How To Make Shoes Last Longer

A Frugal Shoe Care Guide

Close-up of man's dress shoes

Shoes can be expensive, but with the right care you can make them last for years.

Difficulty: Easy

Time Required: A few minutes each day

What You Need:

  • Water-proofing spray or saddle soap
  • Shoe polish
  • A cloth for polishing
  • An old toothbrush
  • Baking soda

Here's How:

  1. Start with a good quality pair of shoes. Natural materials like leather and suede will last longer than man-made materials, so they're worth paying more for.
  1. If you purchase a pair of shoes with leather soles, have a shoe repair shop add rubber soles over top of them. This will protect the original soles from wear, and can be repeated as the rubber wears down.
  2. Use a water-proofing spray or saddle soap to protect your shoes from water damage.
  3. Untie your shoes each time you take them off to maintain their shape.
  4. Clean any dirt and debris off of your shoes with a toothbrush or stiff bristle brush, and buff out any scuff marks before putting them away. Most damage can be reversed, if it's treated promptly.
  5. Polish your shoes regularly to keep the leather conditioned and protected.
  6. If you wear your shoes out in the rain, allow them to dry completely before wearing them again. Newspaper stuffed inside the shoes will help to hold their shape while they dry.
  7. Rotate your shoes to avoid wearing the same pair each day. This will give the insides time to air out.
  1. Sprinkle baking soda in your shoes nightly, or as needed, to remove lingering odors and moisture. Then, dump the baking soda out before you wear the shoes again.
  2. Store your shoes neatly to avoid damage. Shoe racks, bags, boxes and trees can help to protect your shoes when they aren't being worn.
  3. Have your shoes resoled, if the soles wear out before the rest of the shoe. New taps can be also be added to dress shoes, when the old taps wear out.


    1. A cloth dipped in white vinegar can be used to remove salt stains from shoes.
    2. Make your own shoe polish, to keep your shoe care costs low.