 - barneys.com

Joe’s Jeans denim skinny jeans
€127 - farfetch.fr

Converse unisex shoes
£40 - scorpioshoes.com

Knapsack bag
$16 - karmaloop.com
carro

Couture top
spoiledbrat.co.uk

Scotch & Soda sport shorts
€90 - scotch-soda.com

Converse black oxford shoes
£40 - scorpioshoes.com
The Fairytales - Robin Hood

Converse canvas top
£40 - scorpioshoes.com

Shoulder bag
frightcatalog.com

Tall hat
talltoad.net

Joystick Junkies Angry Face T-Shirt
£20 - bankfashion.co.uk

PRPS GOODS AND CO. Khaki shorts
£155 - farfetch.com

Cry-ceratops Mug
$17 - modcloth.com
gir outfit

Fitted shirt
$23 - hottopic.com

Converse high top shoes
£45 - amazon.co.uk

Animal stud earrings
$3.99 - hottopic.com

Rubber jewelry
$4.99 - hottopic.com

Sillia Clothes
i' m a sporty

Goodie Two Sleeves t shirt
£20 - chaoticclothing.co.uk

D&G blue skinny jeans
$210 - coggles.com

Converse shoes
£40 - scorpioshoes.com

Juicy couture tote
$95 - stylebop.com

Bracelet
amazon.com
LATO

Rag bone scoop neck top
$59 - barneys.com

Scotch & Soda distressed shorts
€90 - scotch-soda.com

Converse unisex shoes
£40 - scorpioshoes.com

Stella McCartney faux leather handbag
$1,325 - net-a-porter.com

Timex watch
$45 - timex.com

By Malene Birger chain jewelry
£45 - cureuk.com

Hillier 18k jewelry
$430 - openingceremony.us

Madewell braided belt
$45 - madewell.com

Plastic shades
$12 - modcloth.com

Shimmer blush
stilacosmetics.com

Lancôme lip makeup
$18 - nordstrom.com

Shu uemura mascara
$28 - shuuemura-usa.com

Butter london nail polish
$14 - macys.com
hannah walker

Billabong hooded shirt
$20 - tillys.com

AllSaints leather jacket
$550 - allsaints.com

Converse oxford shoes
£40 - scorpioshoes.com

Star stud earrings
$250 - macys.com

Antica Murrina layered necklace
$210 - forzieri.com

Make a shoe care kit and save money


Shoe Care Tips

Whether you’re searching the cupboard under the stairs for your good, old pair of boots or splashing out on a brand new pair for the winter weather ahead, few people will disagree that the combination of snow, wind, rain and dirt at this time of year have a reputation of desimating even the most hardy footwear out there.  Fortunately, there’s plenty that you can do to help protect your favourite tootsie warmers Read the rest of this entry

How To Prepare Your Boots For Wet Weather


You may be about to purchase you new Winter boots, or dig last years out of the closet. Either way, you will probably be wanting them to do a good job of keeping your feet dry and warm over the next six months. If so, there are two main things to think about; Waterproofing and Insulating.

In this article we take a look at how to clean and waterproof boots that are either leather, suede or synthetic, and then we look at what kind of socks you can pair your winter boots up with to get the best benefit from them.

Firstly lets just take a moment to make an important distinction. Waterproof and Water-Resistant are two phrases that are often used interchangeably, but they do actually have important differences that you should be aware of. When we talk about “Waterproof Footwear” we a referring specifically to styles that have a water impermeable barrier, that is an actual layer of fabric that water CAN NOT cross. Examples of truly waterproof footwear would be Wellington boots (with their rubber coating – completely water impermeable) and some walking or hiking boots with a Goretex (or similar) membrane built into the inner layers of the upper in a sock shape.

Water-Resistant footwear is much more of a loose definition. Technically speaking, anything that gets in the way of water getting to your skin could be described as providing resistance to the ingress of water. The important thing is the level of resistance. And this level can come down to a number of factors, including the materials used, the styling, the type of fastenings used, the shape, the chemical coatings and the quality of manufacture.

So if you are buying winter footwear and want them to be fully waterproof, be sure to look for the word “waterproof” on the description, and don’t be fooled into thinking that the phrase “water-resistant” means that your feet won’t get wet. Footwear that is not designed to be waterproof can not be treated to become so, BUT you CAN increase its water resistance with the appropriate treatment(s).

