Every shoe requires special attention – from leather shoes to sneakers. At the same time, all shoes cannot be treated equally. A pair of full grain leather shoes cannot be treated in the same manner as ugg boots. Each type of shoe needs special care and maintenance.
While buying a good quality shoe is just the first step, the long life of the footwear is dependent on how you take care of it. It is only natural, that maintaining them might slip our minds in the midst of our daily schedules.
There is no way to fake nice shoes – especially as they are the foundation of your outfit. If the shoes are not maintained well, but you have a great outfit – you will still make a bad impression. If you have a bad outfit, but great shoes, then you are still better off.
The biggest mistake made by men is neglecting their shoes after buying and bringing them home. Time and effort must go into maintaining the material and the sole. Only then will the shoes stand up to the wear and tear that you might inflict upon them.
Leather shoes are the perfect addition for your wardrobe. They can be used as morning or evening wear. They are long lasting – if you take good care of them. The daily wear and tear can harm them which makes maintenance extremely important. The shoes that will be your go-to pair – whether you wear them for work, going out or to the church – deserve a lot of love. With easy tips, one can easily shine their shoes at home.
Conditioning the uppers of the leather shoes, will ensure that the lustre and color of the shoes lasts a long time. A slightly damp cloth should be used to wipe the shoe, to ensure that there is no dirt. This should be done before any sort of conditioning cream is applied to the shoes.
A weak vinegar and water solution should be used to remove any stains – including salt stains – on the shoe. A cup of water should be mixed with half a cup of vinegar to make the solution. The solution will help lighten the stain. After the shoe gets stain-free and dried up, good quality cream (in the color of the leather) should be applied on the shoe.
It is very important to invest in a good shoe polish in the right color. Sometimes, all a shoe needs is a good shoe polish and some love to ensure that the shoe gets its old shine back. It is not good to get a black shoe polish for your brown leather shoes.
Leather shoes should be polished once a month, at the very least. A leather restorer or lanolin-based lotion should be used. Polish your shoes each time you put them on. And, if you are planning to take them out in bad weather, rub them with a brush real well.
However, you should polish your shoes only when you know, for sure, you will not be using the shoe the next day. This gives the shoe time to absorb the polish and not attract any dust (Just like oily skin, freshly polished leather shoes are bound to attract more dirt and get damaged). Moreover, you need to ensure that every part of the shoe’s surface is evenly covered with polish to avoid stains.
For polishing shoes, one needs to own a clean piece of cloth, a shining cloth, a good quality (and of the right color) shoe polish and a horsehair shoe brush. To ensure that you have a good shine on your shoe, you need to first ensure that the place where you are working on your shoes should be covered, or else polishing the shoes will get messy.
Here’s how you acquire the right tools needed to bring out a great shine on your leather shoes…
Polish can come in cream, wax or liquid. The first two work really well for leather shoes and sink in better as they are heavier. The liquid polishes are better when you need a quick and easy shine.
Pick the right color of your polish to ensure that it matches your shoes. Or choose a neutral polish that works well with all colors of leather.
Horse hair brushes are the best for shining leather shoes. Once you have applied the shoe polish, you need to buff it up using a soft horse hair brush. Though there are many variants of shoe brushes in the market such as goat hair and pig bristle, horse hair brushes generally work best with leather shoes.
In case you do not have all the other equipment to polish your shoes – an old cotton cloth, or T-shirt and a toothbrush will work perfectly.
In case your leather shoes get soaked by the rain, do not leave them next to a heater, or dry them out using a hairdryer as heat can make the leather dry, leading to cracks. It is best practice to use paper towels to soak up all the extra water and dirt, stuff the shoes with newspaper, and leave them to dry in the air.
A shoe, that is worn regularly, has the tendency to change shape. To ensure that your shoes last a while, it is best to invest in an unvarnished cedar shoe tree to place in your shoe when not in use. The shoe trees help the leather shoes retain their original shape, and absorb the moisture of the shoe. Shoe trees should be placed inside the shoes within two hours after being taken off the feet. As an added benefit, shoe trees also help freshen up the shoes.
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Shoe horns help you ease your foot into the shoe. It is a thin curved spoon-like tool essential for putting on shoes. A shoe horn prevents you from treading on the back of the heels and damaging the shoe heels.
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All leather connoisseurs know that leathers are animal skins and they need to breathe. Leathers can last you a lifetime, and are generally passed down from one generation to the other. But they need to be cared for. Leather needs time to return to its original shape and form after use. Overuse of leather reduces its age and durability.
It is generally advised to get multiple shoes that you can swap between them, as on the longer run – juggling between two or three pairs will ensure that the shoes have a longer life. This practice ensures longer life for all your shoes as all the shoe pairs get sufficient resting and breathing time.
Suede shoes might look extremely classy, but maintaining them in difficult weather conditions is a nightmare. Suede protector sprays (which are silicon based) should be purchased to ensure that the suede shoes are protected against the weather. Th spray should be applied on the upper of the shoe. It will absorb the product overnight and make the shoe weatherproof.
