TEXT BY Florence Trott
Evening shoe care 101 – a festive guide to prolonging the life of your fanciest party shoes.
Shoe care isn’t top of our list of priorities when we’re in the after-glow of a great party, deep in the group chat debrief about last night. Nonetheless, if, like us, you’re known to indulge in some post-party TLC (brunch and a facial, anyone?) it’s time to treat your shoes with the same love and care you treat yourself. They worked as hard as you did on the dance floor, after all. Looked after properly, there’s no reason why your favourite stilettos can’t survive multiple party seasons, which is good for the planet and your closet space. By looking after your heels, you’re looking after the earth – it’s one small way of taking the climate crisis in hand (or should we say foot?) Before making a new purchase, give some of these tips a go to breathe new life into old favourites, and keep this season’s shoes sparkling when the invitations start rolling in next year.
Think of your shoes like you do yourself after one too many Cosmos. Satin, silk, suede and leather respond badly to heat, sunlight and damp over time, so store them somewhere cool and dry. Don’t let your Balenciaga Knife mules languish anywhere near a window. It could lead to colour fade – a fate worse than a broken heel. Instead, store them in a dry closet, ideally on a shoe rack that’s separate from your everyday shoes. Alternatively, recycle and store them in the original box, or use cloth dust bags to protect delicate metalwork and embellishments. To preserve the shape of your shoes, invest in shoe trees, or stuff the toes with acid free paper.
Prevention is better than cure. If possible, we always try to have our shoes re-heeled and resoled long before they’re worn through. But, even if they look as though they’re on their last legs, the beauty of luxury and handmade shoes is that they’re designed to last. Many of the best shoemakers will offer an aftercare service. If they don’t, take your shoes to a local cobbler for professional cleaning and repairs. There’s life in the old girl yet.
Be careful – A stray smudge of lipstick or hand cream could do lasting damage to your shoes.
If it’s raining, you might need to reconsider wearing your Manolo Lurums. The wet is anathema to satin. We’d recommend having your shoes treated by a professional with gentle and environmentally friendly water and stain protectors. If you do get caught in the rain, soak up any excess water with a colourfast cloth and treat your shoes to a blow dry with your hair dryer on its lowest setting.
Wear your shoes in gradually around the house for a few hours at a time to preserve the structure of the shoe, and make sure your hands are clean before handling your most delicate shoes. If you’ve applied makeup for the night, a stray smudge of lipstick or residual hand cream could do lasting damage. Finally – heel stoppers might not look particularly elegant, but if you’re planning to wear heels to an outdoor event, they’ll pay dividends in terms of shoe longevity. Glamorous, we know.
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