Looking after your prize shoes should not be a wearisome task, rather a pleasure as you admire the refined workmaship as you follow the basic procedures of looking after your shoes.

My rules

  • If new, only ever wear on bone dry days until the surface has worn off the soles and the dust and grit of the pavement have hardened up the sole to almost a shine.
  • Never wear on damp or wet pavements - get a cab. You will take months of the life off the sole.
  • Rotate wearing shoes - wearing them once per week is plenty. Never re-wear a wet or damp shoe.
  • Get shoe trees into them the moment they are off. Preferably cedar ones. Allow them to dry for a day or two (even if not wet, there will be a lot of sweat in the linings) - never near heat, even if soaking wet. Rapid drying will crack the leather especially on the soles.
  • Give them a good rubbing-in with a quality wax or beeswax polish and let it soak in. Especially in the creases. Polish them several hours or a day later. A high density brush is great and finish with a duster.
  • Put back in cupboard, away from daylight with shoes trees in. Daylight hardens, shrinks and dries out leather it will also fade your shoes a lot - never leave in direct sunlight.
  • At the first signs of a hole in the sole - repair. If you continue wearing them you may damage the cork filling under the sole and that too will have to be replaced - upping your bill! Also make sure if they are a decent, British, Goodyear welted shoe that your cobbler knows exactly what he is doing. High street repairers are in a hurry and may be sloppy about the stitching - resulting in damage to the welt - which will then have to be replaced at the next resoling. Don't scrimp on the repairs - a factory repair if you can get it will return them almost as new.

There we are - long may your shoes last - a stitch in time saves nine! Incidentally - if you are looking for great British Good year welted shoes - try Shipton and Heneage www.shipton.com