allen edmonds black shoe polish box

We would like to present our Guide To Shoe Care. In this guide, we’ll go over storage, repairs, caring for suede and white shoes, and tips on polishing shoes. Click any of the following links to be directed to the relevant page:

Further down the page, we also share our top three tricks to double your shoes’ lifespan.

We’ll be the first to admit that buying new shoes is a lot of fun. There’s something to be said for having a strong footwear collection from a quantity standpoint, and if you buy good-quality shoes, they’ll last you an incredibly long time.

That is, of course, if you care for your shoes properly and perform routine maintenance and repair.

Top 3 Shoe Maintenance Tricks To Double Your Shoes’ Lifespan

shoe cream spray and brush

For those readers who prefer to get right to the point, here are our top three tips to make your shoes last longer than you ever thought they could:

  1. allen edmonds shoe treesKeep shoe trees in your shoes when they’re not on your feet. Shoe trees, when made from cedar or alderwood, are an invaluable tool to make your shoes last longer. These woods have moisture wicking properties, and your feet generate a lot of moisture on any given day. If left to dry on its own, this moisture will ruin your shoes. Shoe trees literally save their life.
  2. Polish shoes regularly. You can do this yourself or outsource the labor if you choose, but make sure you do it often enough that your shoes don’t start looking tired. Remember, most shoes are just skin, and like your skin, it has to be maintained regularly.
  3. Have a good cobbler on speed dial. Okay, we know speed dial isn’t really a thing anymore, but you catch our drift. Even with the utmost maintenance, shoes will need professional repairs. Your local cobbler can breathe new life into shoes that you’ve run into the ground, generally for a fraction of the cost of a replacement pair of shoes.

How Long Should Shoes Last?

Depending on the factors detailed below, shoes can last anywhere from one year to several decades.

One question we often hear is “How long should my shoes last me?” or some variant thereof. The answer depends on a myriad of factors, specifically the method by which the shoe is constructed, the materials used, frequency and conditions of wear, and care.

The shoe’s construction and materials play a huge role in its lifespan. Goodyear welted shoes, for example, are made with the intent of being resoled over and over again. Their lifespans are exponentially longer than a shoe that’s been simply glued together so it can be sold cheaply and quickly.

Materials used in construction are just as important as the construction method itself. High-quality leathers, cork, and stitching make for a shoe that will last longer, whereas cheap (often synthetic) materials tend to break down more easily and quickly.

How often you wear your shoes is incredibly relevant, as is wearing them in proper conditions.

black dainite sole allen edmonds boots in rain

Generally, it’s a good idea to not wear the same shoes two days in a row. This is one reason that shoe salespeople always try to sell you more than one pair of shoes; it’s not just an up-sell, it’s actual best practice! The leather needs time to rest, and it’s easy to see how allowing them to do so will increase their lifespan.

When we say “conditions of wear,” we’re really talking about the physical environment in which you wear your shoes. Are you walking on concrete all the time, or do you generally go from house to car to office and back? Do you regularly wear shoes not made for inclement weather while it’s raining?

It seems like common sense, but it’s still worth stating: if you put your shoes through the ringer physically, they will not last as long as they might be able to.

Finally, do you take care of your shoes, at least in the three ways listed above? If you do, your shoes will last longer. If you don’t, they won’t.

Note that even cheap shoes will see their lifespans increased with proper treatment from the wearer. On the flip side of that coin, even the most expensive, sturdily-constructed shoes will see their lifespans shortened if neglected.

Basically, if you buy cheap shoes and treat them like garbage, they’ll maybe last a year. If you buy high-quality shoes and treat them properly, they can last a lifetime.

Why Care For Shoes?

Cobbler-Fixing-HeelNot to answer your question with another question, but do you like wasting money?

Probably not.

The best analogy for this is that shoes are like cars. You can buy the top of the line, but if you don’t put decent gas in it, wash it, and get it checked out every 3,000 miles, you’re going to waste your money and run your investment into the ground.

Same thing goes for shoes. Sure, you can spend $1K or more on some of the best shoes in the world, but if you don’t keep them regularly polished, never put shoe trees in them, and avoid visiting a cobbler, you might as well throw that money in a trash fire, because those shoes will not be long for this world.

Furthermore, caring for something you own shows a respect for it, and in turn, respect for yourself and those around you. It is much more pleasant to wear and be seen wearing shoes that are well-polished and in good repair than it is to be wear old, ratty shoes.

You should only own shoes you love, and you care for things you love.

More Shoe Care Resources

If you are interested in learning more about caring for your shoes you can visit one of the comprehensive shoe care guides below:

You can also visit the main page on men’s shoes where we cover everything you’ve ever wanted to know about shoes.