Updated on December 19, 2018 for product updates and minor content corrections.
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In the last installment of Protecting your Investment, we showed you how to safeguard your garments, this week we’ll be showing you how to protect your shoes from the mean streets. When was the last time you gave your dress shoes a proper shine? Chances are you never have or it has been an eternity. Aside from your hair, your shoes are one of the first features that people notice. What’s the point of having a crisp suit if the first thing people notice is your street scarred, worn out, dress shoes? In this weeks edition, we will be sharing the not so secret trade secrets when it comes to protecting and extending the life of your dress shoes.
Polish Every Few Weeks
Polishing your shoes is the cornerstone of protecting and maintaining your dress shoes. A good polish not only conditions and protects the leather, but it also gets rid of any scuffs, nicks, or imperfections. It is hands down the most essential thing to do to keep your shoes looking their best. If you don’t already have all the necessary supplies (polish, brush, polish rag), you can assemble your own polish kit or buy a ready made one from Brooks Brothers*. In addition, we also recommend picking up a bottle of Saphir Renovateur. This mink-oiled based cream is considered one of the very best shoe creams. Think of it as a Swiss Army Knife that can be used for cleaning, conditioning, smoothing, and polishing your dress shoes. When it comes to frequency, we recommend every three weeks or more if you put a lot of miles on them each week. Don’t know how to polish? Keep your eyes open for our upcoming article.
Find a Good Cobbler
Think of a cobbler as a tailor for your shoes. They can do anything from replacing your heels and soles, to completely refinishing shoes. Are the heels on your favorite pair of shoes worn down to the wood? Drop them off at the cobbler and for $20 they’ll throw a new pair on. Over the lifetime of a shoe, a cobbler pays dividends because instead of buying a new pair of shoes, you can just take them in for repairs. An important point here: rubber soled dress shoes, while comfortable to walk in, make it more difficult for the cobbler to repair. Unlike wood sole shoes, a cobbler cannot simply pop off a heel or replace a sole because everything is fused and glued.
Are not only an absolute must, but are also the simplest accessory you can buy to protect your dress shoes. First and foremost, they help preserve the size and shape of your shoes. After a long workday, shoe trees bring your shoes back to their original shape and size, while also muscling out creases and wrinkles. Secondly, since most shoe trees are made of pine, they serve as a good defense against odor. A pair can be had from anywhere between $20-$30 and can be found at Allen Edmonds* or Nordstrom’s*.
If your shoe trees... no longer smell like a freshly cut Christmas tree, grab some sandpaper and give them a light sanding.
Get a Pair of Rubbers
Rubber overshoes that is. Remember those goofy rubber things your dad wore over his dress shoes way back in the day? Those are rubber overshoes. Yes, the double takes you’ll get for them won’t be positive, but they play an important role in protecting your dress shoes from harsh weather. Especially when it comes to road salt, the sworn enemy of leather. Road salt can get deep down and ruin the grain, dissolve polish, and can leave nasty salt marks that are downright impossible to get off. The best part about overshoes is they easily slip on and off so once you’re in the office, no one will ever know you wore them. Unlike other forms of protection, pick up a cheap pair and wear them whenever the weather is wet and nasty out.
There’s a reason why they always use a shoehorn at the store and no, it’s not to make you feel important, although it does that too. A shoe horn allows your foot to easily slide in while protecting the backs of your shoes. Use one whenever you put your dress shoes on. Believe us, you’re not doing your shoes any favors by smushing the backs every time you put them on.
Get a Rotation Going
We know your favorite pair of cap toes look great, but if you wear them every day they are going to be beat to hell in a few months. Like your garments, the more you wear your shoes, the faster they’re going to wear out. If you already have a few pairs of dress shoes, be sure to get a rotation going. Wear your pair of black dress shoes on Monday and Wednesday, your brown ones on Tuesday and Thursday and your loafers on Friday. By getting a rotation going, you allow ample time for the leather and shoe to rest. This plays a big role in protecting and extending the longevity of your shoes.
Know When to Rock Them
Another thing to keep in mind is your commute. If you have a commute that relies heavily on walking and public transportation you might want to consider wearing tennis shoes to and from work. We know it’s blasphemy, but wearing your tennis shoes significantly reduces the amount of wear and tear on your dress shoes. The last thing we want is for some jabroni with his face in his phone to step on and mark up your pair of walnut strands. This can also apply to weekends when you go out. If you know you and your crew are going to get rowdy, opt for a pair of shoes you don’t mind spilling beer on.
By following these tips, you will keep your shoes looking as good as the day you bought them. Have another home remedy? Maybe you store your shoes in a honey badger hair-lined box? If so, help out your fellow gentlemen and share it in the comments. And be on the lookout for the next installment of Protecting your Investment.