We ask a lot of our shoes. Which is why we need to take care of them. Here's how to take action against scuffs, dry worn-out leather and that inevitable gum on your sole, ensuring that your kicks last you as long as possible.
A Proper Shine
"You want to use shoe cream instead of a wax polish," says Edward Andrade of Cesar's General Shoe Repair Store, an institution in Manhattan's Chelsea neighborhood since 1976. "Wax builds up over time, which isn't good for your shoes." He recommends Meltonian's shoe cream, in a range of colors from bone to bordeaux, applied in small, liberal circles. Let it dry and then brush off any excess before buffing with a clean, soft cloth.
Venetian Shoe Cream softens, cleans and nourishes your shoe's leather with ease and efficiency. No wonder it's been a trade secret among cobblers and high end shoeshiners for decades. Made with a mix of cleaning agents, natural oils and waxes, it works with shoes of all colors and can even be buffed to an impressive sheen.
Barker Black's Derek Miller recommends shelving shoes for at least 24 hours after wearing. "They need to dry out to maintain their shape." Shoe trees will extend the life of your shoes, especially if you're sporting them sockless. But they don't have to be fancy. "For me, it's not the material that makes a good shoe tree but the shape. It needs to retain the shoe's original shape so it should come as close as possible to the shape of that last on which the shoe was made."
It happens to the best of us. And the easiest way to remove gum from your sole is to freeze it. Place the shoe in a plastic bag, pressing the bag against the gum and set it in the freezer for at least an hour. Then pull bag off the shoe. The gum may come off right then, but if not, you can easily scrape the frozen gum off with a knife. Remove any residual stickiness with a dab of rubbing alcohol.