Repair and Maintenence of Your Designer Shoes

Think twice before tossing those Jimmy Choos

Let's face it, you love your shoes. But maybe you haven't treated them right. You've worn them down and haven't given them the attention they deserve. Inevitably, a cuter, newer pair has come along, and you feel like tossing the old ones away. Well, the abuse has to stop! The shoes you purchase are an investment, and they need to be treated that way. Expensive footwear, if properly cared for, will last a lot longer than you realize. So fall in love all over again with the shoes you already have and get them repaired. And when your next love comes along, treat 'em right.

Stain and waterproof your shoes.
Applying a protective spray is the best way to shield your shoes from spills, rain, snow and mud. This can be done at a shoe repair shop, but it can also be done at home for a minimal cost. Leather and suede sprays and lotions should be applied before the first time shoes are worn and then on a regular basis afterward '- approximately every six to eight weeks. Meltonian Water and Suede Protector is one brand that comes highly recommended by shoe repair experts. The advantages of using a spray over a cream are that the spray takes less time to apply, and excessive use of a cream will result in a dull finish on the shoe surface. Another good option for weatherproofing your shoes is Kiwi Premier Shine. This is a water-resistant wax formula with a controlled-flow applicator. A telltale sign that you need to reapply your repellant is when water stops beading up on your shoe's surface. For these and other maintenance products, check out

Prevent wear and tear.
There's nothing more exciting than wearing a fabulous pair of new shoes for the first time. But there's one good reason to control yourself, and we assure you it's worth the wait: having rubber tips and heels applied. Yes, you may feel some separation anxiety leaving your brand-new shoes at a repair shop, but it's in your best interest to add the rubber soles before any wear and tear takes place. This will extend by months the time you have with your shoes before you need to bring them in again.

Repair shoes at a shop.
If you currently have damaged or worn-in shoes that you've written off as dead, think twice, because it might not be time to pull the plug. You can bring those babies back to life by having tips and rubber soles applied even after the shoes have been worn. Pamper your footwear the way you would pamper yourself. Bring them in for a quick polish or cleaning on a regular basis, and keep shoe trees in them when you're not wearing them, to help maintain their shape. Cedar shoe trees also absorb moisture, acid and salt, thereby reducing cracking and the deterioration of leather. Suede shoes should be brushed (on a clean and dry surface) up the nap using a rubber or stiff-bristled suede brush.

Broke your heel off while fighting for a taxi in the rain? No problem. Any reputable shoe repair shop can fix this in addition to many other woes. One of our biggest problems is that we often tear the leather on our heels when climbing stairs. The repair shop can fix that in no time, and your shoes will often look like new when you get them back. Repair experts can also buff out scratches and shine dull leather. In New York City, we love Shoe Service Plus (212-262-4823), which has never met a shoe it couldn't fix. Every fashionista in town goes there to get her designer shoes fixed. Ask at high-end shoe stores for good repair people in your city, or you can ship your shoes to Shoe Service Plus and they'll send them back once they're fixed. Think of it like sending your shoes on a spa vacation!

At-home repair tips.
If you're looking to save some money or you simply don't have the time to make a trip to the repair shop, here are some great home-maintenance tips:

  • Rinse off white salt marks with a 50/50 mixture of white distilled vinegar and water (make sure you apply this to dry shoes and boots only).
  • White shoe polish won't smear if you spray the shoe with hairspray after it's dry.
  • To keep canvas shoes clean longer, apply spray starch on the surface of a dry, clean shoe.
  • Use baby wipes to clean and shine patent leather shoes
  • Clean white leather shoes with non-gel toothpaste, rubbing alcohol or nail polish remover.
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