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Getting the most out of leather footwear

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Every man should invest in one good pair of leather shoes at some point in his life. Quality leather footwear doesn’t just communicate a sense of style and refinement; it could even save you money in the long run. 

Cheap shoes tend to be made from low-grade leather and glued together with rubber.  They also tend to be easily scuffed and scarred from shrubs, trees and other small but sharp items encountered every day. Good leather, on the other hand, cost much more but with a bit of care and maintenance, they’ll last longer while making you look all that more dapper.

Use a shoe tree

Shoe tree
By kwanwoo
http://www.flickr.com/photos/kwanwoolee/4899274623

Shoe trees approximate the shape of a foot and are put into shoes to keep them in shape.

A shoe tree is a wooden device made to approximate the shape of a foot and placed inside shoes. They allow recently worn shoes to contract and dry out to an ideal shape. Use unvarnished shoe trees that can draw moisture such as sweat out of the leather. Unvarnished cedar shoe trees can also help to deodorise your shoes.

You don’t need to keep them in the shoes overnight. Just keep them in the shoes for an hour or two after use. This eliminates the need to have shoe trees for every pair of shoes that you own.

Care for the insoles

Insoles
By Grant Cochrane
http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/Clothing_apparel_and_g60-Thermal_Insoles_p142971.html
Wash the insoles to keep your shoes smelling fresh.

The insoles absorb our sweat and when not aired or cleaned properly, can lead to a rather smelly shoe. Try to use removable insoles, especially those with anti-bacterial properties. You can wash them in a washing machine with baking soda or white vinegar to remove any odours.

Alternatively, you can wash the insoles in washing machines like the Electrolux Time Manager range, whose high temperature vapour action wash cycle will clean, sanitise and refresh the insoles.

If your insoles can’t be removed, do take them to a cobbler to get them replaced.

Don’t let them stay wet

Wet shoes
By Josh Swannack
http://www.flickr.com/photos/alwayshere/650354098/
When your shoes get caught in the rain, don’t let them stay that way for long.

We’ve all been caught out in the rain with our best shoes. But don’t let them stay that way if you want them to last. Act fast when you get home. Stuff the shoes with crumpled newspaper and dry slowly. Do not use direct heat to dry them. Using direct heat could cause the leather to crack.

You can insert cedar shoe trees before the shoes are entirely dry to ensure they are evenly dried and keep their shape.

Polish them

Polished shoes
By brettanicus
http://www.flickr.com/photos/brettanicus/2503576584/
Don’t be afraid to really rub it in when it comes to polishing leather shoes.

Wipe your shoes with a damp cloth to remove superficial dirt and stains before polishing. There’s no need to slather on the polish. Just apply it with a circular rubbing motion. The more you rub, the better. Let the polish dry for about five minutes before buffing with a polishing brush.

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