Reader Maegan e-mailed me this question:
My budget is pretty tight, so I get a lot of my basic footwear (flats, pumps, boots and sandals) from Target, Payless, and Famous Footwear. I usually wear my shoes until I wear them out and they’re practically rags, ESPECIALLY my flats. Any hints on how best to maintain my cute but not quite high quality shoes so I can keep them looking fabulous longer?
This is a GREAT question, albeit a bit of a tough one. In my experience, two main causes of damage in inexpensive shoes are water and overuse. So for starters:
Consider a pair of wellies
Your rain boots or shoes can be as cheap as you’d like since they won’t get loads of wear but will instead be transitional shoes. Don’t wear your dressy shoes when it’s raining. Slip on your wellies until you’re inside for the day, then swap in flats, pumps, or boots.
This could be a great style challenge, too! If you’ve got pairs that feel like favorites, try to wear them in rotation with your other pairs. Even if you’ve only got three pairs of shoes appropriate to the season, making sure that each pair gets some wear each week will keep them ALL from getting worn out as quickly.
You could also try:
Adding stick-on soles
Inexpensive shoes often show wear on their soles, so adding non-skid pads might help. It might not if your shoes wear somewhere other than the ball-of-foot area … but it’s worth a try! Reinforcing thin soles in any way might help with longevity. Try these or anything similar.
Since these shoes can also get nicked and scraped, it can help to have a few colored Sharpie permanent markers on-hand for repairs. A nicked red shoe with a long white scratch will look better if you can dab some matching red ink into the damaged area. Emphasis on “better,” as this is far from foolproof! But it can work in a pinch. Since the majority of inexpensive shoes are not made from real leather, ink may actually work better than shoe polish.
And, of course, do your best to keep your shoes clean and dry. If they get mucked up, wipe them down at the end of the day before stashing them in the closet. This includes the soles – get rid of any grass, mud, or grit that’s stuck to your shoe bottoms. If the rainboots thing won’t work and your dressier shoes get soggy, make sure to dry them out thoroughly before wearing again.
What else would you suggest for Maegan? How do you keep your inexpensive shoes in good shape? Other tips to share?
Image courtesy Target.
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