The right techniques to maintaining men’s shoes

At the height of the Internet bubble’s implosion just over a decade ago, I did something that forever changed the way I think of shoes.

I was in San Francisco – a town that absorbed the crash the hardest – where deals were a-plenty. I wandered into a desolate Neiman Marcus at Union Square and plunked down the equivalent of a month’s rent on a pair of Prada dress boots (which, in better times, would have cost three months’ rent). Mind you, this sort of spending isn’t something I do regularly – in fact, I’m not much of a shopper. But a girlfriend in the fashion business assured me this was a steal, and I folded.

It wasn’t until 11 years later that I learned a finely crafted shoe will (and in my case, did) outlast most relationships. Heck, they’ll outlast lifetimes. This was confirmed when an Italian cobbler told me, “This pair of boots will be around long after you’re dead.” And in better condition, I presume.

Here in Hawaii, only a handful of us regularly slip on a pair of shoes. Yet for those who do, a fine pair can be likened to a sleek sports car. At Leather Soul, owner Thomas Park lines his racks with the wares of three of Great Britain’s finest shoe makers, as well as one produced in the U.S.

“Edward Green shoes really nail the British antique look,” says Park, noting a price tag that starts at $1,000 per pair. “Their shoes have a patina on them that really adds to the aging effect. It’s a huge allure to the bankers and attorneys we call regulars.”

But how does one protect a four-figured investment that resides on one’s feet? It’s very simple with the following tips, according to Park, and Nordstrom Ala Moana sales associate Kohta Kodama.

How To Care For Your Shoes

Give Them A Rest

“Using a shoehorn is integral, and a shoe tree for when they’re resting,” says Park.

Resting? A shoe rests?

Most certainly.

“Not only does a cedar shoe tree keep the shape of a shoe, but it’s a natural deodorizer. By removing the moisture, you give the leather more time to breathe,” says Kodama.

Polish With The Best

Park sells only one brand of shoe cream and polish at his store: Saphir, from France.

“It’s one of the best polishes and creams. Their Renovateur (cream) not only moisturizes the leather, it protects it. The stuff is like magic,” says Park, adding that lesser creams and polish will contain man-made chemicals, which are not good for leather.

Our Nordstrom expert recommends a careful application and removal of shoe cream, adding that, if left on for too long, the cream can burn or damage the leather.

Rotate Your Shoe Stock

“I recommend never wearing the same shoes two days in a row,” says Park. “They should rest, get back to normal before a second wearing. With just a little upkeep, your shoes will last forever.”

tagged in Kohta Kodama