1. You Wear Them Without A Sole Protector
Prevention is better than cure. The moment you put your foot down on that gravel floor, your shoes are subjected to all the harsh road conditions. These sole reinforcements will add many years to the life of your shoes.
2. Use Water Repellent Spray
To be honest, most shoes can take a bit of rain damage with the exception of suede shoes, which almost never go back to their original condition after being damaged by rain. Our weather here in Singapore is very erratic, so it’s best to waterproof beforehand. You can get waterproofing sprays online from sites like Lazada and Qoo10!
3. Clean And Condition Leather Kicks
Like skin, leather needs to be moisturised and conditioned on a regular basis. The added moisture from the leather lotion will keep the leather supple and prevent cracks. At the same time, you also get to remove all the dirt and grime from your shoes that might harden and stain your shoes.
If you can, cream and polish your leather shoes fortnightly or monthly, depending on how often the shoes are worn.
Shaun Tan, a retail manager of a handcrafted men’s shoe boutique said: “Cream nourishes the leather in addition to maintaining its colour while polish shines the shoe and waterproofs it slightly.”
He advised restricting the application of shoe polish to the toe box and heel counter areas. Polish tends to crack if applied to areas of the shoe that flex.
Steven Rogers, the founding director of a multi-label shoe boutique has a pro tip for those who want to keep that shine on your leather footwear when travelling.
“Applying body or face lotion found in hotel rooms on your shoes will make you shoes shine without dust sticking to them.”
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4. Air Them Out
Many of us buy more shoes than our feet can handle, so a lot of our shoes never get to see the light of day. However, it’s important to note that shoes have pores and they need to breathe. Keeping them cooped up in boxes could cause them to end up mouldy or discoloured. Try to wear all your shoes regularly! Or, take them out of their boxes once in awhile to air them.
5. Dry Wet Shoes Properly
Perspiration, water and other types of moisture breeds mould, odour and can lead to bacteria growth. It’s bad for both your feet and shoes. Always dry your feet before slipping into your shoes. If you wore your shoes on a rainy day or they just happened to get wet, give them some time to dry before wearing them again.
If your shoes get soaked, stuff them with newspapers as soon as possible. Shaun advises: “Change the stuffing frequently until all moisture is removed. Let the shoes dry at room temperature, but never near heat, for one to two days.”
If the shoes are soaked, allow them to dry naturally. Hairdryers, heaters or tumble dryers will ruin them.
Steven’s tip to remove water stains is to mix two parts white vinegar to one part water and spray this on the shoes. Wipe or rub away the stains gently.
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6. Store Them Properly
Yes, apart from all the oiling and conditioning, where you keep your shoes matters. Never throw your shoes into the closet haphazardly. You are increasing the risks of scratching, discolouring and other serious damage. If you don’t have enough space for shoe boxes, use linen dustbags and line them up in pairs on your closet’s floor or on a shelf with enough breathing space in between each pair.
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7. Keep Your Shoes In Shape
After each wear, insert shoe trees into dress shoes to maintain the shoe’s original shape.
Shaun says that while you can stuff the shoes with newspapers if you do not have shoe trees, this is only a temporary solution. Unlike sturdy and lasting shoe trees, newspapers have to be changed frequently as they crumple and become torn after repeated usage.
Wooden shoe trees are preferable over plastic ones as wood absorbs moisture.
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8. Keep Bad Odours Away
Refrain from wearing the same pair daily and alternate between at least two pairs of shoes. To minimise bacteria growth in Singapore’s humid climate, give your shoes ample time to dry thoroughly after moisture absorption from each wear.
For non-leather insoles, Steven recommends occasionally washing them and drying them in sunlight.