A pair of quality shoes can be quite an investment due to their top-notch materials and excellent craftsmanship. Well-made footwear can last for years and continue to look good long after you purchase them. This entails caring for your shoes properly, which some people find tedious and thus tend to overlook. However, the extra minutes spent on shoe care can be very valuable in maintaining the condition of your shoes and saving you from needing to buy a new pair.
With proper shoe care, you can extend the lifespan of your footwear. It can also keep your shoes looking and feeling like they’re brand new, even if you’ve worn them for several years. While some of these practices can feel like unnecessary extra work, each one plays an important role in keeping your shoes in their best shape. From buying shoe trees to choosing the best shoe storage spaces, here are eight tips to keep your shoes sturdy, clean, and odor-free.
Wearing shoes with enclosed heels and toes tends to make the feet perspire. While this is normal, it can be a problem as sweat contributes to eroding the insoles of your shoes. The inner material of your shoes wears out from your feet rubbing against them as you move, but moisture can speed up the process. So, if you want to prolong the lifespan of your shoes, make sure to always wear socks before putting them on.
Socks act as a barrier between your feet and the insoles, and they absorb most of your sweat, so it doesn’t go to the insides of your shoes. However, the typical ankle or crew socks don’t go well with some shoe styles and occasions. Formal heels, clogs, and peep-toe designs expose different parts of your feet, so it won’t look good to wear regular socks with these. Instead, explore the different types of socks for women and choose appropriate foot covers that can help protect your shoes without cramping your style.
In addition to helping to protect the insoles of your shoes, wearing socks can reduce foot odor. Smelly feet are caused by odor-causing bacteria that thrive in sweat, and the scent can be transferred to your shoes. Socks help to prevent this and are especially effective when they’re made from materials with moisture-wicking properties, as they help to keep feet dry.
Clean the Inner Parts of Your Shoes
Aside from wearing socks, cleaning the insides of your shoes can help keep them clean and odor-free. Every once in a while, swab the insides of your shoes with alcohol. It won’t just remove dirt, but get rid of any bacteria as well.
Alternatively, you can mix a tablespoon of white distilled vinegar with five tablespoons of water. This mixture can help remove most odors and prevent them from permanently settling in your shoes. Dip a sponge into the solution and squeeze out the excess liquid. Lightly wipe the inner parts of your shoes. Once you’re done, put the shoes in a well-ventilated area to dry.
Whether you’re using alcohol or the vinegar solution, make sure not to let the liquids get on the outer surface of your shoes, as they might damage the material.
Use Shoe Trees
When you aren’t wearing your shoes, place shoe trees in them to maintain their natural shape and texture. Shoe trees work by replicating the shape of your foot. They come in pairs and can be made of different materials. Durable plastic is the most affordable option, but try to get the ones carved out of cedar if your budget allows. Wooden shoe trees are best for keeping shoes dry and odor-free.
A shoe tree is composed of two molded forms that imitate the toes and the heel. These components are then attached together by an adjustable spring or stick, which helps the shoe tree fit perfectly into your shoe. By using shoe trees inside your unused shoes, you can prevent creases from forming and leaving a permanent mark on the material. If you want to maintain the pristine shape and look of your shoes, shoe trees are the perfect tools for the job.
Apply Preventive Care
If you want to preserve the quality of your shoes, you need to start doing preventive care as soon as you buy a new pair. Take your brand-new shoes to a shoe repair shop and have taps and half-soles installed. These are tiny pieces of rubber or plastic attached to the soles and heels of the shoes. These areas get the most impact, so it’s a good idea to protect them. By attaching taps and half-soles, you can keep the bottom of your shoes from getting ruined prematurely.
Apart from protecting the soles, you can spray the surface of your shoes with a waterproof protector. It will help protect the materials from being easily damaged by snow, ice, salt, or rain. Just make sure the protective product is suitable for your shoes’ materials and follow the manufacturer’s instructions for proper application.
Regularly Clean the Soles of Your Shoes
Since soles are the foundation of your shoes and take on the brunt of your weight, they need additional care, which includes keeping them clean. Apart from keeping your shoes looking like new, cleaning the soles also keeps your shoe storage neat and free from dirt.
When you remove your shoes at home, gently tap them together to let any loose dust fall off. Make sure to do this outdoors so the dirt doesn’t enter your house. Then, use a dry yet soft brush to scrub any remaining dirt from the sole, including stubborn particles stuck in the grooves. If any fine dust or sticky substances remain, use a damp cloth to wipe them off.
Keep Shoes Away From Moisture
Another effective shoe care tip is to keep your shoes away from moisture. Just as sweat can cause damage to your footwear, environmental moisture has the same effect. Moisture can encourage the growth of bacteria and molds, which can cause foul odors and damage the materials used in your footwear.
Make sure to store your shoes in a cool, dry place. You can also use desiccants like silica pouches or gels to keep moisture at bay. Desiccants are drying agents used to extract water in a humid environment. If you don’t have desiccants, you can stuff your shoes with crumpled newspapers so the paper material can absorb any excess moisture. Make sure to replace the newspapers regularly so that your shoes can stay dry.
Store Shoes Away from Direct Sunlight
Although moisture is bad for your footwear, you shouldn’t keep your shoes where they’ll be exposed to extreme heat or direct sunlight either. While these conditions might keep them dry, the exposure to high temperatures and UV rays can also cause the shoe material to become stiff—which can lead to crumbling. Instead, store your shoes in a cool and controlled environment, like a shoe cabinet. The doors will keep them protected against light and help prevent dust from collecting on your shoes as well.
As long as you take care of your quality-crafted shoes, you can get the most out of your investment. If you want to extend the life of your footwear, keep in mind these shoe care tips. Though they may take a bit of effort, these practices will keep your shoes looking, feeling, and smelling like they’re brand new for a long time.