Cleaning – Preparing the Surface.

Whether the boots are leather, suede or synthetic, you do not want to waterproof any dirt that may be on the surface of the material. You are going to want to provide a nice clean surface for your waterproofing treatment to absorb into and bond durably to.

Leather surfaces should be wiped clean with a damp lint-free cloth. Any stubborn mud can be broken up and removed with an old toothbrush or soft clean nylon bristled brush.With patent leather a dampened sponge can be used instead of a brush, so as to not leave scratches.

Removing mud from suede if best done  when the mud is dry with a soft brush, or even a finger nail. When all the large lumps are removed, the surface can be wiped over with a slightly damp cloth to remove dust and particles left behind.

Synthetic uppers can be cleaned with a dampened sponge, ensuring that all dust and small particles come off. The widely available cleaning gels with a plastic scrubbing brush built into the container can be used on really stubborn marks.

In all cases it is best to avoid using detergent cleaners as these will leave a detergent residue in the material which actually attracts, rather than repels, water.

Treating – Re-proofing the uppers for a durable water-repellent finish.

Leather uppers can be treated with a wax, dubbing, conditioner or polish. The specific product for your boots may be something to discuss with your supplier, as some colour matches may be requires for colour leathers, and boots with a breathable membrane may have their breathability decreased by using the incorrect after-care product.

When applying the treatment, use a lint free cloth and rub a small amount into the surface of the leather. Pay particular attention to areas subject to a lot of movement, such as the crease over the top of the foot behind the toes, and the tongue. These areas need to be kept supple and well conditioned and have any microscopic creases and cracks filled. Also pay attention to the seams where the stitching is, as when the boots were made the needle would have punctured the material there, making a physical hole, so make sure your treatment gets well rubbed into these areas.

Suede is a much more porous surface and requires a liquid based treatment to provide its surface water repellency. Suede treatments usually come in the form of a spray, but aqueous wax based treatments are also available. Whichever treatment you choose, be prepared for the suede to darken a little upon application of the treatment. This is normal and to be expected. If you use a spray apply from a distance of about a foot away in even strokes all over the surface. You want to achieve an even coating, as any unevenness will likely darken the suede unevenly, although this effect is likely to be minimal. Again, ensure that the stitching and areas of high flexing get coated. Leave to dry overnight at room temperature.

Synthetic uppers, like suede, can be re-proofed with spray or rub on treatments. If you decide upon using a rub on treatment, they usually come in a bottle with a sponge applicator. You need to press the sponge against the surface of the upper to get the liquid flowing onto the applicator, then rub the liquid evenly over the surface. Again, be prepared for the colour to darken slightly. Any textile areas should receive particular attention as pores here can be quite large (compared to the size of a water droplet). Pay attention, as always, to areas that flex a lot and are subject to wear. Leave to dry overnight at room temperature.

Some winter boots come with a knitted wool ankle cuff, or a fleecy lining. Believe it or not you can get wash in treatments which put a water-repellent finish on these fibres and help maintain the insulating air spaces between fibres. This treatment can be used in the washing machine or in a hand wash. It is then recommended to drip dry or tumble dry, on a low setting, if the care label allows. You may want to stuff the footwear with something absorbent like paper of a towel while they dry.

It is important to note what the actual purpose of these treatments is, as not understanding how they work my lead you to mistakenly jump to the conclusion that your boots are leaking, especially if they are waterproof boots with a membrane. The purpose of these treatments is actually two-fold. The first and obvious purpose is to provide increased resistance to water ingress, i.e. resisting water from the outside, getting to the inside of the boots. The second purpose is perhaps the least well generally appreciated, but is nonetheless the MAIN purpose; These treatments provide a Durable Water Repellent finish (DWR) for your footwear that causes water to bead on the surface and run off, and in so doing prevents the material of the uppers from “wetting out”. Wetting out is what happens when the surface of the material becomes saturated with surface water. In winter this can be particularly uncomfortable as it means that not only are the boots heavier and colder, but this saturated layer prevents the footwear from breathing, from allowing perspiration from your skin to escape to the environment. Instead what happens is the perspiration, as water vapour, hits this saturated layer and condenses back into liquid water, on the inside of the boot. This can cause you to incorrectly conclude that your boots are leaking, that water from the outside is getting in. This may be the case, but the more usual explanation is that the boots have stopped breathing, and simply need to be cleaned (have their pores unclogged) and re-proofed to prevent wet-out. Which is certainly cheaper than buying a new pair!

