It’s quite obvious that I love shoes, and I sometimes end up splurging on footwear when I’m in the mood for some change. Spending on shoes is a great pastime for many women, but how many of you actually take care of your shoes like you’re supposed to. Sure you clean them and put them neatly on the rack after you’re done with them, but is that enough?

You’ll probably be surprised to learn that there’s so much more to taking care of a good pair of shoes than just cleaning and leaving them on the shelf in your cupboard. Cleaning is the first step in taking care of your shoes, but if you apply a few other strategies, you can have your favourite pair of shoes looking as good as new for a longer time.

So how do you look after your shoes to maximize their life? The first step is in making the right purchase.

Don’t compromise on quality

It’s always a good idea to choose footwear that is made from natural materials like leather or suede. When you buy shoes, you don’t want to be chucking them in just a month so make sure that you go for something that is good quality. Yes, good quality shoes are pricier than the run of the mill shoes, and might dig a hole in your purse, but they will handle the wear and tear better than a cheap pair.

Safeguard your soles

The first thing that begins to wear off with a good pair of shoes are the soles, as most of the body is concentrated on that area when you move about.  You can make your soles last much longer by using removable sticky protectors. These can be used on trainers as well as on high heels and are pretty simple to fix onto your shoes. I can tell you from first-hand experience that these sticky protectors work wonders!

Keep them free of moisture.

Have you ever tried stuffing your shoes with the ubiquitous newspaper? It’s great for drying out any excess moisture and also reduces odour. Newspaper inside your shoes will also help preserve the shape and prevent dry rot. Use a shoe tree if you don’t want to be crumpling newspaper every day.

Use Water Repellent

Spraying your shoes with water repellent is essential to help protect your shoes from the elements. Waterproofing your shoes will help them last longer. Remember to also clean any salt that may get onto your shoes to prevent stains.

Store them in a dry place

Storing shoes wrongly can also lead to their degradation.  Just dumping your shoes in the closet or leaving them in the sun can cause fading and scratching. Line your shoes up neatly on the floor of your closet or on shelves leaving enough breathing space between pairs. If you have a dust bag that came with the shoes, use it!

Buff and Shine

Your dress shoes should be kept sparkling by spot cleaning after every use.  Apply polish to any scuff marks after cleaning them and allow it to dry. Use a rag or an old soft cloth to buff them. Doing this on a regular basis will keep your shoes strong and long-lasting.

Moisturise

Just like your skin needs constant moisturizing to remain soft and wrinkle free, so do your leather shoes. Use a quality shoe moisturizer that gets absorbed into the leather to nourish your shoes and keep them fresh. Look out for poor quality creams which just sit on top of the leather without getting absorbed. These can do more harm than good to your shoes.

Hand wash your shoes

Washing machines have definitely made life simpler, but subjecting your canvas shoes to the rigorous wash and dry cycle is only going to wear them out faster.  Scrubbing your shoes by hand will increase their life and also give you a bit of exercise! However, don’t wait months to wash your shoes or you’ll never get the dirt out!

After reading all this you’re probably thinking “that’s a lot to do for a pair of shoes,” but from my own personal experience I can tell you it’s worth the effort. I have several pairs of shoes lined up in my closet that look like they were unboxed just yesterday!

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