7 Mistakes to avoid to make your shoes last
If you’re a fan of beautiful leather shoes, then you want to see them last and last, and take on an elegant patina, so that you can keep wearing them again and again from one season to the next. But even the best quality footwear can’t go on for years and years without showing signs of ageing – unless you look after it properly , that is. And looking after leather shoes isn’t just a question of remembering to shine them regularly!
Here’s our faux-pas free good practice guide to pampering your shoes the way they deserve!
1. Wearing the same pair of shoes every day
Treated yourself to a lovely pair of dress shoes and just want to wear them every day? It’s totally understandable, but leather is a natural, living material, and heat and moisture can compromise its quality. The best way to give your footwear a long life is to let it breathe, by alternating between a few pairs and leaving each pair to rest on natural wood shoe trees.
2. Not bothering with shoe trees
A shoe tree to a shoe, is like a clothes hanger to a shirt: absolutely essential! Just as you wouldn’t dream of folding up your best suit and stowing it away in a drawer, all your pairs of shoes, whether formal or casual, deserve to rest on a pair of natural wood shoe trees.
These accessories are highly prized by connoisseurs, and offer a number of advantages:
- They allow any moisture caused by heat and perspiration to dry out
- They help shoes to keep their shape
- They prevent the formation of obvious creases
Although plastic shoe-trees can be a temporary solution when travelling, they are not normally recommended, as they don’t have the natural absorption properties of raw wood.
3. Shining your shoes without cleaning them first
Essential for making your shoes really shine and protecting them from moisture, polish forms a protective layer on the surface of the leather and prevents it from breathing. So if you shine your shoes without cleaning them beforehand it might clog the pores and make the leather crack.
Our advice: every two weeks, clean your shoes meticulously with a special leather cleaning lotion, to sanitise and hydrate them. And voila! Your leather is all ready to be nourished and polished again!
4. Not using shoe care products properly
They say that the road to hell is paved with good intentions… as is the wardrobe of men who have managed to ruin their favourite shoes! There’s no point in amassing a pile of shoe care products if you’re not going to use them properly. Every product has a specific purpose and should be used correctly.
Don’t hesitate to ask a shop assistant for advice on choosing the right products for your footwear, always read the labels and follow the instructions to the letter. Lastly, don’t try and do it on the cheap: choose quality shoe care products, like the silicone-free ones we’ve developed. Silicone shines your shoes and keeps out the rain, but it is known to clog leather’s pores, which can lead to it cracking.
5. Ignoring creases
While it’s true that using shoe trees mitigates their formation and delays their appearance, creases are more-or-less inevitable in leather shoes. Whether it’s to keep your shoes looking good or to prevent irretrievable damage to the leather, it’s imperative you don’t ignore any creases. When going through your shoe-care routine, apply the cleansing lotion and polish to the creases with your fingers, from directly above, getting as much of it right inside the creases as possible, to promote absorption.
6. Not getting non-slip protectors fitted on leather soles
There’s no doubt that 100% leather soles are incredibly elegant – the problem is they’re also pretty fragile. Intended for occasional use in fine weather, leather soles can quickly deteriorate if they’re exposed to the wet. A simple, inexpensive and very effective solution is to attach rubber pads to the part that gets the most wear, protecting the leather from the harmful effects of the different surfaces you walk on. Another advantage is that they also add grip to leather soles, which can be very slippery on smooth surfaces or in wet weather. If you’re worried that rubber pads might make your shoes too stiff, you could ask for crepe pads instead, as they’re made of softer rubber.
7. Being in a hurry to put your shoes in the cupboard
Last point, but by no means least! How you take off your shoes and put them away (or, for those who are in too much of a hurry, fail to put them away) is also important when it comes to shoe care and durability. Here's some advice you should always bear in mind:
- Never take off your shoes by holding down the heel of one with the toe of the other, as this might damage the counter (heel stiffener).
- Take the time to undo the laces properly, so that you’re not forcing the upper when you take them off.
- We’ve said it already, but it can’t be said often enough: leave your shoes to rest on wooden shoe trees!
- Shine your shoes regularly with a polishing mitt to get maximum shine without scratching the leather.
- Brush them gently and often, in between your regular cleaning and shining sessions.
- Finally, store them properly in their box, away from the light and any sources of heat, after leaving them to dry naturally for as long as they need.