The Closet

How to Care for your Formal Shoes during Wedding Season

When it comes to special occasions like weddings, you need to keep your formal shoes ready. Sure, they can take a break when you're watching the bride make her way down the aisle. But when the reception starts it's go time, and your footwear can easily get scuffed and damaged on the dance floor or dirtied at an outdoor wedding. Here's our shoe care guide to help you keep your best accessories in tip-top shape for every wedding this season.

Leather shoes: a care guide

Leather shoes are the foundation of formal wear. Before taking your new kicks out for a night on the town, layer a coat of water repellent to protect the leather against the environment. These protective formulas are widely available in spray formats for a fuss-free application (suede materials are especially sensitive to water). Besides weatherproofing, taking your shoes to a shoe care service to have the taps fastened will help your pair endure for a lot longer. For an extra polish, apply a thin layer of leather conditioner and gently buff with a soft cloth.

Pro Tip: Treat your favorite pair of dress shoes or heels to new soles when you notice increasing wear and tear—this helps them stay with you through thick and thin.

All about that heel: straps, stilettos and sandals


While extra-high heels may appeal to the stylish set, there are more practical options to help put your best foot forward. Take care when choosing a new pair of heels. Thin straps or stilettos are more likely to break; not to mention, they're difficult to keep on when you're out on the dance floor. A lower heel may be more comfortable, and you won't have to worry about the heel snapping off. Outdoor or destination weddings are increasingly popular, so take into consideration sensible yet fashion-forward footwear for your wedding guest wardrobe. Travel-friendly options include a chunkier heel or dressier sandal to complement any outfit. Plus, they're a sturdy choice to take you from the opening ceremony to the dinner reception.

Pro Tip: Dancing under white tents and fairy lights in the garden? Pack a pair of wedges or sandals with flat heels instead—they won't sink into grass or sand. Speaking of grass, you can tackle any stains with a damp cloth, warm water and a touch of soap. Don't forget to pack your shoes in a dust bag before you board that flight to Napa Valley or Costa Rica!

Long-term care tips


To make your favorite pair of heels or oxfords last, invest in a seasonal reheel at a trusted shoe care service. When it's time to switch up your closet at the end of the season, store shoes in their boxes stuffed with acid-free tissue paper to keep them in mint condition and place shoe trees in each shoe to maintain their shape. While you can opt to replace your footwear, dress shoes can be a pretty expensive purchase. Instead, by cleaning and storing your shoes properly, you'll be making a worthy investment that will allow you to get more mileage out of them for years. And if your pair happens to go great with any formal outfit you don, you'll want to keep those shoes with you for as long as possible.

Now that you can have fun on the dance floor—without destroying your feet—know how to care for the rest of your wedding attire with our handy guide.

Photos: Tymonko Galyna /, Sweet Ice Cream Photography,, Jason Briscoe