If you have kids, chances are good that at some point you have been heard to say “Untie your shoelaces before your take off your shoes! Perhaps you have said it emphatically, even loudly, in the hope that your uncaring children might acknowledge your demands and actually comply with them. Perhaps, like me, you have given up…
Although we might chastise our kids for not caring for their things, including their footwear, I am increasingly realizing that I have not been caring for my footwear nearly as well as I might. Perhaps you are abusing your sneakers and shoes, too, without even realizing it. Of course, wear and tear is to be expected, but there are several things that we can do to make sure that our footwear lasts as long as possible. Here are a few suggestions:
Use a Shoe Horn: You are probably familiar with the process of putting on footwear without the aid of a shoe horn. Your toes enter the shoe and slide about three-quarters of the way to the toe of the shoe and then stop. You then begin to pivot your foot back and forth while applying pressure with your heel to the back of your shoe. Over time, this pivoting will cause the back of your shoe to break. Whether you are wearing sneakers or dress shoes or something in between, the use of shoe horn will save the back of your shoes for a long, long time.
Use Heel Savers: Heel and sole savers are available in the shoe care section of your grocery store. You can also purchase them and have them applied in a cobbler’s shop. They are small pieces of hard plastic that can be nailed into the sole or heel of a shoe (but not sneakers) in order to stop the sole or heel from wearing down. We all have different pressure patterns when our feet hit the ground. Heel saves ensure that the spots that get the most pressure will not erode.
Use Shoe Trees: Always store your dress shoes with shoe trees inside them. Shoe trees will help to preserve the shape of your shoes and good quality cedar shoe trees will help to keep them from smelling like old shoes.
Wear Socks with your Sneakers: Sweat is the enemy. Never put on your sneakers if you are not wearing socks. Foot sweat contributes a great deal to the destruction of inner soles. As an added incentive, socks will help you to avoid calluses.
Keep Shoes Away from Pets: Maybe it goes without saying, but dogs like to chew on things. Shoes left unattended become chew toys very quickly. When you remove your shoes, put them away in a secure closet or wherever you store your shoes. Just make sure that they are kept well out of reach of Fido.
Waterproof Boots and Other Shoes that will be Worn in the Rain or Snow: Apply a waterproofing spray to any footwear that will or could become wet. Keeping water out of your footwear helps to ensure a longer life for your footwear.
Buy Rubbers: When I was much younger, everyone owned rubbers (no, not that kind — we are talking about shoes) that could be worn over work shoes. They kept the rain and snow out of shoes when people were heading to work. They have fallen out of fashion but remain just as useful.
Clean Your Shoes: Built up dirt on a shoe will hasten its demise. Keep your footwear clean and you will be able to enjoy it longer.
How do you keep your sneakers and shoes useful for as long as possible? What care tips have you learned? How long do you think a shoe should last?