If your shoes get scuffed and wear out quickly, did you just buy the wrong ones, or could you have done something to make them last longer? Are there certain brands that are especially durable (but also stylish)? Reader M wonders:
Could you do a post about caring for shoes and how to fix scuff marks? Or maybe how to pick longer lasting shoes? I just bought black Nine West flats in September and the leather (??) toes are already peeling. So depressing! I don’t think this is fixable and they look so grungy, I don’t even know if a little black polish would prolong their life. But what could I have done to prevent this? Or did I just buy the wrong pair of shoes? I feel like I end up going through shoes way too quickly despite paying a healthy amount for them (but maybe not enough!).
We’ve talked about wearing scuffed shoes to the office, properly storing shoes, and upgrading your shoe collection, and we also had a guest post on shoe care, but we haven’t talked about exactly this in a while. So let’s discuss.
For my $.02: it sounds like Reader M might be a) too hard on her shoes (as in, wearing them everywhere, including a commute that might be too tough on the heels), and b) might get better results with slightly better shoes. I have gotten years of wear out of even inexpensive brands like Nine West, though, so I have a few ideas for Reader M:
- First thing when you get your shoes, waterproof them. This should help the materials hold up and look their best. I’ve always had luck with the Kiwi brand — just make sure you read the instructions to make sure whichever spray you’re holding is a good fit for the shoes you want to spray. (I have different sprays for sneakers, suede shoes, and regular leather.)
- Be wary of little problems before they turn into big ones. If the leather starts to peel or otherwise detach from your shoe, I would fix it the best I could (a shoe sponge, or even a Sharpie can help it look better in a pinch, but there are also specialty products and of course cobblers), and then move the shoe to the “wear only at the office” pile. Not every shoe can go every where — and the sooner you learn where a shoe can’t go, the better you’ll be.
- Know what you can fix. Heel tips and soles are things you can replace very easily, either at home or with a cobbler — but scratched leather is much harder. I haven’t been plagued too much by scuff marks myself, but there seem to be a ton of ways to get them out yourself.
- Automate your shoe care. If you’re really busy, it’s best to just get in the habit of dropping them off at the cobbler once a season (or even just twice a year). It’s more expensive to have him or her do everything, but I’ve always found it’s one of those things that it’s easier to outsource. (Then again, I’ve always been in a little apartment with poor ventilation, so that’s another consideration!) I usually waterproof them again when they come back from the cobbler.
Ladies, what ways have you found to extend the life of your shoes? Do you think it’s more a difference in care, or a difference in quality of the shoe?
(Pictured: Classic Film, originally uploaded to Flickr by 1950 Illustrated Ad, Cat-Tex Sole Repair Material for Shoes.)
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