HOW-TO

How To: Make Your Shoes Last Longer

28th May 2020

WORDS BY FLORENCE TROTT

Insider hacks to extend the life span of your favourite footwear.

Celine boots, the row boots,

More and more, shoe-lovers are eschewing throwaway fashion in favour of lasting style. In a bid to do our bit to slow down the effects of an industry that produces millions of tonnes of waste a year, we want to buy less and make our shoes last longer. But how? A lot of it is just common sense. We don’t have to tell you that shoes shouldn’t be disposable – they belong in our wardrobes, not landfill. As the fashion industry heaves under the pressure to change its ways, we’re trying to reform ourselves alongside it. Investing in quality shoes we know we’ll wear, hunting down sustainable brands that also deliver the have-to-have-it fashion thrill we crave (still not easy), and looking after our shoes to make them last years, not just a season. How to make your shoes last longer differs from style to style, but it all boils down to one thing: taking proper care of them. Here are a few insider hacks for making your shoes last longer.

SHOP DELICATE DESIGN CLASSIC’S

INVEST IN QUALITY

We don’t want to bore you with a preachy line about ‘investing in quality’, but we’re going to anyway, because it really is true. Looking after your shoes starts before you’ve even worn them. Invest in the best quality you can afford and you’re already winning – they’ll last longer by virtue of being well-made.

CALL FOR REINFORCEMENTS

Here comes the cavalry! Make leather-soled shoes last longer by having the soles and heels reinforced with rubber protectors. Any good cobbler will be able to do this inexpensively. 

PROTECT & PERFECT 

Before wearing and after every clean, treat leather and suede with a protector spray such as Collonil or Liquiproof. Shoes take a beating, and it’s a sad day when your Gucci Princetowns succumb to the wind and rain. For sneakers, look to specialist brands like Crepe Protect to keep your white kicks white. Satin shoes, like these peachy Midnight 00 slingbacks, can be treated with fabric shoe protectors, such as Saphir’s Super Invulner stain spray.  

SHOP PREMIUM SHOE CARE

ROTATE YOUR SHOES

We’ve all been there – the thrill of a new pair of shoes that you love so much you can’t bear to be parted from them. Resist wearing the same pair of shoes every day, and instead keep your footwear in rotation. Giving them a breather between wears will help to maintain the structure of the shoes, provided they’re stored carefully. 

CLEAN SHOES REGULARLY

This goes without saying. Don’t let the grime build up – use specialist brushes to wipe away dirt, and targeted cleaning products for different shoe materials. A toothbrush will help get rid of dirt trapped in rubber soles and trainers. 

SHOE REPAIRS

Maximise the life span of your favourite Jimmy Choos by having the soles and heels replaced regularly, before they’re completely worn through.

SHOP SECOND HAND DESIGNER SHOES 

LESSONS IN STORAGE

Before storing your shoes, make sure they’re completely dry, and never leave them next to a direct heat source – this will make the leather and stitching crack. Cedar shoe trees will help keep your shoes’ shape, but stuffing them with tissue or newspaper will work, too. Keep them in dust bags somewhere cool and dry. Moisture and Louboutins don’t mix. 

THE WEATHER IS KING

No matter how well your feather-trimmed Amina Muaddi sandals go with your outfit, for the love of shoes, don’t wear them if it’s raining. You can always carry a alternative pair in your purse if a big event collides with a rainy day. Unlike the Hermes Kelly that you can hide under a raincoat, shoes are the first ones to take the hit then a shower surprises you, and they always do.

DONATE & RE-SELL

Your shoes can have a longer lifespan, even if you no longer own them, plus they are worth a lot more in a good condition. Donate or re-sell shoes that still are in a wearable condition on sites like e-bay, Depop and Vestiaire Collective. You can sleep soundly knowing that your shoes are living a long and happy life – on another woman’s feet.

This article contains commercial, affiliate links.