Save Your Soles

A really good pair of shoes,

taken care of properly,

can last a long time. But that means really paying attention and guarding their health as you would your own.

Making Your Shoes Last

Most men don't appreciate the importance of shoe trees. These keep your shoes in the proper shape when you’re not wearing them. You may pay $20 for a pair of shoe trees, but they will pay for themselves in terms of the life of your shoes. Always use cedar shoe trees as they will absorb moisture and help keep your shoes from developing an unpleasant odor. Shoe trees also prevent leather from cracking or creasing, and will keep your shoes comfortable and looking good for years to come.


Special Shoes Require Special Care

For cordovan shoes made of horsehide, be careful not to use too much polish, and always make sure to use shoe trees with them. Cordovans are even more subject to shape shifting than calfskin shoes.

Water is the enemy. If your shoes get soaked, stuff them with paper towels to absorb the water. Never put them near a heat source like a radiator to speed drying—it damages the leather. If you have been out in winter weather, make sure you clean your shoes every time you come in to get the salt off.

Suede shoes obviously don’t get polished; they get brushed. Suede doesn’t do well in water; so if it looks like rain, keep them in the closet. Buy a nylon or brass bristle suede brush to bring up the nap.

When a good pair of shoes starts to show wear, fix them. Do you know the expression “down at the heel”? Don’t let that be you. It’s easy to have new heels, soles, or half soles put on shoes, and it’s a lot cheaper than buying new shoes. Good quality shoes actually improve with age, as they mold to your foot and acquire patina. When the soles that meet the pavement are regularly repaired or replaced, the shoes will last quite a long time.