Monday, August 17, 2015

Shoe Care Tips and How to Store Your Shoes

I just made a major purchase. I had been thinking about them for years (literally). I had a favorite Talbots pair of beige and black cap toe flats that lasted quite a few years. I wore them so much, I wore a hole into the leather toe area... not because they were poor quality (they were really nice), but because I wore them that much. 

I went in search for a new pair (sadly Talbots no longer makes that style). I found a gorgeous pair for under $150. They have a nice leather upper and the colors are pretty spot on. But then, I decided I would jump into the deep end and get the 'be all and end all' of a classic black and beige cap toe flat: Chanel. 

First, I stalked The Real Real to see if a never worn pair in my size would pop up. If you are not familiar with The Real Real, it's basically a very highly curated online consignment store. The items are very gently used or brand new. Several pairs of Chanel ballerines would pop up in my size (hint: they run small, I went up an entire size) every few weeks (you can sign up for e-mail alerts on certain items), but they were either too used for my liking or they were not the neutral color combo I was looking for. Then, I took to eBay. I would come across a pair that were brand new in box, but never had the patience to bid. So hence, I just pulled the trigger and bought my first pair (queue the monkey emoji covering his eyes). Shop some of my favorite cap-toe ballet flats (that are a fraction of the price of Chanel):

I haven't worn them yet as I am getting a heel saver put on as well as getting a rubber sole added to the bottom to protect them, which got me thinking, I should share some of my shoe storage and preservation tips! 
  • Store shoes in the dark. Sunlight fades colors and dries out leather, so you want to make sure they are stored where they are not always exposed to sunlight (same goes for handbags). I know your prettiest shoes look great on your bookshelf, but you might want to rethink it to keep them in their best shape!
  • Stuff the shoes/toes to keep their shape. I usually use balled up running socks or tissue paper but shoe trees are actually made for this purpose. My dad uses shoe trees in all of his shoes as I think this is more of a men's shoe thing, but I ordered a pair for my Chanel flats because the benefit from the shoe trees is that they are made from cedar and will keep the moisture and possible smell from staying in the shoe. For tissue paper, I usually just save the tissue paper in shopping bags from a day of shopping! For boots, they make shoe trees, but I used rolled up magazines. I've also seen cut up foam pool noodles for this use (great idea!). 
  • Make friends with your cobbler. Some cobblers are awesome, some are not, so it's good to make sure you find a great one. There is a great one a few blocks away from me that saves my handbags, shoes, and other leather goods when something happens. Make sure you keep an eye on the taps of your heels before the metal starts to show and take them in to have replaced. For my Chanel shoes, I am having heel savers added to the heels. I'm not really sure what they're made of, I think either plastic or rubber, but they go on the bottom of the heel and are a crescent shape that saves the heel from wearing down. My shoemaker also replaces the soles of my worn down shoes. For some shoes, it makes more sense to replace the shoe entirely, because this can get costly. For pricey shoes, this makes a lot more sense, though. For the Chanel pair, I had a rubberized sole added immediately to prevent the wear on the leather sole (I'm super rough on shoes). 
  • Get your leather conditioned. Sweat, wear and tear, and extreme temps make the leather dry and more prone to wrinkles and cracks. It's similar to why you should have your Barbour waxed each season. You can do this yourself or you can take it to a shoemaker to do it. 
  • Don't let your friends borrow. That's not to say never let them borrow anything, but your friend that's even just a half size bigger than you? Politely say no. A half size bigger can even make a difference after one wear. They will be reshaped and the leather will be stretched and there is no going back after that.  
  • Don't commute in your nice shoes. If you are in a city or have a long walk to work or school, try buying a lesser priced shoe to commute wherever you are going. In the summer, I wear my Jacks to walk to work and in the winter, if snow is on the ground, I'll usually reach for my riding boots or L.L. Bean Boots. I hate sneakers with work clothes (circa 1984), but I do see a lot of it. It's smart for not only saving your shoes, but so much more comfortable. The rubber sole of a sneaker lasts so long, which is why it makes sense. I'm just not that sensible. Limiting the amount your shoes touch rough, uneven concrete will make them last so much longer. 
  • Wear weather appropriate shoes. This sounds like common sense right? I cannot tell you how many times I've been caught in rain with suede shoes. That's a big no no. Having rain skimmers stored at your office can be a big help as well as rain boots on hand. That way, you'll always be prepared. 
  • Use inserts. It sounds like something for 'old people', but I have a super high arch which makes wearing most shoes, even 'comfortable' ones uncomfortable for me. I found two styles of shoes by Ferragamo: The Vara and Varina that don't hurt me at all. Those are literally the only shoes my feet actually feel comfortable in (Varas are more comfortable than Varinas), which is what justifies my three pairs. Don't even get me started with heels. I've only ever found one pair of high heels that I actually like to wear. Every other pair hurts my foot after about an hour or two. I also think that if you're going to buy a pair of shoes, you should wear them! You're not going to wear a shoe if it is uncomfortable. I really like these clear inserts. They're almost unnoticeable and make heels wearable and flats feel like slippers. I also have these shearling inserts that I bought a few years ago to wear with my Bean Boots (order now while they are in stock before they're on backorder) and other boots. They're for the absolute dead of winter because they keep my feet SO warm but also super comfortable trekking in the snow. 
Do you have any tips for keeping shoes in tip-top shape? Have a fabulous day!


Unknown said...

I saw that you wrote that most heels are very uncomfortable for you. I recently bought a pair from Clarks that are SUPER comfy (comfiest pair of shoes I own, actually), and they are very classic in style. I believe they are called the Delsie pump, and are about $120. Have a lovely day!

Unknown said...

These are such great tips! My grandma gave me a pair of the Chanel flats last summer, they're the brown ones and she had only worn them a few times. Bless the fact that we have the same size feet and she has expensive taste and the money to feed her habits!

Unknown said...

Does HE love nice shoes as much as you do? Perfect gift idea:

Karen said...

Sray all shoes with waterproofing!

Ashley said...

I just bought a pair of Chanel ballet flats (the same ones as you, actually) but have been afraid to wear them for fear I'd scuff them up! Did you just get the rubber on the heel or the entire shoe? I may have to do that, as well.


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