Take a look in your closet, and inventory your shoe collection. Quite an investment, isn’t it? When you factor in designer shoes, work shoes and sport shoes, your feet may receive more attention than any other part of your body. Keeping your shoes in shape is one way to protect your investment and your feet.
Tips for Taking Care of Your Shoes
Instead of the occasional overhaul and frenzy of last- minute polishing, good shoe management involves regular maintenance and consistent care.
Where to Put Them When They’re Not on Your Feet
1. If you get your shoes wet, let them dry slowly in an area where there’s good air flow. Never put your shoes on a furnace register or heater to dry. This will shrink the leather, loosen the bonding material and put them at risk for cracking, peeling and discoloration.
2. Keep shoes out of sunlight and away from heat sources when you’re not wearing them.
3. Keep shoes separate. If your shoes are a mad jumble at the bottom of the closet or under the bed, they probably rub against one another, causing scratches and scuffs. Protect your investment by keeping shoes in a shoe cubby or in individual boxes where they’ll be protected.
4. Provide shoe trees for your best shoes. These wooden shoe mannequins help your shoes resume their original shape after a leather- stretching workout. As shoes cool and dry, they contract, and having a nice solid form inserted in the interior of each shoe after a hard day’s work will keep them looking and feeling good longer.
Give your shoes some tender, loving and care when you put them on and take them off. Use a shoehorn. The stiff back, or collar, of a shoe hugs the ankle and provides support and a snug fit. It isn’t supposed to bend or flex. If you’re cramming your feet into your shoes without the help of a shoe horn, the constant flexing will break down the stiff material at the collar and can do irreparable damage to your shoes in no time.
Shoes spend their time hugging your feet, which can get sweaty and smelly. Avoid wearing a pair of shoes two days running or more. A little R & R will allow them to dry out, dissipate lingering odor and regain their shape.
Clean and polish your shoes regularly. The cleaning materials and methods will vary depending on the type of shoe, but regular maintenance to remove marks and repair the ravages of friction and moisture will extend the life of your shoes and keep them feeling supple and comfortable.
If your shoes see a lot of action in wet weather, consider waterproofing them. It’ll protect the finish and cut down on shoe maintenance and polishing.
There’s one important shoe tip we haven’t mentioned yet: Quality shoes typically last longer and fit better than cheap shoes. When you’re looking for longevity and resistance to wear, pay more. Don’t stop there, though. Insist on a great fit, too. Expect to try on a number of shoes before you discover a pair that works for you.
A superior shoe will give your foot support and look great doing it. You may not be able to afford a closet full of quality shoes, but if you stick to a few classic styles and treat them well, your core collection will look great for years.