How to make your shoes and boots last longer

·3-min read
how to make your shoes last longer
How to make your shoes last longerJohn Lawson - Getty Images

It's a sad day when your favourite shoes finally become unwearable. Each year, we throw away over 300 million pairs of shoes in the UK*. While retailers like Shuh have schemes that reward you for recycling shoes (they don't have to be from one of their stores) with £5 off your next pair, there are ways to save your favourite footwear before it comes to that.

We asked our experts how you can keep your shoes looking great for longer — here's what they said.

Protect suede

Before wearing any suede shoes or boots, protect them with a suede protector such as Liquiproof Protector Spray, which also works on leather shoes. As an added bonus, it can also be used on suede and leather handbags and clothing.

If you want to keep suede looking great, it's important to invest in a good suede brush, which will allow you to clean any mud or marks from the material. Avoid wearing your favourite suede shoes if it’s raining, though!

If your suede shoes get seriously stained, you can try using a weak solution of washing up liquid and an old toothbrush to clean marks away, before allowing the shoes to dry naturally. We recommend testing on an inconspicuous area first.

how to make your shoes last longer
Photo by Rafa Elias - Getty Images

Use a decent polish

Polishing leather shoes often will keep them looking as good as new. Go for a neutral polish so that it can be used on all your shoes, no matter the colour.

If your shoe polish stains laminate flooring, don't panic! This can be removed with nail polish remover containing acetone, or other mild solvents. WD-40 also works well at removing shoe polish stains.

Lose the sponge

The experts at the GHI say that sponges aren’t the best way to clean shoes – you're better off using a good-quality brush. Having a variety of brushes (rough and soft) will help you care for lots of different shoes.

For suede shoes, brush in the direction of the natural grain. This will help the suede keep its smooth appearance.

how to make your shoes last longer
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Dry out wet shoes

But never on the radiator! Do it as soon as possible by stuffing them with newspaper or using a shoe horse, and then store them like this to help keep their shape.

You should never keep leather shoes near direct heat, which can cause them to dry and crack. If you have any really precious shoes, keep them in their box or in a shoe bag so they don’t discolour or get damaged.

GHI Tip: For trainers, open out the trainers’ tongues and allow them to dry naturally. You should also remove the laces and wash and dry these separately.

Add a rubber sole

Make your shoes and boots last longer by asking your local cobbler to add a rubber sole to the leather sole. This should make the shoes last longer and improve the grip: especially in rainy weather.

*Dover District Council

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