So now you know how to look after your boots so that they can look after you this Winter.

Here is a list of useful links relating to quality after-care products for your footwear…

NikWax – A manufacturer of environmentally friendly footwear cleaners and  aqueous wax based products for footwear.

Grangers – A manufacturer of high quality durable water-repellent treatments and cleaners for all footwear materials.

Shoe-String – Stockist of the Woly range of footwear after-care products. Huge range of coloured and neutral treatments for all fabrics.

Socks – Insulating for better warmth and comfort.

When the weather turns cold and wet, and you are out and about, maybe getting the Christmas shopping in, is there any feeling in the World worse than having cold wet feet? Well, maybe there is, but with this knowledge we hope you’ll find your pinkies snug and warm inside your boots this Winter.

You know how when jeans get wet, they kind of stay wet and take ages to dry? They get cold and uncomfortable and cling to you? Well this is because they are made out of cotton, and cotton absorbs water and is very relluctant to let it go. When cotton gets wet it looses almost all of its ability to hold onto pockets of air trapped in its fibres, and with that goes any insulation it once had. As the outdoors enthusiasts out there will say, “Cotton kills1″. A bit dramatic maybe but you get the point. So wearing cotton socks this winter will not be your wisest choice if you want snug, dry, warm feet.

A much better choice is to wear wool. Wool keeps its warmth even when it is wet. This is because, compared to cotton, the fibres of wool are much more kinked, rough and ragged, which gives it more of a 3D structure, and this helps it trap air and thus insulate. Wool also contains natural oils which repel water, rather than absorb it like cotton. If you are interested in learning more you could  check out this forum discussion on the subject of wool versus cotton.

Merino wool is widely regarded are being the softest and most comfortable to wear next to your skin. Many manufacurers are now using merino wool in their designs, sometimes blending it with synthetic fibres to provide wicking abilities to the sock.

Here are a few links to great suppliers of socks suitable for winter…

Specialist Socks – Sock retailer with a huge selection of wool socks suitable for Winter.

Search Results on Alibaba – Some ace fashion wool socks turned up in this search of Alibaba.com

Keeping your feet warm and dry this Winter is therefore a case of selecting suitable boots, keeping them clean and appropriately treated, and wearing wool socks rather than cotton.

Free Up Space In Your Shoe Closet: Re-deploy and Recycle Old Shoes.


Do you have shoes and boots gathering dust? Running out of shoe storage space? Here are some great ideas to re-deploy your footwear as planters for indoor & outdoor use and brighten up your home at the same time…

Footwear Planters!

If, however you want some more “ecological” or “environmentally friendly” suggestions of what to do with your old worn footwear, here is a list of some great ways to recycle.

Footwear Recycling Ideas!

  1. Freecycle: Freecycle is a great local organization where neighbors share their unwanted and not needed items. Go to the freecycle website for more information.
  2. Donate to a homeless shelter: OK, it might not be practical to donate your Iron Fist Zombie High Heels, but there are people who will appreciate a second-hand pair of trainers, Dr Martens, or hiking boots.
  3. Nike’s Reuse a Shoe program – Nike has a program where old sports shoes are recycled to make playground surface material & sports services. Your old sports shoes can be dropped off at any Nike store.
  4. Older shoes can be donated to thrift shops. Most thrift shops donate proceeds to charity.
  5. Why not host a shoe swap party with friends? Instead of letting those sandals you bought last year gather dust because they didn’t fit and you didn’t return them (who hasn’t at least one pair like this?) get together with friends for a girly night in with wine, nibbles and a bag of your “as-good-as-new” shoes each to try on and swap.
  6. Your local recycling center may have a shoe recycling program, which may be worth checking out.
  7. Donate your shoes to Eco Cycle – A recycling program where your shoes will be given to someone who needs them.
  8. Donate your old Kenneth Cole shoes and receive 20% off on a new pair.
  9. Contact Souls 4 Souls to see how to recycle or donate your used shoes.
  10. Visit Recycled Runners to learn about different shoe recycling programs around the world.

