We spend a fair amount of time in our shoes and, for those of us with a minor shoe obsession, we can also spend a small fortune on shoes we love. Shoes take quite a beating, over the years, from the weather and from general wear and tear. Therefore, it is important to take a few simple measures to protect them and make sure your favorites can be worn for many years to come.
Invest in Quality
The first step to having shoes that last longer is to invest in high-quality shoes. High-quality shoes have better craftsmanship and a better design to resist wear and tear. They are generally made from finer materials and have been through more rigorous testing. Though they may cost a little more upfront, if you follow some simple care tips, you can keep your investment looking gorgeous and brand new.
Keep Them Clean
This is a no-brainer. Leaving your shoes dirty or wet is an invitation for decay and deterioration. Don’t go overboard and hose them off after you wear them. This is especially important for leather shoes, as the leather can become waterlogged and lose its shape.
Generally, all shoes need is a light dust with a soft cloth or shoe brush. If you have stubborn grime clinging to the soles, use a stiffer brush to remove the dirt, then wipe them down with a damp cloth.
Although it’s tempting, avoid putting canvas shoes and sneakers through the washing machine. The wash cycle and detergents are too harsh on the shoes’ material and may make them wear out faster or loosen eyelets and stitching. Instead, give them a quick scrub with a damp brush and canvas soap, as soon as possible, to stop any stains from setting in.
Our shoes are exposed to all kinds of weather, so it is important to make sure they are protected. Waterproofing your shoes keeps your shoes in better condition longer. However, be aware that different shoes require different weatherproofing treatments.
For leather shoes and boots, choose a waterproofing spray that isn’t silicone-based; these sprays don’t allow the shoes to breathe and can cause the material to break down quicker. Make sure your shoes are clean and dry before applying the spray.
For other shoes, especially heavy-duty boots, silicone-based sprays can be very effective, as they create a protective barrier that keeps out the elements.
Remember, when using any treatment, try to waterproof your shoes as soon as possible after purchase for more effective protection.
Sounds crazy, right? Yet, just like your skin needs moisture to stay soft and supple, so does your favorite pair of leather shoes. Without proper care, leather can become brittle and crack over time. Moisturizers keep the leather malleable, nourish the material, and keep footwear looking brand new.
Make sure you select a shoe moisturizer that readily soaks into the leather. Creams that sit on top as a barrier are less effective, and they will leave greasy stains on the hems of your pants.
Storing your shoes properly is an important way to make sure they aren’t subject to scuffs and tears from other shoes when you just throw them in a pile. The easiest way to store your shoes is in their original box. However, this isn’t always the chicest way to display your footwear, and it can take up a lot of room in your closet.
Fortunately, there are plenty of easy and stylish ways to organize your shoes. You can purchase shoe storage systems that can be easily installed and hidden if you would rather not have your shoes on display. Other systems make the most of the space you have in your closet by hanging over the back of the door. However, some of the most effective storage systems are equipped with shoe trees that hold your shoes’ shape, which goes a long way to preserving the structural integrity of your shoes.
Protect the Interior of Your Shoes
Though the interior of your shoes isn’t subject to the same weathering as the exterior, they still face some wear and tear from heels and toes rubbing against their material.
One of the best ways to protect the interior of your shoes is to use removable insoles that can be swapped and rotated frequently. Insoles can also help to absorb some of the downward force exerted on the sole, protecting it from wearing down. Removable insoles are also easy to clean. Simply wipe the insoles down with diluted tea tree oil, which will act as a disinfectant and leave your shoes smelling great.
Keep Your Soles Intact
The soles of your shoes take the most damage, so it is important to protect them. Though it may seem excessive, using sole protectors can add years to the life of your shoes. Have your shoe repair shop to put a rubber sole over your original sole, which will not only protect your shoes from the elements but, also, give you added traction.
If your soles are already looking a little worse for wear, have them resoled rather than throwing them away.
Put Your Shoes on Correctly
How hard can it be to put on a pair of shoes? Depending on the style, many shoes can be slipped on easily without damaging any part of the shoe. However, some styles, particularly shoes with laces, don’t slide on as easily as others. Forcing shoes on, or using your fingers to wedge your feet into your shoes, can damage the heel collar. Use a shoehorn to help your feet slip easily inside your shoes and make sure to properly loosen your laces before taking off your shoes.
Get Professional Help
Good shoes are an investment, just like your car. Would you get rid of your car if it had a few nicks and scratches? Of course, you’d take it to get fixed. Repairing your shoes rather than replacing them is an economical and eco-friendly way to keep your shoes in good condition.
Take your shoes to a repair shop as soon as you notice any damage. While the cobbler repairs your shoes, have him buff out any scratches and apply some polish to restore their original sheen.