Make do and mend: How to make your shoes last longer

By Sandra Hagelstam

To have and to hold, make your favourite shoes last you a lifetime

Shoes, even the most precious pairs are meant to be worn, although taking that first step in your suede soled investment heels can be equally daunting as it is joyful. Your shoedrobe needs just as much TLC as you skin does and even if the seasonal hits excites us, shoes are not designed to be disposable.


Maintaining the condition and lengthening the wear of our pre-existing items is the most authentic way to support a sustainable consumption, even if that means eventually re-selling your shoes. Thus, the proper care and caution determines the life and value of your beloved shoes and can make them last years, not just seasons.

Wear and weather

Getting the dress code right is key and will largely contribute to a longer lifespan for your shoes. However, this type of dress code goes beyond etiquette as you need to consider things like weather, how much walking or moving around you are planning to do and of course the nature of the occasion.

Making the right shoe choices and feeling comfortable in your party shoes is a whole other topic than understanding to not wear your satin shoes in the rain or finding yourself at a garden party in 5 inch stilettos. Carrying around a spare pair of flats isn't always the most practical idea, but you and your Manolo’s be grateful that you did when you need to walk home in the wee hours.

Photo: ATP Atelier

Clean and care

Giving your shoes the right kind of TLC is vital to prolonging their lifespan, however start this process before the first wear. Some shoes could use protective sprays, while some need to be completely resoled by a cobbler, it really depends on your planned wear and lifestyle.

There is a large range of shoe care products, from sneaker cleaners to spongers and buffers, the best ones can be found in the mens department. Find a local shoe repairman that you can trust and take your shoes to be restored regularly, before that heel tip is worn down. Places like The Restory works like a shoe spa, as they give a whole new life to your shoes through colour changes, restructuring and leather repairs even to your most worn down shoes.

Pack and store

As for what do with your shoes in between wear, the right kind of storage goes a long way. Whether you are the kind that keeps the shoe in their original boxes, or display them on your bookshelf, make sure the environment is cool and dry and that there is enough space to avoid them loosing shape.

Always use dust bags when traveling, as this help prevent scratches and unnecessary damage. With home storage, stuff the toe part with paper and use calf shapers for boots. Shop around for the right kind, or use a rolled up magazine for a quick DIY-version. Organise your shoes by season and keep them in high rotation to give even your favourite pair (and your feet) a breather in between wears.

The care kits

The Tangent GC Small Leather Care Set

ATP Atelier

Shoe Care Kit


Arigato x Sneaker Lab Premium Cleaning Kit

Axel Arigato