Our shoes take a beating every time we wear them, pounding the pavement for us wherever we go, only to be kicked off into a pile on the floor when we get home. (How rude!) This neglect will mean replacing shoes more often than we’d like, but with a few tips and tools, we can stretch the lives of our shoes and show them the respect they deserve. Keep your shoes in good shape for longer by following these 5 easy steps.
1. Store Your Shoes Properly
Guilty of throwing your shoes on the floor or under the bed? This one’s for you. Always store your shoes on shoe trees, shoe racks, or over-the-closet shoe bags. There are tons of great options available online—just make sure whatever you purchase allows airflow, one of the most important rules for keeping your shoes in good condition.
2. Take Care of the Outsides
Treating the outsides of your shoes depends on the material (more on that in our How To Care series), and it’s a very important first step after buying a pair of shoes. We suggest putting together a DIY shoe-care kit that includes things like waterproofing spray, conditioning cream, polish, application brushes, buffing brushes, soft flannel or cotton cloths, and a shoe shampoo. Before putting your shoes away, wipe away any dirt with a soft cloth or shoe brush. Regular polishing keeps leather shoes supple. And for anyone living in cold-weather climates, here’s an important one for you: Keep your shoes away from Winter salts or wipe them clean with a damp cloth immediately when you get home if you have to wear them out in the elements.
3. Keep the Insides Dry
Sure, no one else sees the insides of your shoes, but they’re just as important to maintain if you want your shoes to last. When you can, wear socks or liners with shoes to protect the insoles from perspiration. Occasionally sprinkle the insides with drying agents, such as baking soda, to keep odors at bay. If the insoles are removable, remember to take them out for regular washing or rinsing. And this may sound obvious, but alternate pairs. This gives your shoes time to breathe between wearings.
4. Use Forms to Maintain Shape
Maintaining the shape of your shoes will help them look newer for longer by mitigating creasing, bending, sagging, and flopping. This is especially important for tall boots. You can find boot shapers online, and we use the balls of tissue paper that usually come in the boxes of newly purchased shoes to maintain the shape of our flats, slides, and sneakers.
5. Preventative Care
Good cobblers are always there for you when you need repairs (we have ours on speed dial), but they can also help you prevent wear and tear from the get-go. Ask your local cobbler to add sole protectors, rubber taps for pointed shoes, heel guards, and waterproof leather soles to extend the life of your shoes.