How To Make Your Old Shoes Feel Like New

6th August 2020


From a trip to the professional cleaner, to styling outside the box, here’s how to give your old favourites a new lease of life this summer.

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As our personal style evolves, it’s natural that we fall in and out of love with our shoes. Different pairs appeal to us on different days and at different stages in our lives, depending on who we want to be at any given moment. Bottega Veneta mules when we’re feeling flirty but sophisticated, glamorous Louboutin stilettos when we’re feeling sexy, chunky Balenciaga trainers when we’re channeling ‘fashion’ but craving comfort. Of course, as trends change and our style matures, we get tired of our most-worn pairs. Not to mention the fact that they get worn out themselves – leather scuffs, heels wear away. Ultimately, they lose their appeal. But before you reach for the donation bag, we’ve got a few practical tips for giving old shoes a new lease of life. Don’t give up just yet.

Related read: How to looks after your party shoes

Make well-worn favourites feel like new by the simple expedient of giving them a good clean. From polishing leather to brushing suede, a simple DIY job works wonders. Check out our in-depth guides to cleaning trainers, looking after party shoes and taking care of boots. We probably sound like your mum telling you to clean your bedroom, but looking after your shoes really is good for your wardrobe and the planet. It’s surprising what a bit of elbow grease can do. 

Shoe ennui is a real thing. Wear one pair too many times, and you get bored. It’s a by-product of the trend cycle and, whilst it’s not something we’re proud of, it’s a fact. Fed up of a pair of shoes? You loved them once, and you can love them again – with a little imagination. Give old favourites a new lease of life by styling them in new ways. Have an embarrassing bedroom fashion show – take a look at what’s in your wardrobe and experiment with new and unexpected combinations, socks with sandals perhaps? Make mistakes while you’re in the comfort of your own home. Bold choices might surprise you.

Even the most worn-out shoes can be resuscitated with a bit of professional help. Send your shoes to designer specialists like The Restory or Shoe Spa London, and Louboutin soles return vibrantly red, Manolo Blahnik satin is magically restored, and Jimmy Choo crystals are sourced and replaced. They come back shining like new. 

Related read: How to master socks with sandals

Dare to wear shoes that might not be ‘appropriate’ to different occasions – it’s a fashion statement that doubles as a tactic for keeping things fresh. Old shoes can be thrilling when worn someplace they’ve never been before. Step over the threshold of your favourite coffee shop in a pair of well-loved Manolo Blahnik mules. Worn your fave Saint Laurent party shoes one too many times? Pair with jeans and take them to lunch with the in-laws. Make it an occasion. 

Give your most-worn shoes a well-deserved time-out. When you are *obsessed* with a pair of shoes to the point of over-wearing them, make sure you rotate them with other styles, and maybe sit them out for a season or two. Classic shoes will always come back into fashion (see: western boots, sock boots, barely-there sandals). Even if you’re tired of them now, investment pieces are worth holding onto. You loved them once, and you can love them again. After a little break. A bit like Ross and Rachel, but without the recriminations. 

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