Style Guide: Caring For Your Dress Shoes - 5 Simple Ways To Start Now

"Take care of your shoes like they take care of you"

Haste Men's Burgundy Double Monk Strap Shoes - 51 Label

Your shoes are an essential part of your outfit and say a lot about your unique style. That is why it’s a great idea to invest in quality dress shoes since they are more durable and can keep you looking stylish all year round.

However, it isn’t enough to just invest in good shoes. To get the most out of them for longer, you should know how to take good care of them. Caring for your shoes ensures that they remain in good shape in colour, shape and look for much longer. It also keeps your shoes looking as good as new even after several years of use.

Below are five essential tips for caring for your dress shoes.

#1 Use shoe trees

Haste Chocolate Brown Double Monk Strap Shoes with Cedar Wood Shoe Trees

A pair of shoe trees are an invaluable asset to any shoe collection. Shoe trees help to ensure your shoes remain in the correct form and shape. They also prevent the leather from sinking in as well as help to keep your shoes smelling fresh.

We recommend using shoe trees made from cedar wood that can help to absorb moisture from shoes worn and also it will inject a fresh cedar smell after a night of stuffing them within your shoes. 

For the best results, use them within the first two hours of taking off your shoes. Plastic or polished shoe trees can be used for other shoes that have not been worn in the last 24 hours as they do not properly absorb moisture.

It is preferable to get Shoe trees with a split-toe design. The split-toe design allows for easy adjustability to fit the various widths of your shoes. 

#2 Air Out your shoes

Borins Men's Chocolate Brown Semi Brogue Oxford shoes with Lorens Men's Burgundy Penny Loafers - 51 Label

Sometimes, the weather could be unpredictable. However, if you have had to walk in the rain or snow in your dress shoes, it is best to let them dry in the sun rather than use a blow dryer or heater. The reason for this is that intense heat could damage the leather of your shoes creating cracks or ugly lines that could completely ruin them.

Air drying your shoes also prevents unpleasant odors, especially if you tend to sweat on your soles. It’s also worth mentioning that you should avoid leaving your shoes out in the cold as this may cause them to absorb moisture and cause harm to them.

Remember to keep your shoe trees in when air drying your shoes.

#3 Polish Your Shoes Properly (Think: ‘M-C-S’!)

Cleaning Dress Shoes With Horsehair Shoe Brush - 51 Label

Investing in a good tin of polish is imperative to care for your dress shoes. The best time to polish your shoes is at least two days before you need to use them. This allows the shoes to absorb the polish adequately and give off a better shine.

To polish your shoes properly, you will need a few materials such as a good brush (preferably one with horsehair bristles), a piece of lint-free cloth and, of course, shoe polish (We recommend Saphir products, due to its long-standing heritage and track record in producing quality shoe polish products since 1920).

Wipe off any dust particles that may have clung to the shoes before you start to polish them.

There are three steps (a.k.a. M-C-S) you should follow to get the best out of your polish.

  • Moisturizing: Moisturize your shoes using a leather conditioner or lotion. The conditioner or lotion will help to restore the look and feel of your shoes, preventing them from looking dull or cracked. You should apply your conditioner with a soft piece of cloth and rub in a circular motion. Then allow them to dry for about 10 -15 minutes.
  • Coloring: Don’t get hung up on the term – coloring just involves applying polish on your shoes. Apply a thin layer of polish using a piece of cloth and rub it in a circular motion. Avoid using a thick layer of polish as this will ultimately reduce the shine on your shoes. Be careful to use the correct color for your shoes, as they tend to take on the color of the polish over time. Alternatively, you can use a special shoe shine wax that’s meant for shoe shining and glossing to keep your shoes looking fresh and new!
  • Shining: Use a piece of soft, dry cloth to buff your shoes. Alternatively, you can use a horsehair brush but be sure to apply gentle pressure. Focus on the heel and toes to ensure they bring out the best shine. You can also use the spit-shine method. Here, you spritz a little quantity of water to the shoes and then apply a second layer of polish with the cloth, rubbing both water and polish together.

#4 Clean the insides of your shoes

Borins Men's Black Semi Brogue Oxford Shoes - 51 Label

It’s a good idea to regularly clean the insides of your shoes to prevent unpleasant odors or molds.

  • One way to do this is using alcohol swabs. Lightly run them over the inner surfaces of your shoes and allow them to dry.
  • You can also use a little quantity of tea tree oil which is known to have antifungal properties. It will also guarantee that your shoes are always smelling fresh. As an alternative, you can use a mild disinfectant spray on the inside of your shoes.
  • Another way to prevent odors is to use a shoe deodorizer. You should use them at least 12 hours before you wear your shoes. Also, if you use insoles, ensure that you clean them at least once or twice a week using a mild detergent and warm water.

#5 Store your shoes properly

Travel Dust Bags and Shoe Horn - 51 Label

Proper storage between wears is an important key in making your shoes last longer.

  • Store your shoes in a shoebox or breathable dust bags in dust and moisture-free areas to prevent ordours and moulds
  • Put shoe trees in your shoes to prevent them from sagging or losing shape.

Bonus Tip

  • Find a reliable cobbler in the event that your shoes may need to be re-soled. A good cobbler will take good care of your shoes ensuring that they remain in tip-top shape.
  • You should also consider buying more shoe pairs, as alternating between them gives each pair enough time to dry and return to their original shape. This generally prolongs the lifespan of each pair of shoes compared to wearing a few pairs for a longer period.

In Conclusion

Following the above tips, you can be sure that your dress shoes will not only look better but also serve you for much longer. Taking good care of your dress shoes ensures that they remain in great condition throughout the year. 

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