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Shoemakers and consumers have been plagued by the question, "How long will these shoes last?" for what seems like the longest time. But in all honesty, how is anyone supposed to give a definite answer? There are so many factors to consider and it's almost impossible to give even the slightest estimate. Although the answer is vague, we're here to provide you with a little knowledge on how to extend the life of your shoes through proper maintenance instead.
Before we proceed to understand what it means to have proper maintenance for your shoes, we will first touch on why it is almost impossible to determine how long your shoes can last.
A common misconception that people have of maintaining a pair of leather shoes is that by simply waxing/shining their shoes, it can extend the life of it. Well, make no mistake, it does help to maintain the colour/polish on the leather on the shoes, however, that's only 1 factor out of a million.
Although we can't point out 1 million questions and theories, here are some important factors that you can take note of:
1. How often do you wear your shoes? Do you rotate them?
2. What's the weather like in the country you're living in?
3. Do you use a shoe horn when wearing your shoes? How do you take your shoes off?
4. If your shoes get wet in the rain, do you use a shoe tree to help absorb the moisture?
5. Do you moisturise the leather on your shoes?
6. How do you walk?
Even if you are able to answer these questions, you can walk out the door one day and hit your shoes on something sharp, or something heavy falls on your shoe and there it goes. However, as mentioned, there are some methods that can help to extend the life of your shoes.
First things first would be to maintain the leather upper on your shoes. Just like your skin, the leather on your shoes is a natural material and would require much TLC by using a good leather conditioner. If you don't moisturize your shoes, it will get dry and may crack over time.
(Left) Saphir Renovateur (conditioner) (Right) Horse Hair Brush + Shoe Horn
Here's how you should condition the leather: Use a horsehair shoe brush to remove dust and debris from your shoes. Apply a small amount of shoe conditioner to a clean cloth and rub it into the leather. Work on each side of the shoe at a time then leave the shoes alone for ten minutes. As the conditioner dries, it will develop a mild haze. Once the ten minutes is over, use another clean cloth to buff away the haze.
It is also important to use a shoe horn when wearing your shoes to preserve the heel of your shoes.
(Left) Nano Waterproofing Spray (Right) Cedar Wood Shoe Trees
Secondly, it is important that your shoes do not get in contact with water. We understand that it is inevitable as sometimes you may get caught in the rain. However, although leather has some natural water resistance, it is also a permeable material and will absorb moisture readily. Depending on the type of leather used, it is usually quite difficult to remove water stains. Thus, if you happen to get caught in the rain, you should have a pair of wooden shoe trees inserted into your shoes to absorb all that moisture. Alternatively, you can also waterproof your shoes using a waterproofing spray!
If you don't wear your leather shoes very often, you can also leave the shoe trees in them to maintain the shape of the shoes over time. You can read our previous blog post to find out why it is important to have a pair of shoe trees!
Another important thing to note would be the sole of your shoes. Depending on the way you walk, different regions of your shoe may wear down faster than the other. If you're a hard walker, the heel and toe area will often wear down the fastest. Thus, in this case, you should take note of the way you walk to be able to properly maintain the sole of your shoes.
This would require a heel replacement instead
Apart from that, you should also take note of the heels as it wears down. Before the wooden portion of the sole peeks through, you should have it resoled otherwise if it has been worn down too much, you may need the entire heel to be replaced instead.
Saphir Beaute Du Cuir Shoe Wax
As mentioned in the first part of this post, it is also important to regularly wax/shine your shoes to maintain the colour/polish.
Lastly, if you wear these shoes on an everyday basis, it will break down even faster if it is not treated well. Thus, the most common suggestion would be to rotate your shoes. As you're putting your entire body weight onto your shoes every day, your shoes need time to 'rest' to allow the foam that makes up the midsole to decompress and bounce back into its original state which can, in turn, prolong the cushion of your shoes.
Always remember that all leather shoes require proper maintenance to extend its lifespan. What are the steps you take to ensure your shoes are properly taken care of? Share them with the community below!