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How to Make Your Shoes Last Longer Than Normal

by Jeremy Ott

Your shoes take a harsher beating than any other part of your wardrobe, but if taken care of correctly they can last many years. Here’s a guide to maintaining your shoes so the investment you make is a good one.

1. Polish your shoes weekly 

Most likely your dress shoes are made of leather so to keep them looking fresh you have to treat them. Go buy a tin of Kiwi shoe polish. Shoe polish goes a long way to keep your leather from drying out. Other things you’ll need include damp cloth, welt brush, polishing brush and a lint-free cloth.

2. Buy taps

The toe and the heel of a dress shoe are easily worn down with enough wear, especially when you have that cringe-worthy moment of scraping your shoe on the pavement. The best way to fight that is buying taps. You can buy a pair for as little as three dollars. The main question when it comes to taps is to use plastic, or metal. “Plastic is quieter, metal more durable. Either will prevent the soles (and heels—be sure you remember the heels) from grinding away. Taps typically wear out or fall off after about six months.” (GQ)

3. Have your soles and/or heels replaced

They don’t last forever, so every year or two (or as needed) head over to a cobbler and have them replaced. Worn ones can cause back pain. Here’s a tip from GQ: Tell your cobbler to have them sewn on, not glued.

4. Buy a cedar shoe tree

Shoes will naturally develop moisture inside of them as your feet sweat. Your goal is to keep them as dry as possible.  Shoe trees are your tool to prevent moisture buildup. When you take your shoes off just slip these in within an hour or two and let the cedar wood soak it all up. It will help keep your shoes smelling better and make sure they retain their shape. If they are really wet, first throw some newspaper in them for an hour before inserting your shoe tree.

5. Try not to wear the same pair of shoes back-to-back

Your closet doesn’t need to be filled with dress shoes, but have some variety so you don’t need to wear the same shoes two days in a row. Have different colored lace-ups, loafers and suede kicks.

A cheap shoe can look nice to the untrained eye, but the quality and longevity will not be there. Spend the extra dime, follow this guide and you’ll have shoes that will last.


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Esther November 2, 2012 - 6:53 am

How does shoe taps looks and what xactly are they

Jeremy November 4, 2012 - 5:20 pm

A shoe taps are basically small protective pads for the bottom of your dress shoes. They come in plastic or metal (I prefer plastic – less noisy). Instead of letting your expensive shoes get worn down on the bottom, you can put these taps on and it will protect your shoe soles. If you Google “men’s dress shoe taps” there are some photos of what shoes look like with taps on them. They aren’t noticeable to the eye. You can simply bring them to a cobbler and ask to have taps put on. Not expensive.

sheriff sab September 11, 2012 - 12:51 pm


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