Taking care of your kicks requires more than the occasional wipe-down. Don't get us wrong — there's no need to break out your entire shoe polishing arsenal every time you step through a snowbank. But regular, detailed care is your best friend to make sure your lace-ups look and smell (almost) as good on day 1,000 as they did on day 1.
Swear by shoe trees
We've said it before, and we'll say it again: shoe trees are a godsend for ensuring that your shoes stay looking fresh, even after years of abuse. They're cheap, effective as all hell, and will last you a lifetime.
The cedar absorbs moisture and funk from your insoles, and the shape fits snugly inside your shoes to keep 'em looking full (rather than flattened) when they're not being worn.
Get into a polishing routine
To keep your leather shoes from looking dry and damaged, you'll need to regularly hit 'em with some moisturizing care. Here's the full guide on the process you should be using.
A basic cleaner and conditioner will get rid of any gunk and replenish the leather to a supple state, which you should do once or twice a month. To restore color and smooth out any nicks or scuffs, use a colored shoe cream. And when you want to go above and beyond, finish with a coat of protective wax.
Swap out your soles
Even the best pair of soles will wear down given enough wear. Luckily, it doesn't have to mean a death sentence for your shoes.
Once it's ground down enough to become a problem, just take the pair to a respected cobbler. They can replace the soles top to bottom, which will likely run you about $50 to $80 depending on the amount of work needed. That's not cheap, we know, but if you invested in good quality shoes, it's well worth the cost to extend their lifespan.
Lace up with a new set
All the polishing in the world isn't gonna do you much good if you're on year three of your favorite pair of shoes and still relying on the now fraying, beat-up original laces.
If yours are looking rough around the edges, swap in a new set the next time you clean your shoes up. You can get no frills ones at drugstores for pocket change, or spend just a couple bucks more on high quality pairs that'll last longer and look a little more refined.