We ofter have clients coming in with beat-up shoes asking for help on how to keep 'em fresh and clean. Time to give you some insight on how to treat your shoes so they can last you a lifetime.
Here are a few tips on how to take care of your favorite pair:
EMERGENCY MEASURES AND LONG-TERM CARE FOR SHOES
Shoe trees: Shoe trees are crucial. They allow your recently worn shoes to contract and dry out to their ideal shape — but only if you choose the less decorative unvarnished ones. Varnished trees look posh, but they don't properly draw moisture — i.e., sweat — out of the leather. Top marks go to unfinished cedar models with a split toe and a fully shaped heel: These ensure the closest possible fit between shoe and tree. Also, there's no need to own a pair of trees for each pair of shoes. The vital time for using them is the hour or two after you have removed the shoes from your feet. After that, the shoes will have returned to their natural architecture and the trees can be removed.
Repair work: Invest as much care in choosing a cobbler to resole or reheel your shoes as you did in repurchasing them. And to prevent permanent damage (or, at least, the outrageous repair costs), have all work done before it's absolutely necessary.
Suede: Suede shoes are in a category of their own, since you cannot polish away any scuff marks. Use a suede eraser (basically a brick of crumbly rubber) to rub away small blemishes. Then use a suede brush to restore the nap, or fuzz, of the leather.
Wet shoes: Stuff soaking-wet shoes with newspaper and dry them away from direct heat. Direct heat can dry the leather too fast, causing it to crack — and once that happens, nothing can save your shoes.
Salt stains: The traditional remedy for road-salt stains is a little vinegar and water, applied sparingly.
WHAT TO DO WHEN YOU'RE SOAKING WET
You were caught in a downpour on your way home from work. Act fast and do as follows.
Stuff your shoes with crumpled-up newspaper and dry slowly, away from direct heat. Before they're entirely dry, insert cedar shoe trees to make sure they dry out evenly and maintain their shape.
WHAT TO DO ABOUT SMELLY SHOES
Prevention: Wash your feet more often and wash your socks even more often, and don't wear the same pair of shoes every day. (Ideally, have three interchangeable pairs of dress shoes.) Also, try inserting unvarnished cedar shoe trees into just-removed shoes. They'll absorb perspiration, deodorize the shoes, and straighten them out after daily wear.
Cure: Change your insoles, or better, take your shoes to a cobbler to have the insoles replaced. Beyond that, contact your local exorcist.
HOW TO POLISH A SHOE
- Wipe your shoes down with a damp cloth to remove superficial dirt and stains.
- Wet the welt brush and scrub out the entire welt strip.
- If the shoes need it, apply sole-edge dressing — carefully. If you get it on the uppers, it will stain them permanently. Let edge dressing dry before going any further.
- Apply polish, using a circular rubbing motion. You don't need to slather it on. You don't need to be gentle. And the more you rub, the better. Let the polish dry. It should take about five minutes.
- Buff the entire shoe with a polishing brush. For extra gleam, hold the shoe between your knees and buff the toe vigorously with a lint-free cloth.
SHOES AS INVESTMENTS
Cheap shoes are a false bargain. They're made of glue, rubber, and low-grade leather, which often bears scars from shrubs, trees, and barbed wire (the normal hazards of bovine life), and which is rejected out of hand by reputable shoemakers. Good shoes begin with great leather, period. Be prepared to pay for it. Of course, once you have invested your hard-earned cash in a quality pair, you're going to want to hang on to them. Put a little time and effort into looking after them and they'll last longer than any three pairs of cheap clodhoppers.
Now that you've got this covered it's time to invest!
Shop our Church's, Santoni's and much more in our Shoe Collection by clicking here.