Waterproofing your leather shoes (as well as some types of cloth shoes) is essential to surviving winter weather, since water can damage or completely ruin leather. All waterproofing solutions work similarly to create a thin barrier on the surface of your leather that cannot be penetrated by water.
Before you begin the waterproofing process, take a close look at your shoes and determine what type of leather and other materials it is made of. Check the shoe box for any special cleaning instructions that you will need to keep in mind. Then select a waterproofing product that is made for your type of leather.
For waterproofing shoes, you may select either a spray or a semi-solid wax product. Sprays are easier to use, but may not be able to provide a good thick waterproofing coat. On the other hand, you should not use a spray (which usually contains silicone) on thin, delicate leathers. The manufacturer of this leather may recommend a basic semi-solid product for waterproofing shoes.
Before you begin waterproofing, do a "spot test" on a small, hard-to-see area on your shoes. A good spot is somewhere inside the shoes, such as on the underside of the tongue. If you notice any color or texture changes, or any damage, stop and do not use the product. Contact the manufacturer of your shoes to know how to proceed.
If all goes well, you can begin waterproofing leather. Some waxy products contain a brush, while others are rub-on. If using a rub-on product, get a smooth, soft, cloth. Read the directions first - most likely, they will tell you to rub in slow circular motions and to apply more than one coat for waterproofing shoes.
If you use a brush, the process is much the same, except that you will make slow circular motions with the brush, and try to apply a little bit of pressure so that the brush can get deep into cracks. However, make sure you are using a soft brush specially made for this purpose, otherwise you could scratch the shoes. Experts usually recommend that a brush be used for fabric waterproofing, as well.
Speaking of cracks, whether using a cloth or brush, you will want to spend extra attention on all seams, cracks, raised areas, and any imperfections in the leather. Slather a little extra on these areas so that it can really sink in, and rub copiously. Repeat up to three times if necessary to waterproof these important areas.
Don't hit the slopes until you've got the necessary gear; check out this guide to ski equipment first!
Skiing can be a great way to spend a weekend or afternoon, but you must be sure you have the right equipment and clothing for the experience. Ski clothes and gear is important for safety and fun, so check out this guide to essential skiing equipment.
Ski Jacket: Your protection against the elements, a good ski jacket is essential for keeping out the cold and keeping in your body heat for a day on the slopes. Most jackets offer a water-resistant outer shell to keep out moisture, as well as a warm fleece inner lining, for comfort and warmth. A well-designed ski jacket will also have a variety of pockets and features, including places for your cell phone, lift tickets, water bottles, and even snacks.
Ski Pants: The companion to the ski jacket, ski pants are made out of a thick, warm material and provide the necessary water-resistance for your legs and rear end. For beginning skiers, this is vital if you wish to avoid getting wet during the minor bumps and falls of learning to ski. For other skiers, however, ski pants are still important for keeping the legs and torso warm, for the extra layers of protection in case of falls, and for blocking the wind.
Hat: Because the majority of your body heat leaves through your head, a thick and warm hat is very important if you are hitting the slopes in winter. A woolen cap or a fleece hat will protect you from falling snow or rain. Often, ear protection is very necessary, as cold ears can turn a day's skiing into a painful afternoon. Try earmuffs or a fleece headwrap to keep your ears covered.
Ski Gloves: Not just for keeping your hands from getting cold, ski gloves improve your grip on the ski poles and protect your hands from the bitter mountain wind and the possibility of injury in case of a fall. Ski gloves are usually a combination of materials, with a soft inner lining to keep your hands warm and a protective outer lining to keep them dry and safe.
Ski Boots: The ski boots are your connection to your skis, and as such, they must fit your feet perfectly to give you the best control and most comfortable experience. Ski boots come with a hard plastic exterior which protects your legs and ankles from being twisted or pulled. Be sure to get a good-fitting pair of ski boots, as boots that are too small may cut off circulation and result in a painful afternoon. Boots that are too large will not give you the control or security you need. You do not want to lose a boot on the slopes, so make sure they are clipped in securely and bound to your feet properly.
Skis: Obviously, a good pair of skis is a vital part of your skiing gear. Skis come in a wide variety of types, depending on the type of skiing you will be doing. Options include downhill, slalom, cross-country, or even ski jump. Skis should be about the same height as you, though shorter skis are now available. Wax the skis to improve their speed and to glide over the snow.
Ski Poles: For added stability and maneuverability, a pair of ski poles is essential. The poles are most useful when making sharp turns. Ski poles are made of light aluminum or alloy, providing strength while not weighing you down. Many poles can be adjusted for length, so find the fit that is most comfortable for you.
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