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Shoes 101: 7 handy tips to make your shoes last longer

Give your shoes the attention they deserve. By Ayushi Khandelwal

1. Use shoe trees
These are a must-have in your closet. Shoe trees prolong the life of your shoes. When shoes are worn for a long duration, the perspiration from your feet gets into the lining and leather. If not taken care of, this causes the shoes to stink, leather to crack, and the lining to get ruined. A shoe tree will hold the shoe in its correct shape so that it dries out properly. A wooden shoe tree will also absorb the moisture from the inside, thereby preserving the lining. The best shoe trees are those that are unvarnished and made of cedar wood, with a fully shaped heel and a split toe. You don’t need don’t need a shoe tree for every shoe. They need to be used for an hour or two after you’ve removed them from you free. After that the you can remove the trees

2. Newspaper is handy
Got caught in a downpour and your shoes are soaking wet? Stuff them with crunched up newspaper as soon as you get home. Leave them to dry in a well-ventilated area and replace the newspaper often, as it gets saturated. Once they’re almost dry, insert shoe trees so the shape is maintained. Keep the shoes far away from direct heat as the excess heat may dry out the leather and cause cracks and brittleness.

3. Invest in a suede brush and protector
The soft, velvety texture of suede often scares us into not cleaning our shoes. But suede shoes are susceptible to dirt and stains, and need to be cleaned frequently. Use a suede brush to remove dirt and stains; brush in both directions. A quick tip, the longer the suede the softer your brush should be. If you’ve got stains, use a suede eraser to get rid of them. Once you’re done cleaning your shoes, spray them with a suede protector so that all your hard work isn’t wasted.

4. Remove salt stains quickly
Get rid of road salt stains as soon as you see them. The traditional remedy is one with a vinegar solution. In a cup mix 1/3 vinegar with 2/3 water. Dip a rag in the solution and gently apply it on the area. Then wipe off with a damp cloth, followed by a dry one.

5. Polishing shoes frequently
Polishing not just adds a glossy, shiny finish but also moisturises and conditions your leather shoes, adding to their life. To polish the shoes, first wipe them with a cloth to remove any dirt, then apply a good quality polish. Apply in a circular rubbing motion, the more you rub, the better the shoes will look. Leave the shoes to dry for 10-15 minutes, then buff well to get that shiny lustre.

6. Moisturise your leather shoes
To maintain your leather shoes and stop them from drying out, apply a dab of petroleum jelly every few months. You do get special moisturising conditioners for shoes, but petroleum jelly also works. Buff the conditioner in to the leather to prevent it from drying and cracking. You can do this for leather and patent leather shoes, but not on rawhide ones.

7. Wash by hand
The best way to wash your canvas sneakers or sports shoes is by cleaning them by hand with a mild detergent, a toothbrush and some warm water. Resist the urge to hold them under the tap. You only want to wash the outside, not the inside. And while some find it easier to clean them in the washing machine, we advise against it; the soles may break down and look more worn out.

Photograph: Philippe Lorenzo/Flickr

Categories:   Style, Style Guide

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