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Footwear care guide.

How to maintain your footwear and prolong its life.

Once you have your new footwear, it’s important to understand how to take care of them. If you do not take at least a few precautions, then it is likely that you will end up running into problems that will affect your foot health. You may even have to replace your footwear altogether.

It should be noted that there are many guides available that will inform you of specific care instructions. These are found with certain brands who have their own methods, based on the materials that are used to construct the footwear. You should follow these if they are available. Otherwise, we have summed up the most common mistakes that people make, and how to avoid them.

Wearing your footwear.

Young beautiful woman tries on mustard shoes with shoehorn.

Shoehorns.

When putting on your footwear, use a shoehorn to help the foot glide in without struggling. This not only makes your life easier, but it prevents your foot from damaging the back of the footwear. You will want to loosen any fastenings too, until the point where it’s the easiest to put your foot in.

Moisture.

Introducing moisture to the inside of your footwear encourages the growth of bacteria and mould. There are several ways this can happen. Most commonly however, is during warmer weather periods, when your feet release water naturally in response to the heat.

Also, during these periods, those of us who like swimming activities increase this risk when we do not dry our feet properly. If your footwear does become wet, we recommend that you fully open them — removing any laces in the process — take out any additional soles and the main sole, and then letting the footwear dry naturally. This can take anywhere between 24-72 hours, depending on the indoor temperature.

Socks.

The type of socks that you use can also affect your footwear. Simple fabrics and fitting types can be affordable, but they can also make your feet prone to sweating. In turn, and without the proper attention, this leads to bacteria.

A simple change to performance socks, such as silver-lined socks, can be beneficial during all seasons. The lining can trap heat during the winter, and keep your feet at body temperature during the summer. Performance socks can especially be good for sensitive skin types, as irritation tends to cause dry skin or hard skin. Having these issues and wearing your footwear for prolonged periods, means that you are not giving your feet the proper care that they need. At this point, even if your footwear is brand new, the condition of your feet will make you struggle with them all the more. The knock-on effect is that the struggle e.g. constantly adjusting and removing your footwear, distorts the shape.

Storing your footwear.

Airflow.

If you have certain footwear that is considered seasonal or occasional, you may want to think again before packing it away. Our footwear needs air, so wrapping it in bubble wrap for example, will prevent the materials from gaining essential airflow.

Day-to-day maintenance.

For those of us who are wearing our footwear on a daily basis, they should ideally be cleaned first when taken off. After this, it’s best to insert a shoe tree inside to keep the shape intact as much as possible.

If there’s enough space, you can also insert a small dehumidifier bag to remove moisture. Then, store your footwear in a well-ventilated area. A good weekly habit would be to spray the inside with deodorising spray, in order to remove any unwanted bacteria — especially during those warmer seasons.

A shoe rack with various boots on top.

Cleaning your footwear.

A man cleaning a shoe with a brush. Wax and other cleaning equipment around the scene.

Washing machine.

As mentioned earlier, footwear brands have different manufacturing methods, as well as various material preferences. For this reason, there may be delicate parts of your footwear that are not meant to be submerged completely in water. The washing machine is therefore a bad practice in our opinion, even on a gentle cycle. What’s more is that if your shoes do come out without breaking apart, the shape may become distorted, which will have a direct impact on your feet.

General cleaning methods.

For the majority of footwear, the safer way to clean them is to first brush away the loose dirt particles with a horsehair brush. Be gentle when doing so, and for more delicate materials i.e. suede, avoid brushing in a circular motion. When you are left with just the dried-on stains, get a damp cloth and wipe them. You can use an anti-bacterial solution here, but be advised that it must not be one that taints or reacts to the materials and colours.

Drying.

If you want to keep the shape of your shoes, drying near heat sources will give you an undesired outcome. Again, this is due to the materials that are used to manufacture our footwear. Some of them can be damaged when exposed to high temperatures.

After cleaning.

Always wait until they are completely dry before further care such as polishing. You can wipe them over with a dry cloth for reassurance. Using polish will help to maintain the moisture levels and appearance of footwear, preventing cracking and creasing. However, this mainly applies to leather shoes.

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If you can’t find what you’re looking for, please give us a call on 01707 95 3313.

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