While suede shoes don’t need to be polished like leather shoes, they do need to be cleaned. Here are some tips for looking after your suede shoes well.
Water-resistant spray needs to be used on your suede shoes to ensure that the surface is seal-protected against any and all damage. This should be done before you take your suede shoes out. Because, if the shoes get wet, it will become extremely difficult to repair them.
In case the shoes get wet in the rain, stuff balled up newspapers in your shoes to absorb the water and help them retain their shape.
A rubber eraser, or suede block, should be used to remove dirt if your shoes get dirty. Target the stains with the eraser, remove them and then follow with a brush. The shoes should be brushed only in one direction in order to remove the dust. Use only soft bristle brushes for this. If certain suedes are brushed in multiple directions, the color of the shoes can appear to be inconsistent.
Suede shoes should be sealed using a silicone-based suede spray. But before you start using the product, spray a little on the least visible part of your shoe. Leave it for a few hours to see if the color changes. Find the right suede spray for your shoes to retain their color and ensure their longevity.
Your trainers need a chance to breathe. So even if you have a favorite pair of trainers, you need to rotate between other pairs to keep using them for a long, long time.
Trainers can, yes, be washed in the washing machine. But before you put your trainers in the washing machine, make sure you follow the following steps:
After they are washed, leave them in the air to dry – which will make the trainers look fresh and neat. (Do not try to speed the drying process by putting them in the clothes’ dryer)
Running shoes have a mesh or knit on the upper – which makes caring for them easy.
One of the first things to remember is to take them off and put them on with care. So laces should be loosened before you do that – to ensure that the heel of the shoe doesn’t get squashed down.
Air the running shoes out after each use. Also, don’t use your shoes if your feet are damp. Most fungal infections happen when the shoes get damp due to overuse.
Do not tumble, or heat dry the shoes. Always let them air dry – not under direct sunlight but in an airy room (preferably with the fan on).
A vinegar and water solution or nail polish remover can help remove stains on white running shoes.
Cleaning chuck taylors is easy. Use a good quality cleanser or laundry detergent mixed with water. Lather using a brush (firm bristles) or a tooth brush, and cover the entire surface of the shoe with the foam. Wipe the foam off and leave it to air dry. Soaking the chucks in water will cause the sole of the shoe to start cracking.
In case you do not want to use detergents, use a baking soda-water paste on the stains on the shoe. The paste should be left on for about twenty minutes to remove the stains. Before wiping it off, the paste should be worked into the fabric of the shoe using a scrubbing brush.
A white non-gel toothpaste can also be used if you need something to clean your shoe (and you don’t have any baking soda). Work it on the stain and leave it for ten minutes. Wipe off with a cloth and leave the shoe to air dry.
Preemptively protecting a sheepskin shoe makes sense. A good quality sealing spray should be used. Use a rubber eraser on stains, by rubbing it gently and brushing it in one direction with a suede brush.
In case the shoes are really dirty, wet a cloth with warm water and dampen the outside of the shoe. Ensure that you don’t get them extremely wet though. A solution of two parts vinegar and one part water should be used to scrub away the stains. Another damp towel should be used to wipe off the vinegar solution. A shoe tree or some balled up paper should be stuffed inside the shoes before it is left to air dry.
Oil stains can be removed by using baby powder. Cover the stain with the powder, and brush it off with the suede brush.
Removing water stains from Uggs can be done by rubbing sheepskin on sheepskin. Rub one boot with another to remove the stain.
If the shoes start smelling – mix equal parts corn starch and baking soda, and put the mix inside boots. Shake it in the boots and leave them overnight. Shake them thoroughly the next day.
To get mud off of these boots, brush them using a soft bristle brush or a wet cloth. Apply leather food to the uppers using even strokes. However, test out the desired color of the leather food in a not-easily seen spot of your work boots. Leave it overnight and brush off the excess in the morning.
Sandals are made with a rubber-like plastic. If taken out on a beach, the sandal needs to be wiped down. If the sandal starts to smell bad, however, baking soda should be added to the water that is used to wash it. Flip flops can be washed in the machine, or simply wiped with a clean cloth.
Synthetic footwear, if not dried well enough, can get smelly. Use a damp, soapy cloth to wipe any dirt residue. Stick a laundry dryer sheet in the shoe overnight and let them dry. This will help remove the stink from the shoes.
Crocs cannot be machine-washed, so they can be cleaned using laundry detergent in water. Avoid using direct heat or tumble drying – as it will cause the shoe to shrink.
Let’s look at the list of what one should NOT do to their shoes…
Never store your shoes in plastic. Every shoe needs to breathe, and storing them in plastic doesn’t give it air
No amount of cleaning can save a shoe if you over-wear and overwork it.
Do not wear your shoes if your feet are dry. The shoes can get mouldy, and this is a sure-fire way of developing a fungal infection.
Always wipe mud and other liquids off your shoe. Doing this, as soon as possible, will ensure that there are no stains on the leather shoe.
Always air-dry your shoe. Keeping them near a heat source or even using a hairdryer, might cause leather shoes to crack.