How to Take Care of Shoes

You can make your shoes last longer and look better with some simple maintenance. These tips will save you money because you will not have to buy shoes as often.

Are you tired of buying new shoes frequently because your old shoes keep falling apart? With a little effort and some proper care you can extend the life of your shoes and save yourself money. Dress shoes can be expensive and without proper care they may not look good for very long. It is possible to keep your shoes looking good for a long time if you just follow some simple steps.

1. Buy a good pair of cedar shoe trees.

Shoe trees are form fitting inserts that go inside your shoes when you are not wearing them. They maintain the shape of the shoe which will eliminate creases from forming in the leather. Preventing creases will keep the leather looking good and keep it from cracking or developing a hole. Shoe trees will also help keep the soles flat so the sole will wear more evenly. Shoe trees are made in both plastic and cedar. The cedar shoe trees are better because the wood absorbs moisture and perspiration from the inside of your shoe. After a long day of wearing your shoes, the inside of your shoes can become damp. This moisture, if left inside the shoe, will eventually eat away at the lining of your shoes and cause them to smell. Cedar shoe trees will absorb this moisture, keeping the lining dry and your shoes smelling fresh. It is important to insert shoe trees into your shoes anytime you are not wearing them, but especially after you have just worn them.

2. Buy a good horsehair shoe brush.

A shoe brush will help to brush off dust, dirt, and debris that has found its way onto your shoes. Horsehair is the best material to get because it is durable yet gentle, so it will effectively brush your shoes without scratching the leather. If you buy a lesser quality shoe brush, the bristles may be too coarse and it could scratch your shoes and ruin the leather. Lightly brushing your shoes with a side to side motion will help keep your shoes dirt free.

3. Buy good shoe polish and shine your shoes regularly.

It is important to buy a good shoe polish that is right for your pair of shoes. Since all shoes are different and there are different forms of leather, it is a good idea to ask the salesperson what shoe polish is best at the time you purchase your shoes. You may not think there is a big difference between shoe polishes, but some shoe polishes can actually harm your shoes. A leather crème polish that matches your shoe color will generally help keep the leather properly conditioned so it does not dry out. Some less expensive products that advertise a "quick shine" actually do more harm than good. They may give your shoes a quick shine, but the alcohol and other chemicals will eventually dry out the leather prematurely. Again, it is important to check with your salesperson to see which product is right for your particular pair of shoes. A good process is to wipe your shoes with a clean cotton cloth, apply and rub in some polish, and then shine with the horsehair shoe brush.

4. Treat suede and nubuck differently than regular leather shoes.

You do not want to use polish or leather crème on suede shoes. Using these products will ruin the material by matting it down. Generally, simply brushing these shoes gently should keep them dirt free. It is important to get a special suede brush and to be very gentle because the material is more delicate than leather. You can also spray them with a water proofing spray to keep them from getting ruined in the rain. Suede shoes are more difficult to care for than regular leather shoes, so check with your shoe salesman to make sure you get the right products for it.

5. Keep leather and suede shoes dry.

Wearing your shoes in the rain or in the snow will ruin the material. If you live in a city or a climate where it frequently rains or snows, it may be a good idea to purchase a pair of rubber galoshes to slip over your shoes. They are easy to put on, by simply stretching them over your shoes, and will help make your shoes last longer. If your shoes do get wet, it is a good idea to dry them as soon as possible by wiping the surface with a soft, dry, cotton cloth.

6. If you take proper care of your shoes, the soles should wear out before the leather uppers do.

If this happens, you may not need to replace the shoes. If the leather uppers still look good, it may be worth it to have your shoes resoled. By replacing the soles on your shoes, you may extend the life of your shoes by another two to three years. It all depends on the condition of the leather upper and the cost of resoling versus purchasing a new pair. If the price is too high to resole your shoes, it may be worth it to invest in a new pair. Leather shoe soles will wear out quickly if worn on concrete and asphalt. These hard surfaces will actually chew away at the leather soles. If you live in a city and walk daily on concrete, it is a good idea to buy shoes that have either rubber soles or soles with a rubber heel and a rubber strip underneath the ball of your foot. This will greatly extend the life of the sole. A cobbler can also add this rubber strip when resoling your shoes.

With proper care, you can get your shoes to look better for a longer period of time. You will save money by shining your shoes yourself and not having to buy new shoes every year. These simple maintenance tips will keep your shoes comfortable and your feet happy.