How to keep your shoes in tip top condition for longer.
There’s nothing worse than buying a new pair of shoes, wearing them out for the first time, and having a downpour of rain stain the suede or soften the leather. To make sure your shoes remain wearable for as long as possible, we’ve put together a guide on how to protect your favourite pair of leather, suede or patent shoes and heels.
How to look after your heels
High heeled shoes require special care to keep them in good condition. Here are a few things you need to look out for.
- Thinner heels have smaller surface area in contact with the ground putting more pressure on the heel tip and causing much more wear and tear as compared to flats or shoes with wider heels. It is important to get the heel tips replaced often if there is a lot of wear as that can make the shoes unstable and can also lead to damaged heels.
- Replacement heel tips are easily available and are similar to a thumb tag. They can easily be replaced by removing the old heel tips with a pair of pliers and pushing in the new tips.
- To keep your stiletto heels from digging into soft ground or to prevent abrasion when walking on hard surfaces, heel guards can be used which are available clear or in a wide range of colours to match your shoes. They will protect the heel tips from digging into soft ground, prevent wear of the heel tips and prevent damage to the material on the heels.
- Keeping the heels clean is essential to keep them in tip top condition. Make sure to wipe your heels with a damp cloth after each use to get rid of any dirt which might cause staining of the material around the heel tips.
- Make your heels weather proof by rubbing some water repellent on to them. It will also prevent stain from dirt and grime.
- Broken heels can be fixed with cobbler’s glue which is easily available. But in most instances it is better to seek a professional cobblers help to get a clean and reliable fix.
- Every so often give your leather shoes a day off to air, which will dry out the moisture and therefore the leather, will last longer.
- If your leather shoes get damp, always allow the leather to dry at room temperature away from a heater – heaters can cause the leather to become brittle.
- When applying any sealant sprays to your leather footwear, always do a pre-test on a small hidden area before applying to the whole surface.
- To clean your shoes, remove dirt with a dry cloth and then dampen the cloth with warm water and wipe again. Always use high quality cream polish to buff and shine.
- Start with brushing your suede shoes with a suede brush before you spray on a sealant (which can be purchased from any footwear retail store). Simply apply a thin layer over your suede shoes, which will last for several months and will prevent the shoe from staining.
- Should you spill liquid on your suede shoes or it starts raining whilst you’re out and about, pat the damp area down with a clean cloth or towel, apply a layer of corn meal or talcum powder and allow to set overnight. Don’t forget to brush the suede the following day with a suede brush to remove the excess powder.
- If you happen to get a dry stain on your shoes the best way to remove is by rubbing it off using a kneaded eraser or an emery board. For heavier stains for e.g. water or salt stains use a small amount of white vinegar and a clean towel to blot the stain away.
- To freshen up suede shoes that are looking a little worse for wear scrub clean with a toothbrush or terrycloth towel.
- Patent shoes are easy to care for - commercial patent cleaners produce great results for several weeks/months. To quickly rejuvenate, spray furniture polish to make your patent shoes look as good as new.
- In the absence of a commercial cleaner to treat any scuffs to patent leather, rub in a small drop of mineral oil or petroleum jelly with a clean cloth until scuff marks disappear.
- For particularly stubborn scuff marks a felt tip pen works wonders. Dab a black felt-tip marker onto a damp towel and lightly rub the scuff mark to hide any imperfections.
- Waterproof boots and feet are the perfect recipe for making shoes a little smelly! Don’t forget insoles are usually machine washable – just check the label first before you pop them into the washing machine.
- Keep the boot clean by using a variety of brushes: tackle large clumps with a more coarse brush, taking care to avoid scuffing the leather. For smaller clumps of dirt in hard-to-reach areas, an old toothbrush is ideal.
- Tackle stubborn mould caused by damp with a simple home remedy. Mix four parts water and one part vinegar, and gently remove the mould with a brush, taking care to avoid contact with your boots’ waterproof fabric.
- Although it’s tempting to quickly dry your boots on a radiator, this method is best avoided as it can cause your boots to expand, which weakens the fabric. Drying naturally in a warm, well ventilated room is always preferable to ensure the longevity of your boots.
Different fabrics have their own specific requirements for keeping them in perfect condition. By following these tips, you can ensure that your favourite pairs of shoes stay comfortable and wearable for as long as possible, giving you plenty of time to enjoy wearing them.