By Heather Brown

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — If you’ve made it through a Minnesota winter, then you’re familiar with those whitish-grey shoe stains from all that salt.

From commuting shoes to just allowing the salt to take over, everyone has a coping strategy.

Bob Fisher, owner of Bob’s Shoe Repair in Wayzata, says winter is a great time for business.

He’s been repairing shoes, or “saving soles” as he puts it, for 43 years.

“[Salt] is a chemical, a burning agent and it will actually burn the leather,” Fisher said. “I’ve seen some shoes come in and they’re just ruined.”

He says people can use a vinegar home remedy to try to rid the shoes of salt stains, but he prefers a desalter solution.

“The vinegar will actually neutralize the salt,” he said. “And the detergent will cut right through all the shoe polish.”

Fisher likes Kelly’s Desalter, but he’s been sold out of the small sizes for five weeks.

He says waterproofing can prevent many of the salt stains as long as people spray their shoes once a week.

“That’s the biggest thing. People think [they] waterproofed the shoes, they should be fine. And they aren’t,” he said. “They aren’t fine at all.”

Fisher also recommends rubber-soled shoes over leather soles, since leather absorbs the moisture, causing salt to seep up through the shoe’s bottom.

Heather Brown