There’s nothing like the heartbreak of desperately trying to salvage your favorite pair of shoes- only to discover how expensive professional shoe repair actually is. Fortunately enough, there are several DIY fixes which will help you restore full function of your footwear without necessarily having to break the bank. Best of all, these tips can also be used to customize your shoes, while restoring them to their former glory.
Caring for your shoes
Bear in mind that less-damaged shoes will be much easier and less expensive to repair. Therefore, be sure to adopt certain techniques that will allow you to extend your shoes’ lifespan while protecting them from visible signs of wear-and-tear. As far as your work boots are concerned, be sure to clean them regularly, paying particular attention to the soles. Another important tip is to dry your footwear as soon as they get wet since dampness has been known to cause severe damage to both suede and leather. It’s also recommended to store your work footwear in a dry and cool space to protect them from visible signs of cosmetic wear.
Don’t repeatedly wear the same shoes
Real Simple claims that the first thing to remember is that you should avoid wearing the same shoes over and over again. While it’s entirely natural to long for the comfort of your perfectly broken-in shoes on a daily basis, this can encourage a constant built-up of sweat and bacteria in the same pair of shoes. Wearing the same pair all over again has also been known to cause scruff marks and holes in the soles. Switching between different pairs of shoes will drastically lengthen their lifespan, hence providing excellent value for money.
According to the director of fashion strategies for Zappos, Eileen Lewis, sweat can take up to 24 hours to dry, which is why it’s important to avoid wearing the same shoes two days in a row. This is particularly applicable to leather shoes which are not normally resistant to sweat. If you do plan on wearing the same pair of shoes several days in a row, it’s best to go for synthetic materials because these are slightly more resistant than suede or leather. Bear in mind that high heels are particularly susceptible to wear and tear so your best bet is to go for sneakers on occasions where you do intend on repeatedly wearing the same pair of shoes.
Easy tips for scruff marks
If your black leather shoes are riddled with scruff marks, the best- and cheapest- way to camouflage them is to use a black permanent and water-resistant marker which can easily blend in with the surface of the shoes. All you need to do is smear the market across the scruff marks and carefully dab it with a tissue. Re-apply as many times as you need until your shoes look like new again.
Alternatively, if you can afford to splurge, you can also invest in shoe polish but bear in mind that it’s quite hard to find polish in colors other than brown, black, mahogany and white. White scruff marks do require some more work: in this case, you might need to remove cosmetic marks with a white art eraser before creating a uniform look with a white-out.
Broken straps happen to the best of shoes but as inconvenient as these are, they are fortunately easy enough to fix, especially if you’re familiar with sewing. Leather is quite a tough fabric to pierce through but a heavy-duty sewing machine will easily do the trick. Whether you choose to repair your shoe strap by hand or with a machine, it is crucial to ensure that the thread perfectly matches you shoe color- unless you want to play with contrasting shades.
Depending on where the strap broke off, in some case, it might be immediately noticeable that you sewed it back on. Consequently, you can add some flower clips, brooches, ribbons or any additional accessories to conceal the fresh stitches.
Dye it yourself
Footwear tends to pale with age and lose the sheen they originally had. While any good cobbler should be able to restore the dye for you, this can be quite costly, which is why it’s better to do it yourself. Most hardware stores carry dyes which can safely be used on various types of footwear. In fact, these dyes work particularly well on fabric shoes, but first, it’s quite important to thoroughly clean and polish your footwear beforehand. If you want to lighten dark shoes, you should first cover the surface with white dye before dyeing it in any hue that you want.
If you’re working with leather, it’s best to go for tinted leather polish to avoid causing any irreversible damage to your footwear.