Of course, nature abhors a vacuum! So all that space you have freed up in your shoe closet will have to be filled again, won’t it? Its natures way and resistance is futile. We think we might be able to help you out with that… ;-)

...go to the Scorpio Shoes Online Shop...

5 Steps To Looking After Your Dr Martens Leather Boots & Shoes


Everybody knows Dr Martens are made to extremely high standards of durability, right? What you might not know is that the correct way to look after them, and that doing so can considerably extend their lifespan.

So we thought we’d share a few tips on how to properly care for your Dr Martens, so that you too can carry on enjoying yours for many more years to come.

Before we start, here is what you need:

  • two soft bristle polish brushes
  • a lint free cloth for polishing and buffing
  • an old toothbrush (thoroughly rinsed free of tooth paste)
  • a bowl of warm water and a cloth or sponge for cleaning with
  • some Dr Martens Wonder Balsam or equivalent leather conditioner or coloured polish to match your boots.

Specialized footwear cleaning brushes can also be purchased from most shoes shops. The original Dr Martens Wonder Balsam, along with Dubbin and Polishes are available from the Scorpio Shoes online store.

Before you begin cleaning and polishing, you may want to use some old newspaper or unwanted clothes/towels to prevent damaging surfaces with polish etc.

  1. Unlace your footwear, taking note of how they were laced to start with. This may be a good time to inspect the laces to see if they are beginning to fray, get damaged, or otherwise need replacing. Replacement laces are readily available in a huge range of colours and patterns, a selection of which are available on the Scorpio Shoes Online Store. New laces can breathe life and vibrancy back into old boots, giving them a fresh, rejuvenated look. You may want to check the length of the original laces to be sure of getting the correct length replacement laces.
  2. Use the sponge or cloth with clean warm water, begin to clean the surface of the leather, ensuring any mud and grime is removed. Pay particular attention to stitched seams and creases, as any microscopic particles getting into the stitches or burrowing into the creases of the leather can cause wear and dramatically shorten the lifespan of the footwear. If you find there is dried mud between layers of leather that are stitched together, such as the heel cup or as the bottom of the leather panel that holds the eyelets, then this is where the old toothbrush or cleaning brush can be used. A little warm water on the bristles will soften the mud. Try not to brush the edge of the leather, but rather direct and press the edge of the brush into the mud to loosen and remove it. Once done, clean up again with the sponge or cloth. Dry the surface leather.
  3. Select one polish brush to apply the selected aftercare product to the leather, and keep the other polish brush for buffing it up afterwards. Using the edge of the brush, scoop a thumbnail sized blob of balsam/polish/dubbin onto the bristles. Place your free hand deep into the boot or shoe to manipulate it while you use the brush to rub the balsam/polish/dubbin into the leather. Start at the toes, rubbing in circles, working your way down each side and over the top of the toe box. Pay particular attention to the ever present creases over the toe box, as these areas experience a lot of bending and movement and require more conditioning to remain supple. You may also find creases on the higher styles of boot as you work up the ankle area. Once the boot has been thoroughly rubbed all over with balsam/polish/dubbin, place it down somewhere where it won’t be knocked over (by pets or children or clumsy other halves) and repeat the process with the other boot or shoe.
  4. When the both boots or shoes have had their first coat applied, pick up the first boot or shoe you treated, again by shoving your hand inside, and with your free hand pick up your buffing polish brush. Starting at the toes, quickly sweep the tips of the bristles over the surface of the leather with swooshing left to right movements. Don’t press hard into the leather and scrub. We don’t want to damage the surface, but bring out a shiny surface sheen. Continue to treat both boots in this way, buffing up the surfaces with quick sweeping movements. You’ll notice a shine coming through which gets shinier the more you buff.
  5. Depending on the level of shine you want, you can repeat steps 3 to 4 to bring out more of a high gloss shine. A glossy shine will actually repel water and mud more effectively, and because a glossy shine means the leather has been more thoroughly treated and conditioned to get it that way, glossy boots should, in theory, last longer. When you are happy with the result you are getting, you can now use the lint free cloth, with sweeping motions again, to remove any surface dubbin or polish (which at this point should come off the leather onto the cloth almost like a fine powder) and apply a polished sheen finish. You can now lace your boots back up, slip them on and off you go!

We hope you find this guide useful and if you do, why not share it with your friends using the tools below?

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