So you’ve saved up money, got yourself a good pair of dress shoes, and have fallen in love with them. Congratulations on making the leap. Deciding to spend money on a quality product can be intimidating but oh so satisfying. Proper care can add 50% life to your shoes, so let’s discuss:
• Rotation: You should have a good rotation of dress shoes if you wear dress shoes every day. You shouldn’t wear the same shoe more than twice/week. That’s why you have at least two black dress shoes and two brown dress shoes in your rotation. I like to go with the same or similar styles so that I don’t prefer one over the other depending on the suit I wear. However, going out and buying 4 at $350 a pop is a little much, so do it slowly. Buy one every 3 to 4 months. A good quality shoe will allow for a little over-wear at the beginning of its life. If you have a rotation of 4-5, you may not have to buy dress shoes again for 35+years (provided you are resoling and using shoe trees).
• Shoe trees: For god’s sake, buy shoe trees and USE THEM. They are the cedar things that the salesman is pushing to get his extra item in there. But they will keep the shape of your shoe and absorb all that sweat you put into them throughout the day. On an average (somewhat active) day feet can sweat ½ a pint or more. That sweat will eat away at your leather insoles, and break down the midsoles as well. They help with odor as well.
• Shoe shine: Those instant shine sponges? DON’T USE THEM!!! They have harmful chemicals that will break down the leather and cause cracking. Wax is okay to use every third time your shoes are shined, but don’t overuse that either. What you want is shoe cream – clean your shoe with a soap designed for your finish of shoe, and then use shoe cream to polish. It conditions and shines your shoes, and isn’t bad for the leather.
• Replace your heels: Heavy walkers like me will wear down the heel of a dress shoe far faster than the sole. You can have heel taps put on the shoes for $5. If you don’t want the heel tap, replace that heel before you wear through the stacked leather back there. It can be reconstructed, but a beautifully polished shoe will look horrible if you have a worn the heel down too far.