Good shoes take you to good places—but what happens when your new pair is ruined by bad weather? It's a problem we face all too often. Once you've found footwear you love, you want to make sure it lasts. Whether you've invested in formal work shoes that you'd like to wear for years, or are emotionally attached to a new pair of kicks, you can keep putting your best foot forward with our fuss-free guide to shoe care.
Weatherproofing: use protectant against the elements
Your fall footwear collection likely includes a pair of black leather shoes or cognac boots. The most important step of caring for leather shoes is to weatherproof them before you wear them outside. Gently wipe the shoes with a soft cloth to remove any dust, then lightly spray them with a leather protectant to make sure your kicks are prepared for all kinds of autumnal weather. This will also ward off future dirt stains. Don't forget to do a simple spot test by applying the product onto a small area to gauge how the leather reacts. If you don't see any discoloration, proceed to spray the rest of the shoe.
When you think of shoes that require weatherproofing, leather boots, brogues and other formal styles immediately come to mind. As street style bloggers have proven, leather shouldn't be reserved for upscale styles—it can also make sneakers look effortlessly cool. Use the same protectant spray to keep your new leather sneakers looking pristine, as you start to experiment with this latest trend.
Cleaning: DIY solutions
Leather shoes: Wipe off any dirt with a clean, dry cloth. Then use a damp cloth or sponge to gently clean the shoes, but avoid getting the leather too wet by doing a spot test first. For more details, our care guide for all things leather has got you covered.
Sneakers: If you spot a stain, lightly scrub your shoes with an old toothbrush, using a cleaning solution of warm water and a dash of dishwashing soap. The laces can be soaked in some warm water and gentle soap, and hung to dry. Before you know it, your kicks will be as good as new.
Rainboots: During the autumnal months, rubber rain boots will start making an appearance. While they seem easy to clean—rain should do the trick, right?—these boots actually require some basic care effort. Wipe them down with a clean cloth dipped in lukewarm water and dish soap to preserve the material. A scrub brush and water will help keep the soles clean.
Storage: keep your shoes cool and dry
While we don't all own walk-in shoe closets, we can still make sure our footwear is stored properly to avoid any scratches or discoloration.
- A cool, dry location can better preserve certain materials such as leather. Avoid direct sunlight, which can lead to faded colors or cracks in the fabric.
- Use shoe trees to preserve the shape of your footwear.
- Save your shoe boxes and keep your most polished pieces lined with acid-free tissue in the dust bag included with purchase. This is especially helpful for delicate materials such as suede, or heels with embellishments such as studs or rhinestones. Avoid plastic bags, which can dry out leather.
- Attach a Polaroid to each shoe box, so you can easily see what's in each box without lifting the lid.
Invest in a seasonal reheel
You've spent a considerable amount of time and effort searching for the perfect pair of shoes. Add value to your footwear by committing to a seasonal reheel to keep them in mint condition. A well-kept industry secret: most modern cleaners provide a full menu of clothing and accessory care options. Ask if your trusted dry cleaner provides a shoe care/repair service to take care of all your clothing needs this season.
By following these shoe hacks, you'll make preserving your fall footwear a streamlined process—so you can sit back and enjoy your americano with ease.