We all have to wear shoes, most of us all day, every day. It's not a purchase we can skip out on entirely, but it is one we can save on in the long term by using proper shoe care. This is especially true for the expensive boots and shoes subjected to tough fall and winter weather year after year.

Keeping your shoes in good condition is actually pretty simple. You just need to know what to do (and commit to doing it). A little upfront cost to prevent wear and tear could mean avoiding an expensive replacement sooner than necessary.

1 Use a water protector.

Water is one of the biggest offenders for wearing shoes out. You probably can't pull off never wearing your shoes in the rain, sleet, or snow, but you can make sure they're better protected when you do.


It's best to cover your shoes in a water protector solution soon after purchasing them and then again once each season. If you've never done anything to protect those old shoes before, it's not too late. Go ahead and buy some water protector and get started.

2 Polish your shoes regularly.

When your shoes get too dry, it can cause cracks in them or change the shape so they don't fit as well. Polishing your shoes is like moisturizing your skin; it keeps them from drying out (and makes them look nicer besides).

3 Use shoe trees (or paper).

While rain can cause some problems for shoe longevity, there's a more consistent threat of moisture with every use: foot sweat.

Shoe trees help absorb some of that daily moisture and the odor it causes while you store your shoes at the end of the day. They also help your shoes keep their rightful shape over years of use.

If you don't want to spend the $20 or so a shoe tree costs, you can bunch up some paper to use for the same purpose.

4 Let them dry naturally.

Don't try to rush the process of drying out wet shoes with a dryer or heater. That will only warp the shape and potentially damage the material they're made of. If your shoes have got wet, give them time to dry naturally before wearing them again.

5 Get sole protectors.

Soles are the part of the shoe that will wear out the fastest and many shoes aren't made with especially strong ones. A cobbler will usually put sole protectors on your shoes for around $20-$30.

6 Replace the lifts on heels with a stronger version.

For high heels, the weakest link is the lift. Many women know the experience of a lift breaking off a high-heeled shoe at an inconvenient moment. Most high heels come with plastic lifts, but a shoe repairman can swap those out with rubber lifts that will last much longer.

7 Switch them out.

Shoes need a break from time to time. The point of the post was to help you avoid spending money on a new pair of shoes, but if you only have one good pair you're wearing most days, you're not going to get the best bang for your buck.

Invest in a second pair so each pair of shoes has a day to dry out and get back to its normal shape in between uses. Both pairs will last much longer if they're not in constant use.

A good pair of shoes can save you the trouble of having to buy new pairs each season and bring you comfort throughout the day. A few simple tricks can help you hang on to that good pair once you've got it.