In this article, I will address some practical ways to care for your shoes. Being that I am such a shoe connoisseur and have been for some time, I can tell you that the maintenance of the shoes you own is just as important as the type of shoe you choose. Throughout the years, I have run in-numerous guys, young and old included; who wear nice shoes, but who have failed to properly take care of them. A good shoe without proper maintenance can result in short life span of the shoe where the soles are worn out beyond repair and the leather is too degraded to be restored. On the other hand, when the shoe is treated with care and not over worn, they can have a life span of up to 10+ years. Please be mindful that the quality of shoes you purchase has a lot to do with how long they will last as well. For example, a shoe that is not completely leather or very partially leather, may not hold up as long as a quality pair of footwear would. In a future post, I will go into detail regarding choosing quality footwear and what to look for. Below are a few easy-to-follow steps as to how care for your shoes:
It is recommended that you shine your shoes as soon as you get them. This will condition the leather and give a nice shine to your new shoes. Be sure to shine them regularly and not to wear them several times a week to allow time for the shoes to breath.
If the shoes have already been worn and this is not their first time out of the box, be sure to remove the shoe laces and sweep off any dirt and dust on the shoes by using a soft bristled brush to do so. This will eliminate any of the pre-existing debris prior to applying the shoe polish or conditioner to your shoes.
After removing your shoes from wearing them, be sure to insert cedar shoe trees which will help to absorb any moisture in the shoe as well as re-form the shape of the shoe itself. When there is moisture trapped inside of the shoes for a period of time, there can potentially accumulate mold on the inside. Cedar shoe trees not only help to absorb the moisture, but also serve as a deodorizer for your footwear.
Another way to preserve your shoes is to purchase a good waterproofing leather conditioner for them. Products such as general leather conditioner found at your local shoe cobbler or other products such as Sno-Seal are ideal to use. Simply apply the conditioner throughout the entire shoe using a soft non-abrasive cloth and allow 4 - 6 hours before wearing so that the product can effectively saturate into the leather.
* In the event that your shoes get extremely wet, it is advised to stuff a towel in your footwear in order to soak up any existing moisture. Sitting the footwear near a heat source to dry them is not at all recommended as this can dry out and crack the leather.
Another thing that we tend to neglect which plays a major part in the longevity and preservation of our shoes is to make sure the soles are not too worn out. The pressure that we put on our shoes upon walking in them over a period of time causes the heels and toe of the shoe to wear down significantly. In order to get more wear on the shoes, it is recommended to get toe taps and heel caps installed on your shoes. These can be put on by a professional shoe repairmen (AKA a cobbler) or can be installed by yourself if you are YouTube savvy enough to learn how to do so. I typically prefer to have this done professionally just to assure that it is done right and lasts. Toe taps and heel caps come in metal, rubber and adhesive. Metal and rubber of course are the ideal ones to choose. Remember, it is best to do this earlier in the life of the shoe than later to avoid having to have the entire sole replaced as a result.
Finally, one more thing I would suggest in shoe care is to practice using a shoe horn to put on your shoes. This is especially important if the shoes are somewhat fitting in the heel portion. Sometimes, when we are too lazy or rushing, we have a tendency of forcing the shoes on by the "push and twist method". The problem with this is that this can permanently ruin the back of your shoe when done perpetually. Try to get into the habit of using shoes horns more often to prevent this from occurring.
For more info on how to use a shoe horn, I would recommend that you check out this quick step-by-step article by posted on ehow.com.
Simply follow the link: www.ehow.com/how_2083833_use-shoehorn.html
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