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HOW TO TAKE CARE OF YOUR SHOES

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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

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.

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Quick Tips That Help You Care For Your Leather Shoes

1. Conditioning

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.

2. Getting Rid of Stains

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.

3. Polish Your Leather Shoes

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…

A. Choose the right polish.

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.

B. Pick the right color of polish.

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.

C. Buy a good buffing brush.

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.

D. Other equipment

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.

Steps For A Perfect Polish Job
  • Clean your shoes. Use the brush to remove any dust or dirt from the shoes.
  • Use the lightly damp cloth to clean the shoes, and leave them to air dry completely.
  • Use a piece of cloth, wrapped around the index and middle fingers, and dip it in the polish. Apply it generously on the shoe, with circular motions. Apply more polish in the areas that bend while walking to cover the shoes with polish evenly.
  • Wipe off any excess polish and leave the shoes out to air dry. The polish will dry – preferably overnight.
  • The next step will be to make the shoes shine. Buff that polish on the shoes with a horse hair brush well. Do not apply too much pressure, just repetitive buffing motions and the shoes will start shining. More buffing means more shine.

4. Air Dry

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.

5. Keep Them in Shape

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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6. Shoe Horn

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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7. Multiple Shoes in Wardrobe

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

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.

Tip For Maintaining Suede Shoes

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.

1. Water-resistant sprays

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.

2. Use Newspapers

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.

3. Using Suede Block To Remove Dirt

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.

4. Choose The Right Suede Spray

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.

TRAINERS

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:

  • Wipe them down with a cloth.
  • Take the insoles out.
  • Place your trainers inside a pillowcase, with a couple of towels.
  • Put them inside the washing machine at the cold wash setting.

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

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.

CHUCK TAYLORS

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.

UGGS

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.

Using Vinegar Water Solution

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.

Baby Powder

Oil stains can be removed by using baby powder. Cover the stain with the powder, and brush it off with the suede brush.

Rubbing One Boot On The Other

Removing water stains from Uggs can be done by rubbing sheepskin on sheepskin. Rub one boot with another to remove the stain.

Getting Rid Of Bad Odor

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.

WORKBOOTS/HIKING BOOTS

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

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 LEATHER

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

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.

Quick LOOK AFTER Tips For Your Shoes

  • Always, always consider the material of the shoe. Different materials require different kinds of care and cleaning.
  • Shoes need to be kept in proper shape – shoe trees and balled-up newspapers can be used to do that. Invest in a good shoe tree (preferably in cedar) to ensure that your shoe is well taken care of.
  • Always keep your trainers clean.
  • Swap between multiple shoes. This will help them air out and extend the lifespan of the shoe. Alternating between pairs will ensure that the shoes have time to breathe. Also, let them dry for several hours before putting them inside the closet.
  • Always, always spray your leather shoes with a protector if you are going out in the wet weather with them. Spray the protector even on new shoes.
  • Never store leather shoes in a box.
  • Clean the insides of the shoes, especially if there is an issue with the odor. Swab the shoe with tea tree oil or alcohol (only a drop and no more). Take care to ensure that the leather is not stained.
  • Use sock liners as it will protect the shoe against perspiration.
  • Polish the leather. Regular polishing keeps the leather supple.
  • Keep water away from your leather shoes. In case they do come into contact with water, stuff newspapers into the shoes and let them dry. Do this the minute you get home.
  • Wax Polishes make the surface of the shoes shine. The polish creates a coating over the shoe and gives the appropriate shine needed. To make it better, wipe the shoe with a piece of nylon and the perfect shine can be achieved.
  • Have a cobbler repair your shoe, the minute you see that it might need repair. The minute you see a small bit of damage, it is best to take it to the cobbler. The cost might be far less than the cost of replacement.
  • If your shoes have leather soles, ask your cobbler to add a rubble sole. The leather soles will then be protected against damage. Also, rubber soles give the wearer traction. Its easier and affordable.

 

What NOT TO DO:

Let’s look at the list of what one should NOT do to their shoes…

1. Storing In Plastic

Never store your shoes in plastic. Every shoe needs to breathe, and storing them in plastic doesn’t give it air

2. Over Wearing

No amount of cleaning can save a shoe if you over-wear and overwork it.

3. Putting Shoes On Wet Feet

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.

4. Keeping Your Shoes Dirty

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.

5. Heat-Drying Your Shoes

Always air-dry your shoe. Keeping them near a heat source or even using a hairdryer, might cause leather shoes to crack.

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