We treat our shoes much more roughly than we treat our clothes. This makes sense from a certain perspective because shoes are designed to handle impact and direct content with the ground. Shoes are also made from more durable materials than your clothes. But if you think about the cost of a good pair of shoes, the time it takes to buy them, and the attachment we often feel to them; then you realize that it doesn’t make sense to treat our shoes so poorly.
I’m not suggesting that you build your shoes a shrine or spend every second trying to avoid grass, mud or scuffs. What I’m suggesting is that you think about your shoes as an investment and as an important part of your wardrobe. If you look at them this way, then it makes sense to give them more care.
A shoe-lover or a cobbler can talk about a half-dozen parts of the shoe (or more), but for our purposes you only need to think about 3 parts: the sole, the outer shell and the inner shoe. If you take a look at each of these areas and do a little maintenance, then your shoes will last much longer and look great whenever you need them.
The Sole of the Matter
The sole of the shoe is the part that you walk on. It takes damage every day. It absorbs the friction of concrete, the impact of stairs and the stabbing of rocks, glass and other stab-y things you walk on every day. Maintaining the soles of your shoes is the key to protecting the bottoms of your feet.
For Soles, you need to look at 2 things:
- The wear of the sole: How thick is the sole, is the thickness even, are there any holes or chunks missing?
- The attachment of the sole: Is the sole flopping off, is there a gap between it and the rest of the shoe?
Your soles are going to wear down over time. And if your sole was glued on or the stitching is weak, then you are going to see your soles start to come off over time. Luckily, both of these issues can be repaired for far less than the cost of buying a new pair of shoes.
For athletic shoes, there isn’t much you can do because these soles are usually all rubber and they are not designed to be repaired. But the soles on men’s and women’s casual and dress shoes (including heels) can be repaired. Often it will only take an hour at a shoe repair place to have your old sole stripped off and a new one put on. The price is normally only 20-40 dollars.
If you check the wear and the stitching on your shoes every 2-3 months, you will catch the damage before it gets too bad and you can get it repaired at low cost. This can be the difference between buying a new pair of shoes every 18 months and buying a new pair every 3 years. That difference in replacement times will save most people hundreds of dollars per year and a lot more if you have a large shoe collection.
Taking a Look Outside
The outside of your shoe is the part that everyone sees and that you are judged by. The key thing here is to make sure that get rid of scratches, replace the laces and keep them polished