Tips & Pointers
Shoe Care Tips
Designer shoes are an investment in your comfort and appearance. They are high quality footwear which, if properly taken care of, will serve as a complement to your wardrobe for years to come. To best protect your shoes, we recommend the following:
Waterproofing and Stainproofing.
At $10 a bottle, is an excellent way to protect your shoes from water, snow, mud, and spills. Spray your shoes before wearing, and on a regular basis thereafter.
Wear and Tear Prevention.
It's a smart idea to have shoe taps and possibly rubber soles put on new shoes as a way to postpone the gradual wearing out process that comes with normal use. A $20 investment now may mean many more years of enjoyment.
Finally, we highly recommend cleaning your shoes on a regular basis, depending on frequency of use. The cleaning method depends on the shoe's material. Leather can be polished and conditioned with a leather lotion applied with a soft cloth. Suede looks best when brushed; although special suede brushes are available, a clean toothbrush works just as well. Fabric should be sprayed with a stain guard. In addition, shoes-- particularly those made of soft nappa leather-- benefit greatly from shoe trees, or shoe keepers. These are wooden instruments which are inserted in the shoe, and help to retain the shape and mold of the shoe. Shoe trees can help to prolong the life of a shoe by 4 or 5 years.
Shoe Fitting Pointers
When trying on shoes, make sure you're wearing the appropriate sock. For instance, if you're trying on boots that you'd wear with heavy socks, don't try them on with thin nylons.
The best time to try on shoes is usually at the end of the day, when your feet are most swollen. However, don't abuse this rule of thumb: if you've just completed a sightseeing tour which required 10 miles of walking, and that's not your typical exercise routine, then by all means don't try on office heels that night! The point of waiting until the end of the day is to make sure that the footwear can fit you at your widest-- kind of a "worst case scenario" check.
The first shoe you try on should be for your larger foot. For most people, their larger foot is the opposite from the hand they write with. For example, if you're right handed, your left foot might be bigger. Always fit the pair of shoes to this foot. Even though there are about 20 separate parts to an average shoe, the fact remains that they are mass-produced. It's up to you to customize the fit-- a small heel pad, for instance, works wonders.
Stand up with your shoes on. Walk around a bit. You should be able to wiggle your toes in the front of the shoe. For most footwear, your toes will be able to touch the top of the shoe, but there should be 3/8" to 1/2" of space between your longest toe and the end of the shoe.
Don't buy shoes that are too tight. If you're at the point where you're praying they will stretch to be comfortable, they probably won't. It's true that soft leather and suede give slightly, molding to your foot, but they will not dramatically increase in width or length. There's a difference between a "snug", comfortable fit and a "tight", uncomfortable fit. A few laps around a carpet should help you decide how you feel.
Avoiding Summer Sandal Foot Bummers
Come warm weather, most women get a bad case of summer sandal zeal: Just can't wait to break out the newest strappy numbers and wear them all day. The problem? At the end of that day, your feet are likely to be cut, blistered, and downright uncomfortable. To help you avoid summer sandal foot bummers, try these tricks.
Start slow. It's truly tempting to wear a gorgeous pair of new sandals for a full eight-hour day, but doing so invites painful problems. Instead, wear sandals for an hour or two at a time to start. This will allow you to break them in gradually.
Add padding. Shoes with very thin straps are notorious for cutting into heels and toes, leaving painful welts and cuts in their wake. To help make these straps comfortable, head to the shoe repair shop for foam pads to place on the thinnest parts of the straps. Pads help cushion your skin and literally hold the strap away from it a tiny bit, reducing the likelihood of cuts.
Have shoes stretched. If you have time before you christen your new sandals on the street, consider having them stretched at a cobbler. A shoe expert can expertly stretch shoes (this takes a few days) to add a bit more room.
Add an elastic gore. If straps and buckles are too tight, a cobbler can sometimes add a length of elastic to make them give with the movement of your foot.
Try preemptive blister pads. These silicone bandages adhere to the skin and stay put. Position pads under a thin strap or troublesome buckle to protect skin before blisters appear.
Give feet a day of rest. Even if your feet can handle a full day in strappy sandals, give them a breather the following day with a pair of more practical and comfortable mules or slides. Doing so gives skin time to heal any minor cuts or raw spots before you wear your sandals again.