Photography by Chelsea Larsson
I once stumbled upon a post in r/malefashionadvice where someone was upset that the soles of his Wolverine 1000 Mile boots wore out in only four months. When asked how often he wore them, he replied six days a week with an average walking distance of a mile a day. My favorite comment in the thread?
“Even Ferraris need an oil change.”
Shoes, like automobiles, watches, chef knives, and other goods you would invest money in, need proper care and servicing to make them last. I often get asked by friends who invest in their first pair of quality shoes, “What can I do to keep them nice?”
Here are three tips:
Rotating your shoes so you don’t wear the same pair two days in a row is the easiest thing you can do to take care of your shoes. Shoes are hardwearing and carry you throughout the day and wearing the same pair every single day means you'll wear them out that much faster. They also absorb your feet’s moisture and if you’re feet get as sweat as mine (and sorry to break the mystique, but mine get SWEATY), you’ll want to give them a day to rest and dry out. Proper storage includes buying some cedar shoe trees to not only maintain the shape of your shoes, but also absorb the moisture.
CONDITION AND POLISH
Not only do they need to rest, but shoes also need proper maintenance. At the least, shoes need to be conditioned often, which helps keep the leather supple and prevent it from drying out and cracking. Polishing with cream and wax will help maintain the color and provide a protective barrier from dirt and foul weather.
If you’re strapped for time or the idea of polishing your own shoes truly repels you, you can always drop them off somewhere. If you live in the Bay Area, I can’t recommend A Shine & Co. enough.
Personally, I enjoy shining my own shoes and find it fun to just stick back, throw on some Netflix, and then polish. Here's a few guides on shoe polishing that I've found incredibly useful:
I’ve noticed that I wear through the heel of my shoes incredibly quick, which is why I always add heel and toe taps to all my shoes. It's a cheap investment that slows down the wear so you don't have to get your shoes reheeled and resoled as quickly. Any cobbler can do this for you for a couple of bucks, but it's more cost-effective to buy a bag of them from Amazon or eBay and do it yourself. It's pretty simple and only requires a hammer and some pliers.
While following these three tips will keep your shoes in great condition, inevitably, your soles and heels will eventually wear out and you'll have to get them replaced. Most high end shoe manufacturers will have their own recrafting programs where you can send your shoes in to get repaired, but for those that don't have one, B. Nelson Shoe Repair is one of the best in the States and accepts mail orders.
Good shoes are a worthy investment. Just make sure to take care of them and they'll take care of you for years to come.