CARING FOR YOUR KICKS
By Shanuka Kadupitiyage
I’m sure you already know that shoes are an investment worth spending on. If you take our advice and buy a good pair of footwear (it’s worth it), then I’m pretty sure you want to get the best value for your purchase.
In that sense, a new pair of shoes is very similar to a brand new car, fresh off the factory; the better you take care of it, the more value you’re going to get in return. Because of that, we’ve put together a list of some of the basics you need to keep in mind if you want to make sure your kicks still look ‘kickin’ for a long time to come.
Prevention is always better
It’s not that hard to clean off that sauce you accidentally spilt on your shoe the other day, but it’s a lot easier to not spill it in the first place. Just as it is in many situations, the best way to care for your shoe is to prevent it from taking damage in the first place. However, that doesn’t mean you should be walking around with plastic bags on to protect your shoes.
One of the best ways you can protect your shoes and make them last longer is by walking with proper posture. If you tend to drag your feet or let your heel scuff the ground as you take strides, you might notice the sole wearing faster than it normally should. Besides, having good posture means you’re not putting unnecessary stress on your joints either.
Taking care of your pair of leather shoes doesn’t need to break the bank. For the most part, all you’ll need is a bristle brush, shoe polish (not the liquid), a soft cloth, shoe protector spray and saddle soap (if you really want to splurge).
Make sure that your shoes are free of dust, mud or grime first. If you want to give them a deep clean, this is where the saddle soap comes to play.
You’ll also need to regularly use wax polish to protect the leather of the shoe. Don’t go near the liquid instant-shine polish because those have chemicals that could potentially harm the leather.
If you want to get that glossy, military ‘spit-shine’ (no you don’t have to spit), just put a drop of water on the front toe-cap and polish with a soft cloth. You’ll thank me later.
As for shoes more casual in nature, such as sneakers, all you’ll need is mild soap, an old toothbrush with super soft bristles and shoe protector spray once again. Use the spray to keep dirt, dust and grime from staining your shoe and leaving it factory fresh. As for cleaning, I’m sure it’s pretty obvious.
Some shoes (like converse) can often be cleaned in the washing-machine, but I recommend you avoid that, both for your hygiene and the shoe’s longevity, because it can possibly reduce your shoe’s longevity and overall look.
When you’re drying your shoes, remember that direct sunlight is your enemy. They soften the adhesives and can cause serious damage to your shoe. Better to keep them away from direct sunlight or too much heat and air dry them instead.
When and when-not in use
If you’re the one-shoe-for-every-occasion type of person, you should know that wearing the same
pair of shoes everyday isn’t the best idea for your shoe’s longevity, especially to the overall comfort of the shoe’s padding, which should be allowed some time to return to its original state after being crushed under your weight for a full day.
You’ll also be letting all that sweat absorbed by your feet, to dry out, reducing the chance of your shoes starting to smell funky.
You should also avoid wearing the same pair of socks twice (we’ve all done it) since that can contribute to foot odour as well.
It’s best to alternate between your footwear and let your shoes breathe after some use. However, you shouldn’t leave your shoes unused for a long time either.
Shoes are meant to be used of course, not to be kept on a display table. So don’t leave your shoes lying around for too long.
However, what are you going to do when you’re not wearing your kicks?
Well, one of the best things you can do is stuff some newspapers inside. They are great at absorbing sweat and help dry your shoes faster.
The best place to store shoes when putting them away is in their own box, so don’t throw it away. Usually, your shoes come with special shoe trees stuffed inside to prevent them from losing their shape while in storage. Use them when storing shoes to prevent any creasing or warping on the original shape.
If you really want to invest in footwear, I would recommend buying special shoe-trees made of aromatic wood, but that’s just an extra.
Now, you’re ready to take better care of your shoes. What other tips do you have in order to make the best of your footwear?