The key to protecting and maintaining your shoes

New shoes can sometimes be a little painful. But armed with a few new shoe tricks and tips for cleaning and maintaining shoes, your recent footwear purchase should last years.

The key to protecting and maintaining your shoes

Allow your feet to breathe and keep athlete's foot at bay by wearing shoes made from genuine leather or other breathable materials. Your feet need air. After all, they contain about 250,000 sweat glands and can produce up to 250 millilitres (one cup) of perspiration per day.

New shoes can sometimes be a little painful. But armed with a few new shoe tricks and tips for cleaning and maintaining shoes, your recent footwear purchase should last years. If you need a new pair, proceed as follows:

New shoes

  • Buy shoes in the afternoon. Your feet swell through the day and you don't want to purchase a pair in the morning, only to find that by midday they're uncomfortably tight.
  • Spray or rub them with a thin coating of colourless water-repellent to prevent staining before wearing new shoes for the first time.
  • Rub vinegar on the inside of new leather shoes, especially dark-coloured ones, to prevent any staining.
  • New shoe pinches? Moisten a cotton ball with rubbing alcohol or vinegar and dampen the tight spot, then put the shoe back on for a while.
  • Avoid wearing shoes two days in a row to give them time to air out.
  • Make cork heels more durable by coating them with clear nail polish.

Protective storage

  • Don't jumble shoes together; if you do, they'll lose their shape and develop mould more easily due to poor ventilation. Your best option is a closet with compartments specifically for shoes.
  • Never put your shoes into a plastic bag where they won't be able to breathe; instead opt for a cloth bag or store your shoes inside discarded socks.
  • Use shoe trees to keep your shoes in shape. A cheaper, but equally effective, alternative is to stuff them with pantyhose full of balled-up newspaper.
  • Prevent sagging in the leg of a boot by stuffing it with a couple of layers of rolled-up newspaper.
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