Care for your shoes to enjoy them longer.
How much time and money do we waste on shoes that last us a season, fall apart or cause a lot of pain? These are my top shoe hacks to make them more comfortable, fit better and how to care for them so the last longer. Bonus – keeping your items as long as you can is a big part of sustainable style.
Best practices to take care of your shoes!
- Leather conditioner – pretty basic but goes a long way! This conditioner is essential to clean and condition your leather to keep it from drying out, getting brittle and cracking. I inspect my shoes seasonally – so about twice a year and then I condition them accordingly.
- Shoe polish – my primary shoe color is black so I only have one type of polish in that color. Find the shoe color that you wear the most and that gets to looking scuffed the most and get some polish.
- Nubuck/suede stone and brush. Nubuck and suede are very difficult to keep clean and maintain but this stone and brush help. These can be found at a cobbler’s shop and online (check out these options on Amazon). Support a local business and get this stuff from your cobbler.
- Moleskin – Moleskin is thick enough to protect your feet and skin but thin enough that it doesn’t interfere with the fit of the shoes. It’s a game changer! If I have a shoe that maybe rubs my foot in a certain area and I want to protect it – I use moleskin. You can use moleskin to attach to the shoe (only will last a few wears, then replace) or to your skin (only will last the day you are wearing the shoes). It is a fantastic tool and I always take moleskin with me when traveling. It works great to cover and protect any blisters you may get.
- Proper inserts for the back of your heel (non-slip heel cushions) – those cheap plastic ones in the drugstore or elsewhere are nothing compare to these suede ones. These are built with extra cushion at the top and because they are suede they are grip better. Tacco is my favorite brand (they are made in Germany, found online or even better get them from your cobbler).
- Good old Dr. Scholl’s inserts – I love these to help a shoe fit better.* These are the thin air pillow insoles. They work great for people who have feet that are about a quarter to half size different from each other because they make a shoe fit slightly smaller. I have a client who needs the non-slip inserts in her shoes plus the Dr. Scholl’s. Her feet are like a size 40 ½ (European) which is impossible to find. So we get size 41 and then use the proper inserts so they fit. *Please note if you have any type of back or foot pain see a podiatrist.
- Heel support – Have you ever worn flats and your lower back hurts?* Many women love flats because they are comfortable for our feet but maybe not our backs after a long day of standing. It happens to me a lot which is why I don’t wear a lot of flats. These will lift your heel up about a quarter inch and make a huge difference. *See disclaimer in #6. Tacco is my favorite brand. They are made in Germany, found online (try Amazon.com) or even better get them from your cobbler.
- No see um socks! If you are someone who likes the idea of socks in your shoes – these are for you. These socks are made to cover the bottom of your feet and just enough of your toes so they stay on. These provide that barrier between your foot and your shoe. Find them at PACT apparel for men and women.
- Shoe cushions – for women who like to wear high heels (like me!) these keep your foot in place and prevent it from sliding forward in the shoe which can create discomfort after a long day of wear.
Just a few of my go-tos in my shoe care tool kit!
If you have repairs, cleaning or other maintenance that goes beyond this list, consider a shoe cobbler. In this post I explain why you need a shoe cobbler (and list everything they can do for you).
Note: Please know that I am not working with any of these brands, companies or stores and was not asked to endorse or mention any of the products in this post. All opinions here are my own.