Keep Your Kicks Fresh
I started working this past January, right in the middle of winter. I work in the Northeast and having lived in California, Florida, and Arizona over the past few years I was blindsided by the harsh winter. At the time I had a 5-10 minute walk to the public transit station and then another 5 minutes after getting off the train. At the time I thought that my body was suffering through the cold and the snow the most. After a few weeks though I noticed that my shoes were actually suffering more than I was. I did some research and with the help of GQ and Esquire I found ways to both take care of your shoes and help repair the damage you've already done to them. Below are my four favorite tips.
1)Whenever you aren't wearing your shoes ALWAYS put shoe trees in them. This is really basic but it makes all the difference in the world. Shoe trees keep the form and shape of the shoe and keep them sturdy. Even if you're really tired when you get home from work and kick off your shoes while settling in to watch The Voice (Team Blake!), make sure to put your shoe trees back in.
2)Alternate shoes. Again, pretty basic but something I didn't realize when I started working. I wore the same pair of dress shoes for several weeks and noticed they were getting softer and softer. Once I started switching which shoes I wore the process stopped and all my shoes now feel broken in without losing their shape.
3)If your shoes get wet, don't put them next to a heater. I learned this one the hard way, I stepped in some snow on the way home after a blizzard and my shoes were soaked. I went and put them next to the radiator and when I came back the leather was dried up, stiff, and discolored. If your shoes get wet the thing to do is stuff them with paper and let them dry on their own.
4)When you get salt stains on your shoes from the road, take a Q-tip, dip it in a little bit of water and vinegar, and gently swab the stains. This should remove most of the debris and leave your shoes looking great.
The other key is to make sure you buy high quality shoes. While the prices may seem steep, springing for a well-made shoe is the smart long term play. A top quality pair will last you for years, provided that you take care of them correctly. Unfortunately I had to learn how to take care of my shoes the hard way but hopefully these tips help save your shoes a little bit.