Weather and general wear and tear takes its toll on our shoes and boots. Rain, mud and salt can leave unwelcome marks.
Shoestyles have been selling shoes for many years so know a thing or two about them. here are some tips for looking after and prolonging the life of your favourite footwear.
1. Clean, condition, polish and seal footwear regularly. There are several leathers and suedes around and all should be cleaned and treated differently.
– Smooth leather
Remove dust with a damp cloth. Use shoe cream for cleaning, then select a neutral shade of polish or a colour that most closely matches your shoe. Never polish wet shoes.
– Scuff-resistant leather
Remove minor scuffs simply by rubbing them with your hand, which has natural oil that will restore the original look of the leather. For deeper scrapes and scuffs, use a soft brush and neutral polish.
– Suede leather
If shoes are wet, first let them dry, then use a rubber sponge or soft brush to eliminate any clinging dirt. Regular brushing will keep the nap of the suede clean. Stubborn stains should be removed with commercial stain remover made for use on suede. Never put suede shoes in a washing machine or immerse them in water.
– Nubuck leather
Treat the same as suede leather.
2. Remove salt stains on leather shoes immediately with easy-to-use salt stain remover, before they set. If you don’t have any stain remover, for leather shoes, use a mixture of one cup of warm water with one tablespoon of white vinegar. Apply with a soft cloth, gently rubbing the soiled area. For more delicate suede shoes and boots, simply dab salt stains with a little clean water.
3. Remember to allow all footwear to dry thoroughly before you put them on again. Your shoes should be waxed or oiled so that they tend to repel water. The less water absorbed by leather, the longer it will last and the more comfortable you’ll be. Wet leather will stretch and weaken, then shrink and become brittle as it dries.
Once your shoes are wet, they should be dried as soon as possible with room temperature, dry air. If you’re in a situation where you can’t properly dry your footwear, wear them in a dry area until they can dry out a bit before you take them off. It’s important to avoid drying them near a fire or heater. This overheating will literally cook the leather and cause it to become stiff and brittle. The best technique is to ensure that dry, room temperature air can circulate inside the shoes or boots.
If you let the footwear stay wet for days without drying out, they may become mouldy which is almost impossible to get rid of.
Avoid putting shoes in the clothes washer or dryer.
4. Extend the life of shoes with protective soles and heel plates (now available with-out nails). And resoling footwear will triple their life.
5. Buy new shoes as early in the day as possible. Feet increase in size by 5 to 8% by end of day.
6. Keep shoes looking their best by using cedar shoetrees.
7. Have a shoe repair professional stretch footwear that is too tight.
8. Cornstarch will help remove foot odor. Or, for a less messy application, purchase a shoe deodorant powder or aerosol.
9. Prevent knee, hip and back problems by keeping shoe heels balanced. Have your heels changed as needed.
10. When traveling, use shoe bags. This will prevent shoes touching with your clothing and if you turn a shoe bag inside out, you can use it as a shoe mitt!
11. Rotate your shoes! Shoes need a day off. If you want your fine leather shoes to last longer, never wear them for two consecutive days.
12. Use a shoe horn. Always use a shoe horn when putting on your shoes. This saves the heel collar and counter from unnecessary wear.
Taking good care of your footwear protects your investment and makes your favourite, comfortable shoes and boots last longer.