Taking care of your shoes

Shoe trees

Shoe trees are crucial. They allow recently worn shoes to contract and dry out to their ideal shape. The vital time for using them is after they were removed from your feet. After that, the shoes will have returned to their natural architecture and the trees can be removed.

Repair work

It pays to invest in servicing the shoes, which should be done before permanent damage sets in. So, to save your shoes, or at least to save on outrageous repair costs take them to a professional before it is absolutely necessary.


Suede shoes are in a category of their own, since you cannot polish away any scuff marks. Use a suede eraser to rub away small blemishes. Then use a suede brush to restore the nap, or fuzz, of the leather.

How to polish a shoe:

1. Wipe your shoes down with a damp cloth to remove superficial dirt and stains.
2. Wet the welt brush and scrub out the entire welt strip.
3. If the shoes need it, apply sole-edge dressing carefully. If you get it on the uppers, it will stain them permanently. Let the edge dressing dry before going any further.
4. Apply polish, using a circular rubbing motion. You don't need to be gentle. And the more you rub the better. Let the polish dry. It should take about five minutes.
5. Buff the entire shoe with a polishing brush. For extra gleam, hold the shoe between your knees and buff the toe vigorously with a non-fluffy cloth.

Polishing materials:

Shoe polish: Should be an established brand. Cream polishes applied with a brush may be easier to use, but they won't give you the same shine. And you don't need every colour under the sun: black, a chestnut or darker brown, and something neutral for light-coloured shoes.

Welt brush: Looks like a toothbrush (and you can use one in its place). It is designed to get the grit out of the welt, the seam where the shoe's upper joins the sole. It is amazing how much dirt gets in there.

Polishing cloth: Non-fluffy cotton or linen. Use the same one for putting on the polish that you use for buffing, regardless of the colour you are using. And hang on to it: The longer you use the same cloth, the more it becomes suffused with rich oils and dyes.

Polishing brush: To get the high shine out of the shoe once you have got all that wax into the leather. Horsehair is recommended.

Sole dressing: The edge of the sole takes frequent scuffing. Restore the pristine look of your shoes with an edge dressing, applied with a small craft brush or a cotton swab.

And remember - shoes are an investment!

Cheap shoes are a false bargain. They are made of glue, rubber, and low-grade leather. Good shoes begin with great leather, which does not come cheap. But, if you put a little time and effort into looking after them they can last a lifetime.