Once you find a pair of shoes you love, you want to have them for a long, long time. Shoes are not just an accessory. They have as much impact on our physical well-being as on our fashion statements, especially if we spend a lot of time on our feet. Worn out shoes cause pain by not protecting our feet and by unbalancing our posture. So how can you keep your shoes in great condition and get the most wear out of them?
Choose the Best Shoes
Good shoes are worth investing in because with the right care, they will last a good, long time. A classic style such as a court shoe or loafer from a respected brand name will go the distance and outlast many fads. You won’t regret adding shoes with the looks and quality to endure to your wardrobe. Cheap shoes might be fun for a season, but don’t count on keeping – or wanting – them beyond that.
Having enough good shoes in your wardrobe means you can rotate them so you don’t wear them out as quickly. Each pair can dry and air out properly between wears. It is good for your feet not to wear the same shoes every day.
Shoe Cleaning and Care
How you treat your shoes matters. Ireland’s climate leads to a lot of mud. It’s hard to avoid whether you live in town or out in the country. Cleaning your shoes regularly will keep them looking good and keep them in good repair too. Don’t let them sit muddy or damp overnight. Wipe them dry with a rag when you take them off for the day, and pop them into the hot press if they are wet.
Different materials should be cleaned with different solutions. Leather and many of its similarly smooth substitutes need a wipe and a polish. Suede is entirely different. Canvas has its own needs, and modern runners and walking shoes can be made of a blend of materials. Talk to your local shoe store about the specific needs of your shoes, and avoid putting them in the washing machine. Athletic shoes might come out looking great but it weakens the glue holding them together. White shoes will often have their own demands as far as safe cleaning.
Watch for wear on the heals. With some styles, you can add protectors to prevent wear. Not all shoes and boots can be repaired, but if you’ve invested in the best quality, it makes sense to have footwear re-soled or reheeled as necessary rather than replacing it. You can also buy stick-on sole protectors that will add life to your shoes.
Storing Your Shoes Safely
Once your shoes are clean and dry, you can keep them in good condition by storing them safely. Shoe trees are designed to help your shoes keep their shape, but you can also use crumbled newspaper. Saving the paper or cardboard that originally came with the shoes also works! If you have a sports-mad youngster whose shoes get sweaty and smelly, don’t let them outside. Clean them off, fill old socks with bread soda, tie them shut and pop one into each shoe.
It might be convenient to toss all the shoes into one big basket or to kick them under the bed, but that won’t protect them from damage. Instead, keep them in their original boxes or in bags. A next-best option is to use a plastic under-bed storage box with a lid. Protecting your shoes from dust, direct sunlight, moisture and pets will mean you can enjoy them for a lot longer.