20.07.2017

How to Care For Your Shoes

The next best thing to copping new kicks is keeping your prized pairs fresh for longer

Illustrations: Kirsten King

We already showed you how to keep your white sneakers white, and then Schalk Bezuidenhout gave all of us a lesson in sneaker cleaning with this video, but what about all your other shoe needs?

Not all footwear is created equal, and you can’t treat a leather brogue or a pair of suede Chelsea boots the same way you mistreat a canvas sneaker. Each shoe requires specific care and maintenance, and often prevention will be far better than any cure.

Here’s our list of how to care for all of your footwear.

Stop the stench

HOW TO CARE FOR SHOES

Wear socks to protect your shoes from sweat and odour. Even with socks and rotating the pairs you wear, there might still be a lingering smell, which you can beat by taking the insoles out, giving them a scrub and spraying the shoe with a sneaker spray. 

Care for canvas

HOW TO CARE FOR SHOES

Resist the temptation to throw your shoes in the washing machine: chances are the soles will split from the upper. Grab an old toothbrush and go at them by hand instead, spot cleaning. 

Dry wet shoes

HOW TO CARE FOR SHOES

Water ruins shoes, and you can avoid permanent damage by drying them out as soon as possible. Do this by stuffing up rolled up newspaper and leaving in a ventilated area. Don’t try to speed the process up using the microwave or oven. Those things kill shoes faster than a downpour ever could. 

Make leather last

HOW TO CARE FOR SHOES

It’s not just rain that will ruin your leather shoes, but even sweat, where salt will dry them out. Regular polishing is to shoes what moisturiser is to your skin and will keep the leather supple. Then, a shoe tree will help to keep your shoe’s form, and those made of cedar will absorb the slightest hints of moisture. 

Save your suede

HOW TO CARE FOR SHOES

Suede shoes are an investment that needs more TLC than ordinary leather. Treat yours with a suede specific protective spray that will fight off mud, water and whatever else you step in. 

No mistake, rotate

HOW TO CARE FOR SHOES

We’re guilty of getting stuck on a new favourite, but alternating your shoes every day will give them time to breathe and prolong their life. You should also remember to leave them out for a few hours before shoving them into your stuffy cupboard. 

Stay well heeled

HOW TO CARE FOR SHOES

If you splurge on leather sole dress shoes, get a cobbler to place a rubber sole, half-sole or taps to the bottom. You’ll slip far less and these reinforcements will add years to your smarts.

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