You’ve heard it countless times, probably one too many. It’s the wardrobe cliché to end all wardrobe clichés, but footwear genuinely is where that crucial first impression is often made. We spend so much time looking down at screens and so forth, or avoiding eye-to-eye contact on public transport, that what’s on your feet is the first and possibly only thing that anyone sees of you.
With that in mind, it pays sartorial dividends to invest in a pair of shoes that come courtesy of a trained cordwainer; a point of artisanal craftsmanship, as opposed to another speck amongst a sea of fast-fashion. It’s also important you know how to maintain them. Looked after and cared for, shoes can last years, decades, if not generations. I know of more than a few pairs of Northampton made shoes that are still in great shape near 30 years after first purchased, bar a resoling or two.
We enlisted the expert advice of footwear’s finest for a masterclass primer on caring for both leather and suede shoes.
Looking after leather
Tim Little, creative director and owner of Grenson’s top tips for making leather last are:
– Don’t wear them two days running, the leather needs time to dry out.
– Polish them at least once a week, leaving the polish on the shoe overnight before buffing them.
– If they get wet in the rain, put in shoe trees, or failing that, newspaper, and leave them somewhere at room temperature to dry; don’t ever dry them by a radiator or boiler.