Responsible Shoe Ownership: Taking Care of Your Shoes

I realized over the weekend that I have a 10-year-old pair of shoes.  They are a pair of Adidas gym shoes I’ve owned since 1999.  In 1999 I was still in college; I only wore these shoes to the gym (which I frequented religiously). With these shoes, I was in the best shape of my life.  I was carefree, my only responsibility was getting an education — no mortgage, no car payments, no husband and no dogs.

I later wondered why I’d hung on to this pair of shoes and not donated them like the rest of my shoes that had lost their luster.  Then I realized somewhere in the midst of becoming a responsible grown-up and spending my own,  hard-earned money on shoes, I had learned to take better care of my shoes.  Shoes will last much longer if properly taken care of regardless of how much you paid for them.

Here are a couple things that can help increase the lifespan of your shoes:

  1. Clean your shoes regularly.  If you step in some mud, wipe it off immediately.  It’s particularly important to clean your shoes before storing them for the next season.
  2. Weatherproof your shoes for rain, sleet and snow.  Salt can do some serious damage to shoes, so it may be best to wear winter weather boots and then switch when you get to the office.
  3. Polish and condition your leather shoes on a regular basis.
  4. Properly store your shoes and boots rather than keeping them in a pile.  Shoe cubbies, over-the-door organizers and even keeping them in the shoe boxes help protect your shoes and help keep their shape.

Being the responsible adult (and shoe owner) I am now, my husband and I made our weekly Sunday trip to the home improvement store.  Taking my own advice, I bought yet another shoe cubby to store my shoes. This one holds 18 pairs, a well-needed addition to my closet organization because with all the great sales Sears has been having, I’ve bought 6 pairs of shoes in the last week.

And while I keep buying new shoes to add to my collection, I will not be getting rid of my “vintage” 1999 Adidas.  The shoes that once represented a physically fit, carefree college student are now literally stained with responsible homeowner chores like tar from resealing our driveway in 2006 and dirt from the “Great Landscaping Project” of 2009.  These shoes will live on until the soles fall off.


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      • San Jose, CA

    Joining the US Army, after highschool, sure taught me the importance of maintaining your foot wear.

    Cleaning, conditioning, polishing (for inspections) and proper rotation of daily worn footwear are all important in keeping one foot wear and feet in good shape.

    I've also found the value of investing in the purchase of shoes/ boots that can be resoled, after wearing down a tad too much.

    The leather upper are just getting "comfortable" by the time you get your first resoling.

    One thing nice about not being in the service anymore is "spit polishing" is no longer a must.



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