You’ve decided to invest in a quality pair of shoes and you’ve finally found a pair that you love. Here are seven ways to extend the life of those shoes so that they will last for years to come!
1. PROTECT THE SOLES:
BEFORE you wear your shoes for the first time, take them to a reputable cobbler or shoe repair store and ask them to add thin protective rubber half soles. The protective soles will greatly extend the life of your shoes and, as an added bonus, they will provide traction on slippery surfaces!
- Ask to see the protective soles being affixed to your shoes. Protective soles are available in a variety of colors (including red) and a reputable cobbler/shoe repair store will match the color of the protective soles with the color of the shoe’s soles.
- To find a reputable cobbler/shoe repair store in your area ask a high-end store where they send their shoes for repair. In NYC, I highly recommend Leather Spa (I have been a longtime customer of Leather Spa and trust them completely).
2. ADD TOE TAPS:
If you purchased shoes with a pointy toe, take the shoes to a reputable cobbler/shoe repair store BEFORE you wear them and have them add toe taps.
According to David Mesquita, Vice-President of Leather Spa, a toe tap helps prevent the tip of the sole from wearing out too quickly (the tip of the sole tends to wear out much faster than the sole at the ball of the foot). If the tip of the sole wears down you will start to damage the upper part of the shoe.
Toe taps are available in plastic and metal. Plastic toe taps are larger and will last you longer, whereas metal toe taps are smaller and more discrete. Because the metal toe taps are smaller they will not protect as wide of a surface area as the plastic toe taps and they also will not last as long.
No matter which type of toe taps you choose, the good news is that toe taps are inexpensive (usually less than five dollars) and can be affixed to your shoes very quickly (the process only takes a few minutes and most cobblers/shoe repair stores will add the toe taps while you wait). Remember toe taps wear down, so make sure to replace them as needed!
3. REPLACE THE HEEL CAPS/TIPS:
Another part of your shoe that wears down quickly is the heel cap/tip, which protects the heel of the shoe and creates a nonslip grip. Eventually the heel tip will completely erode, exposing the metal nail head of the heel tip.
According to David, if you continue to wear shoes with an eroded heel tip, the nail head will go deeper into the heel and be more difficult to remove. The nail head can also break off completely, and if you continue to use the shoes you can crack, and eventually break, the heel. Remember the more damage you cause the more it will cost to fix!
4. PRE-TREAT YOUR SHOES:
According to David, one of the best ways to protect your leather, suede, and fabric shoes is by treating them with a water and stain protector (if you have patent leather shoes you do NOT need to pre-treat them). Make sure to choose a protector that uses nanotechnology because it lets the leather breathe. A quality protector should not change the color of your shoes, but always test the protector on a small spot of your shoes first just to be sure!
- Remember, even if you pre-treat your shoes, it’s best not to wear them outdoors if it is raining or snowing. Instead, change into your nice shoes when you arrive at your destination!
- If your shoes do get wet, make sure to let them dry properly (away from direct heat).
5. STORE YOUR SHOES PROPERLY:
Because your feet perspire, your shoes will be slightly damp when you take them off at the end of the day. To prevent shoes from creasing as they dry, use cedar shoe trees, which will absorb the moisture and maintain the shape of your shoes.
When traveling, use shoe inserts to maintain their shape.
To prevent your shoes from getting dusty or scratched, David recommends storing your shoes in the box or dust bag they came with. If you choose to store your shoes in a plastic box remember to let your shoes dry before placing them in the box. While it may be tempting to haphazardly throw your shoes into the closet, don’t do it! At a minimum, store your shoes neatly in your closet to prevent them from getting scratched.
Lastly, remember not to store your shoes near direct sunlight, which can cause fading and discoloration.
- If you store your shoes in a shoebox, place a photo of the shoes on the outside of the box so that you can quickly identify the pair of shoes you are looking for.
6. ROTATE YOUR SHOES:
Try not to wear the same pair of shoes day after day. When you find a pair of shoes that you love it can be very tempting to wear them every day (I’m guilty of this as well), but it’s best to rotate them with another pair of shoes, which will give them a chance to completely dry.
7. CONDITION YOUR SHOES:
Once a month condition your leather shoes. The conditioner will keep the leather supple and prevent it from cracking. Remember, leather is skin and just like your own skin, it will feel and look better when it is moisturized!
So there you have it! How do you take care of your shoes? Let me know in the comments below!
Hi there! It says before wearing the shoe, but can you still add toe taps, soles,etc. after you wear them once or twice? Or will this affect the way the caps go on?
You can definitely do it after you wear them once or twice, but you just run the risk of damaging the shoe the longer you go! Hope that helps. Let me know if you need me to explain further or need any other assistance! xx yael
Has anyone invented a super strong (perhaps carbon) sole protecter that doesnt wear down and gives slight lift? After one month of walking around cobblestone streets in Europe the heels of my stuart weitzman boots look like a dog has chewed on them. I can’t imagine what living here year-round would do to your shoe closet!
I haven’t really heard of any sole protector that doesn’t wear down, but I do think the rubber ones are more durable than leather! That however wouldn’t impact the heels and how they wear down. It’s actually a great idea – a heel cap/tip which is strong enough to be somewhat indestructible!
Thanks for the tip to use shoe inserts when traveling. My wife has a collection of shoes, and some of them could use shoe repairs after going through some heavy traveling. Next time we go out on a trip, we’ll be sure to use inserts to better maintain shape.
Thanks so much! So glad that you found the tip helpful! Have a wonderful weekend!
Thanks for all the great info. Is there a certain protector (brand) you recommend to use on high-end leather pumps?
I actually don’t spray any sort of protector on my shoes. I try to just be mindful of the weather and if it’s raining I just change my shoes once I get to my destination. That being said, I would check the Leather Spa site and see what they sell because I definitely trust their products!! Let me know if there is any other information you need! xx yael
I have worn my new Valentino Rockstuds once for a couple of hours and the soles have slight signs of wear, do you think is it too late for protective rubber half soles or toe taps? Thanks
Hi!! You can definitely still bring them for protective soles and toe taps!! It’s never too late to do that! Let me know if you have any other questions! xx yael
I’m Christina, a writer for Buzzfeed, and I’d love to use a photo from this (the one with toe taps) for a post on amazing clothing hacks.
Please let me know if this is possible, and if so, how you’d like to be credited.
Hi Christina! Feel free to use the photo! You can just credit the photo as: Yael Steren, Personal Stylist and Blogger NYC, and then provide a link to my blog! Thanks and feel free to let me know if you have any other questions!
Thanks for these tips! I have tried all of these, and they definitely work…I just don’t like to use the cedar tree inserts (I feel like they stretch out my shoes). Instead, I use a product called Tip Top Shoe Saver…it gets rid of any bends in the tips of my pointy-toe heels. I totally recommend trying it.
Thanks so much for the trip Tracy!! I will definitely look into it!!! xx yael
Where can I buy toe taps, preferably online so that I can take to my shoe repair shop?