How To Care For Your Shoes

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Fancy shoes on several shelves
Photo: Done and Done Home

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If you read our post last week, then you’ll know we shared some amazing shoe storage options. This week, we want to share some tips for caring for all those shoes. Our philosophy of Owning Well® advocates buying the very best products you can afford and then caring for them so they last as long as possible.

Whether it’s your favorite leather boots, your once-in-a-lifetime-purchase high heels or those trendy sneakers, we have some tips to prolong their life.

Leather Shoes and Boots

According to Popular Mechanics, there are four key ways to make leather shoes last forever. Clean with a diluted solution of Woolite and a medium bristle brush and let dry completely. Then condition with a product specifically made for leather shoes, such as Griffin Premium Leather Shoe Conditioner.

Next, make sure you waterproof your shoes every three to six months and lastly, store them properly. Consider shoe trees to help maintain their shape and then place them in cloth shoe bags to keep them free from dust. Following these steps will ensure you extend the life of those leather beauties!

fancy high heel shoes in a closet
Photo: Done and Done Home

High Heels

High heels can be a true statement piece and often have a price tag to match. A few simple practices can save your shoes from damage and everyday wear and tear and keep them in great shape for years to come.

Make sure you inspect your shoes after every wear. Any lingering dirt, debris or salt can cause severe damage and they need to cleaned immediately. Consider using heel stoppers, particularly if you are attending an event that will be held outdoors. They’ll prevent your heels from sinking into grass, gravel and dirt and will help keep them clean and scratch free. And lastly, never drive in your heels. The pressure can cause stress and ruin the integrity of the shoe causing the heel to break.


Bringing home a pair of spanking new kicks is one of life’s great pleasures (What can we say? We’re easily entertained!) So making them last is something we take pride in. And it all starts before you ever put them on your feet. We know it’s hard, but you need to treat your new shoes before you take them for a spin.

For canvas sneakers, a fabric and waterproof spray (such as Scotchgard) will protect your shoes from water damage and everyday stains. Leather and suede shoes will need a protectant similar to the one mentioned above for leather boots.

Caring for your new gym shoes isn’t just about the outside. Don’t forget the inside and how important it is to keep them smelling fresh. Always wear socks (non-negotiable) and when you’re not wearing them, put a dryer sheet in each shoe to absorb odors and moisture.

Most importantly, never ever put your sneakers in the washing machine (unless it is brand specifically designed to be washed like Freebird). The structural integrity of sneakers can be damaged by the motion of a wash cycle and will shorten the life of your shoes.

high heels and sneakers placed in a shoe cabinet
Photo: Done and Done Home

The Number One Tip

Well made, high end shoes are truly an investment and will last for years if you follow the tips we’ve shared. But no matter how careful and conscientious you are, unexpected things can happen. So our biggest piece of advice is to find a cobbler. It may seem like an antiquated profession, but cobblers still exist and they can make repairs to shoes you might otherwise have to throw in the trash. If you can’t find a local shop, is an excellent online resource.