1. Shoes too big?
“What are insoles?” you may ask. An insole is a soft pad (usually made from a foam, gel or leather material), which you place inside your shoes to provide support, cushioning and even warmth for your feet.
Although often intended to help with posture problems and other discomforts, they’re also super-useful to take up extra space in footwear that’s on the big side.
Full insoles are a fantastic solution if your shoe is too big across the length of your foot, and they come in a variety of materials and styles to suit your needs:
Foam insoles – if you’re after general stability and snug-fitting shoes, foam insoles are ideal for making things more comfortable. You could also treat yourself to a pair of impression insoles that mould perfectly to the shape of your foot for an extra dash of luxury.
2. How to stretch your shoes if they are too tight
Wearing multiple pairs of socks and the shoes in question, hold a hairdryer up to the parts of the shoe that are tightest whilst flexing or moving your feet. This will help stretch them. Just be sure to let the shoes cool with your feet still in them.
Crumple up newspaper, wet it slightly – note: it must not be soaked through, otherwise it will damage the inner sole – let it dry and remove before wearing.
3. Pre Care
Leather polish and conditioner is like moisturiser for your shoes. It’ll help prevent cracking, wrinkling, fading and flaking. Depending on how often you wear your shoes, leather polishing should become a regular routine. You only need to dab a small amount of leather polish or conditioner on a clean, dry cloth and work in a circular motion across your shoes. Remove excess polish with a fresh, clean cloth and buff with a pair of stockings until you can see no smudges or residual marks. Beeswax polish is great for protecting and nourishing your leather. When it comes to colour matching, your local cobbler should have a range of pots in different colours and shades to suit but if not, choose a transparent polish to hydrate the leather.
Suede shoes can be a nightmare under bad weather conditions. This is why it’s best to invest in a claer silicone-based suede protector spray, this way you can ensure that your suede shoes are made weather proof. Spray the suede protector on the suede upper parts of the shoe and leave to air dry and absorb the product overnight, this way you can enjoy your shoes come rain or sunshine as it protects the fabric from things you may step in or that can fall on your shoes as you’re out and about. Such an effort makes any cleaning much easier for you and more effective, too.
Make sure you waterproof your leather, canvas, suede and nubuck shoes with spray-on water repellent. Just spray 15-30cm from the shoe and leave to dry overnight. Repeat every couple of months.
Nubuck and suede, are incredibly delicate. For dry stains try steam and a small amount of white vinegar and water on a nail brush to lift the dirt. Dab dry with a clean cloth, never rub and don’t brush too vigorously. Invest in a good brush with soft bristles to lift dirt.
For leather trainers, small scuffmarks can often be removed by applying a few swabs of nail-polish remover and then wiping clean.
If your trainers are in dire need of a wash, yes you can put them in the washing machine and here’s how. First of all give your trainers a wipe down with a cloth and if possible take out the insoles. Place the trainers inside a pillowcase, with one or two towels and set your washing machine to a cold wash. Once they’ve been washed leave them out to air dry and voila.
5. Take care of your sole
Keeping an eye on the condition of your sole and ensuring it is in good repair is crucial to caring for your shoes. Experts tend to have conflicting views on how best to prolong the life of a leather-soled shoes. applying an additional rubber sole onto the original leather sole is a sure-fire way to increase their longevity.
Rule number one is to take great care of your soles & heels. You can get your soles re-done with your local cobbler as soon as you see signs of wear and tear. A girls night out on the dancefloor can have immediate effects on your soles and heels. Don’t let your stilettos or pumps wear down to the metal structure beneath the leather. Get the heel tips replaced regularly before the metal becomes exposed.
6. Rain aftercare
As much as we might try, it is virtually impossible to avoid the rain over the course of the year. Ensure you take care of your shoes immediately after any downpours by filling them up with newspaper and storing them in a warm but ventilated place to dry out properly. The sooner you are able to dry out your shoe fabric, the better. But please, whatever you do, never resort to the hairdryer… The weather can be an unpredictable pain at times, which means your leather shoes could get soaked by the rain one day. If this ever happens, do not leave your shoes to dry by a heater or with something like a hairdryer, as the heat from these items can make the leather crack.
7. Shoe Storage
Ideally, it’s great to invest in a quality shoe tree to keep your shoes in best condition while you’re not wearing them. Unfinished cedar soaks up residual moisture or odour, and the shape of the shoe tree means your shoes will not crease or wrinkle. When it comes to your leathers, it’s best to keep your leather shoes stored in shoe bags. This way they won’t scratch, they’re safe from dust and kept away from light that can damage leather. Also, plastic bags ensure that your leather shoes retain their moisture preventing them from drying out.
Trainers - The best way to store your sports shoes and trainers is to keep them stuffed with paper or acid-free newspaper to help them keep their shape and absorb any excess sweat. Be careful of using paper with prints/text on them so that the ink doesn’t transfer onto your shoes.
Suede shoes are best stored out in the open where they can get fresh air as unlike other types of shoes, suede shoes need air so they can breathe.
If you're unsure of the best way to polish your shoes, watch our 'How To polish Leather Shoes' tutorial on youtube!