Shoe Trees

Best shoe care tips & tricks

I love getting new footwear, particularly trainers and boots (good job I work in a shoe shop, eh?), but with two small children at home and a lot of day to day running around, it’s fairly easy to get them scuffed, marked or just generally dirty. If you’re anything like me it can be hard to find the time to sit down and really take care of your shoes to get them looking as good as new once again, so here are my top tips for keeping your favourite footwear almost perfect!

Protect your shoes from the weather

Picture the scene (and I’m sure we’ve all been in this situation at one point or another) - you get dressed to go out for the day and you grab your favourite shoes or boots that compliment your outfit perfectly and keep you comfy! Then the great British weather hits, down comes the rain and the last thing you need is your feet getting soaking wet! So it’s always worth having a protector spray available at home to top up all of your new shoes and boots.

Protector sprays create a waterproof barrier for shoes of all material types (so no need to purchase multiple different sprays), with some even protecting from dirt marks & UV rays. They’re really simple to use too, just a quick spray from a 30cm distance, leave them to dry and you’re good to go! You're not looking to soak them here, allow the spray to land on the shoes and you're always better doing two light coats, rather than one heavy coat.

As they say, a prevention is always better than a cure!

What if I get my shoes wet?

If you're reading this and already have sopping wet feet, whatever you do, keep your shoes well away from the radiator. If they really are soaked, then remove the insoles and laces. Scrunch up some newspaper and pack the inside of the shoes, allowing to dry naturally.

You should also think about getting some mens waterproof shoes or ladies waterproof boots

Let your shoes breathe

Shoes really don't like moisture, especially the moisture that comes from your feet, which is slightly acidic. As a minimum you should have two to three pairs of shoes in regular rotation to give them a chance to recover. This is of particular consideration for leather shoes, as eventually it can cause the leather to break down and crack.

There are products that can help keep your shoes dry and in tip top condition. Cedar wood shoe trees, like those shown below are an easy win as they draw out moisture and help prevent creasing.

Shoe Trees in WindowCedar Wood Shoe Trees are great for reducing moisture in shoes and help to avoid creasing

Looking after your leather shoes

A lot of people opt for leather shoes - they’re durable, soft, breathable and to many it's the sign of a well made, quality shoe. But if you wear them frequently, it can be so easy to get scuffs, scrapes and marks and often without even realising before it’s too late! Luckily, leather is fairly easy to deal with when it comes to cleaning and there are so many different options to bring your leather back to life.

If you’re looking to keep your leather nourished (you should be), then shoe cream polishes are brilliant. Easy to apply, it’s just a case of finding a good colour match (or using a neutral cream may be the better option for some) and applying it a little at a time to the shoe using a clean cloth. Allow to dry for a matt finish or if you’re looking to maintain a soft shine, gently buff off with a brush after having left the cream to soak in for a couple of minutes.

Rieker shoes have developed

Taking care of suede shoes

I know a lot of customers are put off by suede because they’re not sure they’ll be able to keep them looking clean and tidy, but let me convince you that those lovely velvety soft shoes can be the perfect choice!

Suede is actually much easier to look after than you may think and offers the most  delightfully soft and supremely comfortable shoes imaginable. As mentioned earlier, a protection spray is always a good start to keep the water and oil off, but it’s also well worth investing in a suede brush as these usually remove marks and help revive the nap of your suede. You can also purchase a suede gum which is perfect for removing more stubborn stains - a quick rub of the gum on the effected area and a brush with a suede brush will make them look as good as new in no time.

Similar to leather cleaners, you can also get suede colour restoring sprays. The important thing with these is to ensure you’re choosing the right colour for your shoes of course!

Rieker Ladies Boots finished in Suede

Rieker Ladies Boots finished in a gorgeous suede upper, part of the Rieker Evolution range of footwear

Cleaning canvas shoes

Canvas shoes are hugely popular in the summer; they’re a perfect warm weather choice as they’re lightweight, breathable and go with almost anything! But a little rain or mud can soon see them marked or grubby looking and make them lose their appeal. It’s always worth checking the labels as some are now made to be machine washable (usually on a cold, short rinse) and if not, a good scrub of the uppers is usually a good place to start and normally will do the job! Again, it’s worth double checking on the shoes if there are any washing instructions, as some dyed canvas may run the risk of losing some colour if you were to use certain products, and of course you wouldn’t want that to happen!

Why look after your shoes?

I am asked this question a lot in one form or another, especially when recommending shoe care products and it's a really simple answer. They look so much better for so much longer.

Protect, rotate and nourish your footwear and it will last you much longer. Unless you just want an excuse to buy more shoes of course!

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