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Looking after your shoes

Sarah Horrocks
by Sarah Horrocks Published on 3 January 2008

Without good upkeep, shoes soon get ruined and won't see another season. They need TLC and protection using special products. Here's our advice on keeping your Jimmy Choos pristine from one season to the next.

Without good upkeep, shoes soon get ruined and won't see another season. They need TLC and protection using special products. Here's our advice on keeping your Jimmy Choos pristine from one season to the next.

How to get more wear out of your shoes
The lifespan of your favourite heels, boots, ballet pumps and trainers will depend on how well you look after them. And it really doesn't take much effort to get more wear out of your shoes:

- Disinfect the insides with special spray (available in supermarkets and pharmacies) to stop you getting fungal infections.

- Don't wear the same pair of shoes two days running to give them a rest and allow them to get rid of moisture.

- Always get the right size. If your shoes are too small, your toes will get squashed against the ends of the shoe and your feet can get injured and deformed. If your shoes are too big, your feet will slip out while you're walking, your shoes won't last long and you could sprain an ankle.
- Don't buy insoles or half-soles that break down or deform your shoes.
- Give your shoes a second life by replacing their soles, preferably with anti-slip ones, every one to two years.

What to use on what type of material?

It's advised to use a waterproof spray on any new pair of shoes to nourish and protect them from damp.

- Leather:
Leather is a skin and needs to be hydrated and nourished just like our own! Clean your leather shoes with a soft rag to get rid of fine traces. To care for the leather, apply leather cleaner/conditioner with a cloth rag and leave to dry. There's no use in polishing leather shoes or boots too soon, so wait a few weeks until after you've bought them and then use a wax product. Remember to get one that's either colourless or the same colour as your shoes!

- Suede:
Suede is more fragile than ordinary leather and harder to take care of (like nubuck). Don't use wax polish; get hold of a suede cleaner to use on stubborn stains and always use a very soft cloth rag, a slightly dampened cloth or a gentle scrubber designed for use on suede.

- Synthetic material:
Synthetic materials are less fragile than natural leather. Clean your synthetic shoes with a damp cloth or a gentle brush, polish and waterproof.
- Patent leather:
Patent leather is super-shiny and easily gets marks on it. Clean yours with a sponge and soapy water and remove stains with a cloth dipped in non-acetone stain remover (nail varnish remover does the trick!).

Storing shoes
Keep your shoes well away from damp, in a dry, clean place. If you can, store them in their original boxes or tidy them away in a shoe organiser rack at the end of the season. To ensure your shoes retain their shape and don't get crushed, use wooden shoe trees (though these are quite costly), but don't buy them too big or they'll stretch your shoes. Or you can always stuff them with newspaper or silk paper to make them retain their shape.

by Sarah Horrocks

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