Gorgeous reader Ashley asked:
How about shoe care? I’ve only been buying quality shoes for the last two years or so and I don’t really know how to care for them. Before, all my shoes were inexpensive and synthetic so I didn’t really worry about up-keep. And I’ve noticed that in your shoe posts, yours are immaculate. I’d love some tips!
My shoes probably look immaculate because I’ve got a sizable collection and few pairs get worn more than once a week. But I am a careful steward of my collection, and do a few things to make sure my shoes STAY in good shape. You’ll be delighted to hear that none of those things involve stuffing my boots with newspaper or hauling out the shoe polish on a weekly basis. No way. Too lazy for THAT. But here are some shoe care activities I do engage.
- Carry delicate shoes in inclement weather: You may have noticed that I have worn pumps and even open-toed shoes during the long MN winter. But believe you me, none of those delicate shoes ever hit the snow. I throw my shoes in a big black tote bag and haul them to my destination, where I swap out. On the weekends, I err on the side of boots.
- Watch where you walk: OK, I know that sounds elementary to the extreme, but just think of it as a reminder. If you step around puddles, tread lightly over wet pavement, and stay sharp when giant trucks pass you on the street, your footwear will stay nicer longer.
- Buy durable: I am a grade-A klutz in every way, which means my shoes have to include either chunky heels or wedges. If you’re concerned about actual breakage, don’t buy spindly stilettos or thin-strapped sandals. Go for well-made, durable shoes.
- Avoid fabric: Canvas, silk, satin, and hemp all make for cute and inexpensive shoes. And one false step into an unexpectedly-deep puddle, and they can be RUINED. I used to own a pair of canvas espadrilles, and all they did was gather dust. Weather is changeable, and I seldom want to risk getting stuck in a summer thunderstorm with cloth and straw protecting my feet.
- Walking shoes for walking, sitting shoes for sitting: Before I pick my shoes for the day, I think about my itinerary. Will I be hauling around town for appointments? Will I be dashing across the backyard in pursuit of a nephew or two? Or will I be hanging out in my little home office? Certain pairs work better for walking, and others for sheer decoration. Choosing unwisely can damage both shoe and foot.
- Invest in an oil sponge: Since you’re unlikely to find shoe polish in the exact shade of every single pair, and since polish is actually dye and quite permanent anyway, I must recommend an oil sponge. Treated leathers can mark, and a few sponge swipes erase most mild to moderate marks.
- Clean before storing: If you get mud on your boots or muck on the bottom of your sandals, don’t put ‘em away dirty. You never know what kinds of substances might be lurking in that nameless slime, and better to get it OFF your shoes before stashing them away for their next wearing.
Most of these techniques are common-sense based, but I hope they were helpful!
Image courtesy Amazon
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Originally posted 2010-04-02 05:47:00.