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How to Make Your Shoes Last Longer

Madhushree Kelkar
Are you wondering how to save money by making your shoes last longer? You will be amazed to see how proper care of your shoes can help to make them durable and sustainable for a long period. This story outlines some easy ways to make shoes last longer.
I still have my feet on the ground, I just wear better shoes.
- Oprah Winfrey

Unlike clothes, shoes can fit you no matter how much weight you lose or put on. Also, many shoes are truly timeless classics and never 'run' out of fashion. Hence, you should always store your shoes so that you can reuse them for a long time.
Unless you are a celebrity who has no dearth of money to buy new shoes, you need to take proper care of the few good ones you own. Whether you have a 'shoe string' budget or like to splurge, following small precautions like not wearing your leather shoes during rains or drying them before storing can help you to make them durable.
You must always buy shoes of a local or renowned brand that are good in quality. Refrain from investing in shoes, which look pretty but wear out very easily. You must take care of the four aspects of shoes, i.e., cleaning, maintenance, usage, and storage in order to make them last longer. Here are a few tips to make your shoes last longer.


Washing Shoes

One of the gravest mistakes that we commit is putting away our shoes in the washing machine when they get dirty. Remember, your shoes may lose their shape, firmness, and may even fall apart because of this. Use a rag cloth and vinegar to clean your shoes instead.

Drying Shoes

No matter what, don't put your wet shoes or sneakers in the dryer. Not only will it create irritating banging sounds, but it will also affect the material of the shoes in an adverse way.

Cleaning Insoles

In order to clean the insoles, gently wipe them with a diluted tea tree solution. It has a rich aroma as well as antibacterial properties.

Dusting Shoes

Just like furniture in your house, your shoes will also gather dust. Hence, it is essential that you dust your shoes before and after wearing them. This will keep them in an 'as good as new' position. You can also use a dry/damp cloth or even a shoe brush for dusting.

Removing Salt

If you are wearing your shoes on the snowy roads, there are chances that your shoes will get spoiled because of moisture and salt. The first thing to do when you come home is to wipe the salt off your shoes.

Removing Stains

Treat a stain on your shoes with utmost urgency. In case of suede, wipe it off with the help of a suede stone or shoe brush. In case of leather, wipe it with a rag and keep it dry.

For Fragrant Smell

In order to get rid of the foul odor in shoes which usually makes you throw them away, a couple of solutions for smelly shoes are using baking soda or tea tree oil. You should also wear a clean pair of socks, and use a foot spray to keep them smelling better.



Shoes made of natural material like leather and suede will last longer than the artificial ones. So, invest your hard-earned money in buying shoes made of natural material.

Place Them Properly

Ignore musician Kenny Loggins when he tells you to "kick off your Sunday shoes." When you get back home, don't just fling your shoes here and there. Take them off carefully, and place them on the shoe rack or in the shoe box.


If the bottom of your shoes is made of wood or plastic, or for that matter is plain without a grip, it advisable to add a rubber sole. This will help to reduce the friction and keep the shoe intact, but more importantly, it will save you from having an accidental fall. Also, resoling the shoes from time to time will make them last longer.


Many of the soles of women's shoes are made of plastic, and they may come off in no time. Hence, it is advisable to replace them with rubber tips instead.

Wet Shoes

If leather shoes get wet, don't just air-dry them. This will make them dry and rough. Instead, wipe the moisture out with a rag cloth first before drying them.

Add a Shine

If your shoes look matte and dirty, you can give them an instant makeover. All you have to do is wipe them with a damp cloth, then apply a shoe conditioner, and follow it up with shoe polish. This should give you a good shine.

Visit a Cobbler

You can reuse your expensive shoes by giving them to a cobbler for mending. Not only will he repair the buckles, heels, straps, soles, etc., but he will also make them look newer.


Walk Properly

Your walking style will also affect the quality of your shoes. Hence, walk gracefully and refrain from dragging your feet, as it will definitely wither away the soles and cause them to fall off.

Rotate Shoes

If you want shoes to last longer, reduce their wear and tear by switching your shoes every 24 hours with alternate pairs. This will help to keep the shoes in a good condition for a long time.

Avoid Rains

It is the rainy shoes which are meant for rain and not your regular leather ones. So, do not to wear leather shoes in the rain as they will surely get spoiled.

Care for Laces

Many of us have a bad habit of wearing our shoes by sliding our leg into them without untying and tying the laces. This will make the shoes shapeless and spoil the laces. Hence, it is essential that you tie and untie the laces. Always buy an extra pair of laces if they are colored.

Removable Insoles

It is advisable that if you have shoes with removable insoles, you should buy an extra pair. You can then rotate the insoles after some days. This will help to keep the shoes fresh and new.

Waterproof Spray

Using a water-repellent spray on leather, fabric, and suede shoes will help to keep them dry.


Use a good quality cream for moisturizing your shoes. This will help to keep the shoes fresh and wearable for a long duration. However, don't use creams that just sit on top of leather shoes, eventually spoiling them including the hem of your pants.


Always use a shoehorn if you are facing difficulty in sliding your foot into the shoe. If you try to force your foot into the shoe, it may have a 'crushing effect' on the heel, as too much pressure will be applied. Also, it may destroy the sole of the shoe.



Don't expose your shoes to extreme cold or hot climate as it may strain the shoes, making them to change their shape. If you are wearing leather or suede shoes, make special arrangements for their storage.

Room Temperature

Store your dry shoes in a closet that has room temperature. If they are wet, never put them directly in a box or closet. Exposure to extreme hot temperature can shrink the material while damp or wet conditions can lead to odor, bacteria, mildew, mold, etc.

Newspaper Trick

If you don't want to spend on shoe racks or shoetrees, a simple trick will be stuffing your shoes with newspapers before putting them aside for storage. Newspaper absorbs moisture and curbs the problem of foul odor. Also, stuffing the newspaper in the shoes will help to keep them in shape.

Shoe Racks and Boxes

You don't necessarily need a whole wardrobe to organize your shoes like the character of Carrie Bradshaw from Sex and the city. All you have to do is to arrange them in storage boxes or shoe racks so that they will remain clean and accessible. Also, don't pile the shoes on the top of each other so that they retain their original shape.


Utilize a shoetree to store the shoes which are not worn frequently. Use shoetrees made of cedarwood which will keep the moisture away from the shoes and help to retain its shape.


It is important that you store the shoes away from direct sunlight as it will make the leather brittle, and it may chip off. Also, the color of the leather will fade, giving it a very old look.


Always store your shoes in a cool and dry place. This will allow them to dry. However, ensure that you don't leave them in your car, car trunk, gym bag, or an enclosed closet for a long time.
Now that you know the ways to make shoes last longer, implement them to save a lot of money. It will also help you to curb your habit of unnecessary shoe hoarding.