As you become more successful, it’s inevitable. You spend more on your wardrobe because you’ve learned a few things. For instance, quality matters, and one substantial purchase makes more sense than frequent cheap ones. You’ve learned to be good to your footwear because you can’t afford more every time you get caught in the rain. Learning how to take care of your shoes is about protecting your investment.
- Don’t wear them every day. Give them at least a day off to rest.
- Use cedar shoe trees to deodorize, absorb moisture, and retain shape.
- Polish shoes before you wear them and regularly afterward.
- Avoid liquid polish, which “paints” leather more than it cleans it.
- Clean shoes after each wear, even if it’s just buffing them or wiping them down with a damp cloth.
- Establish a kit as you buy each specific product you need.
- Store your shoes out of the sun in a cool, dry environment.
Change the heel tips at a shoe repair shop once they start to wear down and before you can see the inner heel. Store shoes with protruding embellishments (crystals, buckles) in their original bags so that they don’t catch on any material. And don’t ever drive in high heels. Yes, it will damage the backs of your shoes, but, more importantly, heels allow you less control when you drive, which can be a danger to you and others.
Conditioning is the key to retaining your shoes’ color and suppleness. The salt in perspiration dries out leather over time, so polish or wax full-grain leathers at least once a month. A weak solution of vinegar and water can lighten stains.
To keep that shine, use a patent-leather-specific protective spray with silicone. After that, you can wipe them with a damp cloth after each wear. Smooth out scuffs with some Vaseline, and then top them with more patent spray.
Prep your shoes with a water-resistant protector that contains silicone; otherwise, they won’t make it through a single rainstorm. Use a standard rubber eraser to gently work out dirt or stains, or you can use a suede-block from a shoe repair store. Brush suede in the same direction using a non-wired, soft-bristle brush.
Sheepskin definitely requires a sealing spray, and you can approach stains with the same techniques you’d use for suede. Soak up oily stains with a little baby powder; let it sit for a bit, and then brush it off with a suede brush. The best weapon against water stains is actually your other boot—rubbing it will mitigate the demarcation.
If you fall in love with some rarer footwear, learn how to take care of your shoes before you wear them. There are many kinds of animal skins, including snake, alligator, eel, lizard, ostrich, and crocodile. Each one has specific instructions for care. Other shoes have feather accents, various furs, or even precious gems. Make sure you know how to maintain them before you take your ruby slippers out on the town.