By Une Femme, Already Pretty Contributor
The Red Shoes Of Happiness: Julianne Hough for Sole Society
So you’ve fallen in love. Just looking at them makes your heart beat a little faster. They’re PERFECT: the heel is the right height, the toes don’t pinch, and you KNOW they’ll make every outfit look superb. You’ve made the commitment and plunked down your hard-earned cash, and brought them home to meet the family. Happily Ever After?
Not so fast, Cinderella. Like any relationship, this one will require some work and periodic attention to keep romance alive. Shoes can be quite an investment, and with just a bit of preventative care and ongoing maintenance, you can have many happy years together.
First things first
See this? The guy or gal behind this sign is your shoes’ new Best Friend.
New shoes before and after adding rubber half-soles and heel tips.
Before you wear those shoes out for the first time, flip them over and take a look at the bottoms. Is the sole leather or a smooth synthetic? If so, get them to your local cobbler and ask for a rubber half sole. This will not only give you better traction on slick or wet surfaces, but will extend the life of your shoes exponentially. If shoes have rubber or Vibram soles, this probably isn’t necessary, but if you’re unsure of the material look for a diagram with images like this either on a sticker on or in the shoe, or on the shoe box.
Check out the heel or heel tip. Is it plastic? (If it’s hard and “clicky” it probably is. According to my cobbler, even the priciest shoes usually have plastic heels/tips these days.) Ask the cobbler to replace it with a rubber heel or tip. Again, this will improve traction and extend the wear of the shoe. Plastic heel tips can wear down quickly, and once that happens you risk damaging the body of the heel, which can be difficult and more expensive to repair.
It’s an additional investment, yes, but one that can pay off in years of wear.
There are also some pre-wear steps you can take at home to give your footwear a leg up (haha) on the elements.
Suede can be particularly susceptible to water spotting and staining. None of my suede shoes leave the house before I’ve treated with a suede protector. Even smooth leather (especially lighter colors) can get stained and water spotted, and I swear by Apple Brand Garde’ Rain & Stain Repellent (works beautifully on leather handbags too). With any spray product, be sure you work outside or in a WELL-ventilated area. Two light coats (wait 30 minutes in between) are better than one heavy coat. And let the shoes dry overnight after treatment.
Depending on your closet space, you may want to either save your shoe boxes or invest in some clear storage boxes like these. Keeping household dust and dirt off shoes also helps keep them looking spiffy. Save any acid-free tissue that’s used to stuff new shoes and re-stuff when not in use; it will help restore and preserve the shape. Shoe trees are the gold standard, but are pricey.
But I’m beginning to get ahead of myself…next time I’ll share some shoe maintenance and care tips for those gently loved “soles” (and uppers).
Do you have any tips for caring for new shoes?
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Already Pretty contributor Une Femme is fifty-six, married to the same wonderful monsieur since 1995, the mother of a special-needs teenager and two hooligan dogs, a full-time administrative professional, a coffee-holic, Paris-obsessed, native Californian, and a petite and curvy femme d’un certain age. She believes that personal style is an essential form of self-expression, and started her blog, Une femme d’un certain âge, in 2007 hoping to start a conversation about style for women over 50.