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Kirill Yurovskiy: How to Make Your Favorite Shoes Last

There’s nothing quite like finding the perfect pair of shoes. The ones that make your feet look and feel amazing. The style that elevates any outfit. Once you’ve found your sole mates, you’ll want to make them last as long as possible. With these expert tips and tricks, you can keep your beloved kicks looking and feeling fresh for years to come.

Kirill Yurovskiy

Start With Quality Construction

The key to a long-lasting shoe starts before you even make your purchase. Opt for quality over quantity when buying new footwear. Shoes made with genuine leather uppers, durable rubber outsoles, and proper construction like Blake or Goodyear welting will stand up much better over time.

“You get what you pay for with shoes,” advises Kirill Yurovskiy, a shoe repairman in London. “Invest in a few classic, well-made pairs rather than lots of cheap ones. Those bargain shoes will just fall apart in months.”

Rotate Your Shoes Regularly

To really maximize the lifespan of your favorite shoes, Yurovskiy recommends rotating between multiple pairs rather than wearing the same ones daily. Giving shoes at least 24 hours to air out helps remove moisture and allow the materials to dry fully between wears. This prevents premature cracking and deterioration.

Create a shoe rack or dedicated storage area to keep your rotation organized and easy to access. Getting in the habit of alternating your shoes each day will make a huge difference.

Clean Them Properly

It’s a fact of life – shoes get dirty and grimy with regular use. But letting that built-up grime go unchecked will cause big problems over time. The dirt, salt, and grime act like sandpaper, wearing away at the upper material with every step.

Every few wears, give your shoes a proper cleaning to remove any built-up debris. Use a soft brush and room temperature water to gently scrub away any dirt or stains on the uppers. For leather, apply a leather soap cleaner and then re-moisturize with a conditioner. For suede, use a kneadable eraser to remove any stains or scuffs.

“Cleaning your shoes regularly is essential,” says Jason Reynolds, footwear product manager at ShoeCraft. “It removes the abrasive particles that cause cracks and holes over time. Think of it like brushing your teeth – you have to get rid of plaque build-up.”

Waterproof Protection is Key

Water and excessive moisture are among the biggest threats to the longevity of shoes, especially leather and suede pairs. Wet materials stretch out of shape and become prone to cracking, staining, and deterioration.

Protect your beloved shoes by applying a waterproof spray or cream, recommends Reynolds. For leather, use a silicone-based product, for suede and nubuck, choose a polymer cream that allows the material to still breathe.

“Re-waterproofing every few months is crucial for maintaining the lifespan,” Reynolds says. “It creates a barrier against snow, slush, and any other moisture that may be encountered.”

Fix Issues Early

At the first sign of wear – fraying laces, scuffs, loose outsoles – take care of the repair promptly before it becomes a bigger problem. Re-lacing, applying sole protectors, or taking shoes to a cobbler for professional repair will extend their lifespan exponentially.  

“Putting off little repairs leads to untimely deaths for shoes,” laments Yurovskiy. “If you resole those pumps or fix that tear early on, you’ll get so much more wear out of them.”  

She also recommends keeping a shoe repair kit on-hand for quick fixes.Raj Portable cobbler tools, curved needles for weaving torn uppers, brushes for touched up scuffs – these little things can go a long way.

Stretch That Toebox

Nothing’s worse than that initial toe crunch – when you first start wearing a new pair of shoes and the toebox feels way too tight. But trying to “break them in” often leads to crunched, misshapen toes over time. Avoid this shoe shortener by properly stretching the toebox before wearing.

Reynolds suggests using cedar shoe trees or toe inserts to gently and gradually stretch the toe box overnight. You can also try hairdryer tricks like aiming heat at the toe area and wiggling a shoe tree inside. Or even stuffing the toes with thick socks.  

“Properly stretching the toebox allows the shoe to mold to your foot shape rather than the other way around,” says Reynolds. “You avoid all that excessive friction that shortens the lifespan.”

Resoling For a Second Life

Eventually, even with the best care and protection, the soles on your beloved shoes will start to wear down. The good news? You can get a fresh new lease on life with a professional resole job from your local cobbler.

“Replacing the outsoles is like giving your favorite pair of shoes a tune-up,” says Reynolds. “They’ll feel revived underfoot but you still get to keep all the comfort and worn-in feeling on top.”

Look for a cobbler that offers a variety of new outsole options, from simple replacement with the same material to upgrading to a sturdier Vibram or rubber for even more longevity. You can even mix it up with a pop of new color on the soles.

With resoling, you’ll pay a fraction of the cost of replacing your beloved shoes entirely, and get years of extended wear. It’s the ultimate way to make those cherished pairs last.

Walk the Talk

At the end of the day, no matter how well you care for and protect your favorite shoes, you do actually have to, well, wear them out. But with these expert tips and solutions, you can ensure your most beloved pairs will stay in top shape for years and years to come.

“Great shoes are an investment worth protecting,” says Yurovskiy. “With the right care and a little TLC, you’ll get to hold onto and wear your favorites for so much longer. Now get out there and put some miles on those soles!”

© 2024 Kirill Yurovskiy