No matter how cheap or expensive the shoe, without proper care they will break down quickly, devaluing your investment. A good pair of shoes can make your outfit and day if you have to be on your feet all day, so the last thing any well-dressed man needs is to have his perfect pair get worn down before its time. In this edition of Suit Your Life, we give you five essential tips to extend the life of all your shoes. You’re welcome. —Gardy V. Guerrier
Prepare Before You Wear:
When you first purchase a shoe, bring it to a cobbler to have the shoe waterproofed and rubber taps added to the heel/front tip of the sole. The heel and front of the shoe are the two areas where we apply the most pressure, causing our shoes to wear out the quickest. These rubber taps will work as shock absorbers between the ground and your shoe. If you’re too busy to drop off new shoes, buy some waterproof shoe spray and treat them yourself.
Keep Your Shoes in Shape:
When you remove your shoes after a day’s wear insert a cedar shoetree. The cedar will do two things: 1) absorb any moisture and odor from normal wear and 2) keep the leather upper of your shoe from deforming as it dries.
SYL TIP: You only need one shoetree. Your shoes are the most susceptible to creasing and cracking right after you have worn them due to the moisture that has softened the leather. Once you remove your shoe after a long day, insert the shoetree, and allow your shoes to dry overnight. Repeat the process with the next pair of shoes you wear the next day.
Clean Now, Save Later:
One of the biggest threats to the life of a shoe are the elements. During the course of the four seasons your shoes can be battered by high heat, snow, rain, and sleet, all of which deteriorate the leather. The best way to fight the effect of these elements is to thoroughly clean off these corrosive materials right after wearing. The best way to accomplish this is to wipe down your shoes with a bit of saddle soap (using a clean cloth). With the other end of the cloth, condition the leather with a few drops of mink oil to return its natural shine. These products can be found in most areas where shoe care items are sold.
Give a Shoe a Break:
No shoe should be worn every day. Give your shoes at least 24 hours to dry and set before wearing again. This simple step alone will double the life of your shoe.
Give Your Shoes Some Sole:
No matter how high the quality of the shoe or how well you take care of it, at some point—hopefully, many years from now—the sole and/or heel will wear down to the point of replacement. However, if you followed our recommended steps the top of the shoe should remain in great shape. After your heel and sole have worn down, find a good cobbler, and have them replace your sole. Note: Replace the well-worn leather portion of the sole area with rubber, which will last longer under the pressure of your weight.