Much as we love spring, it’s a fair bet the season’s going to bring a few unexpected showers with it—and your poor wingtips are going to suffer the consequences. So as a preventative measure, we’ve brought in one of L.A.’s foremost cobblers for a little wisdom on protecting your shoes from the elements.
Ladies and Gentlemen, Mr. George Esquivel.
How do you recommend we protect our shoes from rain over the next few months? For a formal shoe, I would suggest polishing it up with a neutral color wax. It’s not a total waterproofing, but it acts as a water repellent and stain repellent while still letting the leather breathe. The brand I use is Angelus, made here in Southern California. I use neutral wax because I don’t like too much shine. Now, you can’t do that to suede because it creates this kind of oil effect that stains, but it should work for any leather.
Around this time of year, when snow turns to slush, it’s good to have something waterproof over your feet. Your options usually boil down to heavy leather boots and some variety of galosh, but the folks at Outlier have an interesting twist on the predicament: the waterproof sneaker.
They’re made from dense Egyptian cotton, which is treated with a synthetic water resistant for a less clammy version of the traditional waxed cotton. There’s a double layer of French calf leather inside and most surprisingly, a Goodyear Welt underneath everything, so you’ll be able to resole it if the vibram sole wears down after a few years. The result is a pair of shoes that look like Vans but kick through slush like Red Wings. They’re on pre-order now, but they should be shipping out by the end of February—just in time for the rainy season.
Most of us have a loose pair of cloth sneakers kicking around the back of our closet, whether it’s Chucks, plimsolls or something even more summery. After a few summers, they usually look a little worse for wear—and become prime candidates for a little experimentation.
Galoshes have always been a somewhat inelegant solution to the problem of wet weather. Not only are you using two shoes to do the job of one, but most places you find yourself walking to won’t have an appropriate place to deposit your rain-soaked boots. In short, it may be simpler to invest in a pair of waterproof shoes handsome enough to wear to work.
These Tretorn versions are a favorite around these parts for just that. Modeled off a Chelsea boot, they should blend in with just about anything. Throw in an umbrella and some judiciously cuffed trousers and you should be just about impervious.
All of which is to say, we’re glad Filson got into the game. This cover cloth umbrella (hat tip) replaces the usual synthetics with a wood-and-waxed cotton approach, which makes it a good deal more rugged than any other rainy-day gear this side of a poncho. It won’t be shipping until October, but you should be able to make do with a golf umbrella until then.