Buying cheap shoes which wear out quickly can become a huge drain on the planet’s resources in the long run, as well as contributing to ever-growing waste levels. Buying higher quality footwear usually equals longer lasting and more reliable shoes, boots and sandals, which is also far better value for money than repeatedly buying cheaper alternatives. However, as well as paying attention to the quality of what you buy, there are steps you can take to take care of your footwear, making your shoes last longer.
Don’t kick your shoes off
Kicking off your shoes is the best way to get them off in a hurry, but over time can wear down their backs and stretch them, altering their fit. By taking an extra few seconds to unlace shoes or trainers and remove them by hand, you can retain their original shape and reduce surface wear.
Take care of leather
Full grain leather boots and shoes are a designed to be high quality and long-lasting. With the manufacturing process of leather being less eco friendly than many would hope, it is wise to try and get the very most out of leather items. Clean leather shoes and boots with a damp sponge whenever they get dirty and allow to air dry slowly and at room temperature, as heat can cause leather to crack. Conditioning leather every couple of months with pure beeswax (often known as dubbin) keeps it supple and prevents premature cracking, especially around the ankle of a boot or the toe box of a shoe.
Rotate your shoes
Having a rotation system for your everyday shoes will help them to last longer. Wearing a pair of shoes for 2 days in a row gives them insufficient time to “recover” which speeds up their ageing process. Wearing shoes when they are still damp or dirty from a previous day also increases wear, so allow them a full day to dry out before wearing them again, and have similar pairs on hand to wear instead.
Retain the shape
Retaining an original shape is a key way of helping shoes appear newer for longer. When storing shoes, stuff with tissue paper or newspaper to help keep their natural shape in tact. Newspaper also helps to dry the shoe out and absorb any sweat and odour that may have built up inside, helping them to stay dry and fresh.
Polishing can help to maintain a newer appearance for your shoe, while, like waxing, also keeping the shoe’s upper strong, supple and waterproof. Remove any dried dirt and debris before polishing, then apply a tiny amount of polish before buffing with an old rag or a ball of scrunched up newspaper, maintaining the quality of the upper material and helping your shoes last longer.
Moisture can be highly damaging to shoes. If your shoes get wet, move them to a warm, dry area of the house and pack with newspaper. Never be tempted to put shoes on a radiator to dry them out. This can cause leather to crack and any glues holding the shoe together to melt, warping its overall shape. If you’ve got your shoes wet in the sea, make sure you rinse them in clean, fresh water to remove all the salt, which will eat through your shoes if allowed to dry on them!
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