Once you have found a pair of shoes you like and have spent money on, you want them to last. Nothing upsets me more than when my favorite pair of shoes wears out too fast or when my sons’ shoes break after only a few months (or even weeks). Here are some tips on how to make your shoes last longer and care for them.
How to care for your shoes:
∞ Rotate between two pairs of shoes for different uses. Shoes will last longer and do better if they can air out/breathe between wearings.
∞ Take your athletic shoes off properly by unlacing them and removing them with your hand.
∞ Use your athletic shoes just for exercise (not for around the house or around town).
∞ Spray your new shoes with a waterproof/stain protector like Scotchguard spray.
∞ Wear hose or sock liners with dress shoes to avoid perspiration eroding the insoles.
∞ Use shoe trees to help your shoes keep their shape. Cedar is best for use on shoes you just wore that day because it will absorb moisture. You can use plastic trees for other shoes. My husband has shoe trees in the shoes he doesn’t wear as often and stores in the closet.
∞ Be sure to polish leather shoes periodically because the salt from sweat can dry out leather over time. Polishing will keep the leather supple.
∞ If you have a problem with smelly shoes, consider using an insole. You can also clean the inside of your shoes with alcohol or a drop of tea tree oil on a swab. Be sure not to get either on leather as it will stain.
∞ Check into whether your shoes can be resoled and if the cost is worth it. See my previous post “Doing a little sole searching.”
With the help of a good shoe repair person (cobbler) you can do a lot to fix or make over a pair of shoes. Just be sure to evaluate the cost of those repairs versus how much you paid for the shoes!
∞ If you have a pair of heels that are too high, look into getting them cut down to a shorter height. The same can go for raising a heel. Generally, a half-inch higher or lower is about the limit.
∞ Consider dying your shoes if their color has faded from rain or other elements. This works best for leather and fabric, not suede or man-made materials.
∞ Change the heels to a thinner or thicker shape.
∞ Add embellishments like faux gemstones or grosgrain ribbon to the toes.
∞ Convert pointy-toed shoes to round toed shoes or closed shoes to peep-toed shoes.
∞ Change knee-high boots into ankle boots. The cost will depend on the lining and zipper types.
∞ Add or remove straps. A pump or flat shoe can become a Mary Jane or ankle strap. The same can be done in reverse.
** To find a trained cobbler in your area, visit the Shoe Service Institute of America.
** For tips on using insoles to solve various problems: “Save your Soles” from Real Simple Magazine.
- “When to replace your shoes” from REI.
- “How to care for your shoes” from Real Simple Magazine.
- “How to revive worn clothes and shoes” from Real Simple Magazine.
- “Make over your Shoes” from Real Simple Magazine.