How to Care for Designer Shoes
Grenson is the latest edition to the high quality footwear range at Mainline Menswear, adding to the healthy offering of formal shoes already online from some of the most prestigious labels in fashion. British-made footwear has always set the bar high in terms of standards and for brands like Grenson with the “Made in Britain” tag attached to their business, it can bring a high price to match. But good quality is something which can’t be compromised when it comes to what you wear on your feet, and caring for them in the right way is imperative to make them last.
Shoes are arguably the most important and valuable item in the male wardrobe; after all, they can last for years if not decades with the right care and most have a timeless fashion quality. Menswearstyle.co.uk believes: “A well-made pair of [shoes] will make a pair of cheap but well fitted chinos look positively luxurious. On the other hand, a poor quality pair of shoes will make the most expensive hand stitched Italian trousers look rather drab.”
Most formal shoes by expensive labels will be made of good quality leather or suede uppers and the first tools you’ll need to look after these include: a polish the same colour as your shoe, a small brush or cloth to apply it with and for suede uppers a protector spray with a specialised brass bristled brush to remove stains.
Small details make a big difference with good quality footwear, for example: a shoe tree might not be the type of item everyone has at home but when you consider it maintains the shape of your leather and absorbs moisture, its an invaluable aid for making sure that trusty pair of Ted Baker’s last for years to come.
Shoe horns are equally valuable and yet under-appreciated, they’ll be most useful for stopping creases forming as you try to force your foot into a snug fitting shoe.
Wearing a pair of Grenson, Oliver Sweeney, Ted Baker or any other quality leather based shoe in the rain is strictly not advised, at least not until they have been worn in. Once wet they need to by dried out naturally at room temperature to avoid altering the complexion of the leather, it’ll usually take about a day or two but you could fill them with a shoe tree or newspaper to help absorb moisture quicker.
The majority of soles will be leather or double-leather which allows more wear and comfort, this is also the part of the shoe which wears away the quickest. Many of the high end designer shoes such as those from Oliver Sweeney and Grenson are made with a Goodyear welted construction which allows for the shoe to be constantly resoled when needed.
According to Grenson, whose shoes have just arrived online at Mainline Menswear:
“The shoe is ready for repair when you can feel a very soft spot in the middle of the front of the shoe where you walk. Push it with your thumb and if it’s very soft, it’s about to go. If it’s a little soft, it’s got another few months.”
It isn’t just leather soles that can be replaced either, some have rubber or other materials and the principle is exactly the same. Leather soles can be slippery to wear at first but after a few wears they gain a layer of grit which will give more friction under foot. An archaic method of adding grip to a pair of leather soled shoes is cutting a potato in half and rubbing it directly onto the shoes sole.
How to 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.” (Esquire)
One piece of advice that people will no doubt find surprising is that you should never wear your shoes two days in a row. Oliver Sweeney says: “Wearing them on sucessive days can burn away the leather. Look for those tell-tale signs of blackening on the inside. Swap your shoes around regularly to prolong their life.”
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