Believe it or not, your clothes don't take care of themselves. Wash a silk shirt incorrectly and you'll end up with a silk handkerchief. Leave your cashmere loose in the wardrobe over the summer and you may end up with jumpers that closer resemble Emmental than knitwear.
In short, take good care of your clothes and they'll last, meaning that you'll not only save money, you'll also be doing something for the environment…in a roundabout way. Thus, over the coming weeks we'll be providing you with a series of expert care guides to help you make the best of your entire wardrobe, from sweatshirts to slacks.
First up – with the assistance of James Fox of Crockett and Jones, Tim Little of Grenson and Paul McTigue of JM Weston – we tackle your shoes.
1 | Rotate your shoes
Leather shoes can often take a day to dry out fully whether from rain or natural perspiration. Where possible allow a day between wears and alternate with other shoes.
2 | Use shoetrees
Using wooden shoetrees in your shoes will help to absorb moisture and maintain the shape of the shoe as they dry out. They will also prevent the leather from creasing.
3 | Polish regularly
Leather uppers require regular treatment with a good-quality wax polish. This protects the leather and with practice can produce a high shine finish 'Glacage', which will help to prolong the life of the upper material and maintain its appearance. Your shoes should be clean and dry before the application of the wax.
4 | And polish properly
First brush the shoe clean with a soft brush. Next, remove the laces to ensure you get the same coating of polish on the tongue and the upper. Use a clean rag to apply some good polish sparingly across the surface of the upper. When both shoes are dry (this should take around 15 minutes, though ideally you should leave them over night), buff your shoes with a soft brush until they reach your desired level of luster. For some extra shine spray a fine layer of water over the first layer of polish and buff with a soft cloth.
5 | But know when to use shoe cream
Though you can't polish waxed leather shoes, you can maintain them using specialised creams. Wax-finished or waterproof leather uppers should be treated with dubbin or a 'waxed leather cream' to condition, soften and protect the leather
6 | Protect your suedes
Suede and Nubuck uppers can be treated using a suede protector spray. A rubber suede brush can help to lift any dirt and debris; however, stubborn stains may necessitate treatment with a suede shampoo. Suede can often be revived using steam from the kettle and gently cleaning with a rubber suede brush. Ensure you dry suede slowly and naturally and not with a direct heat source.
7 | Buy some galoshes
It might sound silly, but the best way to protect your shoes in inclement weather is with a pair of rubber galoshes. Look to Norwegian brand Swims for the best. Opt for a dark colour that matches the shade of your shoes – that is unless you want to look like Big Bird.
8 | Always use a shoehorn
If you're in a rush it can be tempting to just jam your foot into your shoe without the aid of a shoehorn. If you damage the counter (the back of the shoe), the structure will be compromised and your shoe will no longer provide your foot with necessary support. They'll also look really scruffy.