Footwear has taken leaps and bounds in the past century, but one fact remains: we need to give them proper care to keep them in shape.
Today, we have what seems like endless types of footwear - from leather to canvas and everything in between. Understandably, it's a daunting task to think that each type requires special care. This being said, follow some of our expert tips on how to care for some of these types.
First, let's start with what NOT to do to your shoes in general.
The Do Not's of Footwear
Over-wearing: This may seem obvious, but constantly wearing the same pair of shoes can expedite the aging process. Be sure to rotate your shoe wardrobe often.
Dry Feet Only: Be sure to keep your feet and socks dry before wearing your footwear - damp/moist/wet feet can cause shoes to get moldy, among other health issues that may arise.
Avoid Washers and Dryers: Despite what you may hear, the laundry room is a bad place for any type of canvas/knit/mesh shoe. Putting your footwear through even a gentle wash cycle can damage the glue that binds the shoe together. The dryer is no different.
Let It Breath: Like many other things, shoes need air. Don't keep them cooped up in plastic or other non-breathable spaces.
Now with the don'ts out of the way, let's start talking about what you SHOULD be doing to keep your footwear in pristine condition.
The Do's of Footwear
Waterproof and Waterguard: Spray new shoes with a waterproof protector. It will keep the surface from getting worn and marred if they get wet in the elements.
Alternate Pairs: As stated above, rotate your shoe wardrobe. Let your shoes breath in between uses. Also, let your shoes dry for several hours before putting them in a tight space, such as a closet.
Clean the Insides: This is especially important if you sweat a lot, or if odor is a problem. Swab them with alcohol or add a drop of tea tree oil (acts as anti-fungal agent). If odor is a particular problem, consider investing in some Shoe Freshener Balls. They help remove the odor in tight spaces and replace it with a clean, fresh scent.
Line Your Feet: Wear hose or sock liners. This will protect against perspiration, which erodes soles and makes the inside of your shoes moist.
Use Shoe Trees: These will help your shoe retain their shape. Use trees made of cedar for that pair of shoes that you wore that day - they absorb moisture. Plastic trees are fine for your other pairs.
Polish Leather: The salt and sweat dries out leather over time. Keep your leather soft, supple and protected with a shoe polish.
Keep the Outsides Clean: It's always a good idea to keep the dirt and grime off the surface of your footwear. No, this does not mean throw them in the laundry. Invest in a shoe cleaner for most materials, or look into a leather cleaner for boots and other leather shoes.
Footwear has come a long way in recent history. Every day there seems to be a new type that has to be bought. Despite this, proper shoe care has always remained as a way to prolong the life of your shoes. Our list of do's and don'ts provides a simple, cost effective approach to maintaining your footwear without the use of fancy formulas and repair shops. Follow these rules and your shoes will live a happy, healthy life.