Not only are shoes often the priciest pieces of clobber that we wear on a daily basis, but they're also the items that we treat with the least respect, care and attention.
And we suffer for it, too - splashing out time and time again to replace shoes that we've somehow worn down to a torn, floppy-soled state of disrepair.
How do we get off this money-chomping merry-go-round, once and for all? Simple: by looking after our shoes properly. That's where the style dons at Thread come in, to deliver some top tips to keeping your eclectic shoe-rack in good nick…
1 | Invest in some kit
As cheap and easy as a quick rollover in the washing machine might be, you've got to be a little kinder to your shoes if you want them back to their best.
"Get yourself a shoe cleaning kit," suggests stylist Sam Monoghan. "We recommend Jason Markk's range, as it makes a dirty job way easier. It will clean any leather shoes, from trainers to brogues."
2 | But don't bankrupt yourself
Don't go spritzing the good stuff around willy-nilly, otherwise you won't be able to afford shoes in the first place.
"If your shoes are only suffering a bit of surface dirt and need a quick clean, baby wipes are great for getting grime off fast," says Sam. "If you make this a fairly regular process, you'll rarely have to give your shoes a deep clean."
3 | Understand your suede
You need a pair of smart suedes in your life, but do you really need the hassle they inevitably bring?
Stylist Shaunie thinks so, but only if you're willing to work at the relationship. "Suede can be especially tricky, as its textured grain can show wear more obviously than other leather does."
"Invest in a suede brush and use it regularly, as this will remove dust (which can make suede look old and tired) and even out the texture, making your shoes look good as new. It also helps with watermarks if you happen to get the suede wet."
We'd also suggest investing in a protect spray for rainy days – something cheap and cheerful like crep protect will do the job.
4 | Never surrender to the weather
There's nothing you can do to fully protect your shoes from an unexpected rainstorm, but the standard of you aftercare is entirely down to you.
As soon as you get in-doors, pad the shoes dry (do not – repeat: DO NOT – aim a hair dryer at then. The leather might crack, and then you've got a whole different problem to deal with) and stuff the shoe with newspaper to soak up the moisture, before storing in a cool area.
5 | Maintain some integrity
As a result of late night supermarket dinner dashes, where you stomp down the back ends of your trainers in a lazy rush, every shoe you own will inevitably transform into a Frankenstein slipper.
That's where Shaunie comes in: "Shoehorns will help keep any shoes - even trainers - box fresh for longer by preserving the shape and structure of the heel."
"It's especially important to use one if your shoes are a little on the small side or very stiff, as it will also keep the main part of the shoe from stretching out and looking knackered."
6 | Follow the colour code
Coloured leather is a shoe rack staple, but it can be a little trickier to take care of than with more classic shades.
"If you own unusually coloured leather shoes and can't find the exact colour polish, go for a clear one," advises stylist Kasia.
"It's also a good budget-saving option as it can be used on the more standard black, grey, brown styles."
7 | Don't leave it too late
According to Sam, you can't wait until your shoes are worn and torn before taking action.
"Looking after your shoes should start when they're still box fresh. If you make it a point to clean and care for them from day one, they'll look great and last for much longer."