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Hints, tips and advice on how to look after shoes and how to deal with other certain shoe problems.



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Some hints and tips on caring
for shoes.

laced boot
The appearance of old
scuffed and worn brown leather shoes can be improved by the
application of scratch polish sold for use on polished wooden

Bruce Wood

To clean suede shoes
instead of using a wire suede brush which takes off the top layer of the leather try using
masking tape.

Another thing you can do to
revive suede footwear is to use a hair dryer on a
very hot setting.

To clean nubuck leather
use a very fine sandpaper – brings it up like new.

To clean patent leather
shoes rub in petroleum jelly and leave for a while to soak in, the buff up with a soft
clean cloth.  This will not only keep them shiny but also prevent them cracking.

To keep lather soft and supple,
apply a little castor oil and leave to dry, then clean in the usual way. 
Castor oil is also useful for
the underneath of leather soles.
crepe soles become sticky,
put talcum powder on them and this will resolve the problem.

Boot zips getting stuck
run a lead pencil down the zip and they will run smoothly.

If crepe soled shoes become stiff
put them in a warm oven (70 to 100 deg) for
a minute and they will become
flexible again.

To stretch tight shoes,
pack with potato peelings and leave for 48hrs.

Another thing to try is a
hair dryer on a WARM setting aimed over the
tight area.

If you are
unable to tighten
shoes laces
because your feet are not “deep” enough – pad out under the
lace area with a small piece of rubber.

To give an antique look to a
light pair of shoes
, polish with a much darker polish than the leather colour.

To create a pair of
“flamenco” dance shoes,
put carpet tacks in soles at the toes and heels.
Be careful the tacks do not go through the inside of the shoe though.

If lace ends fray making
them difficult to thread – hold end over a lighted match for a moment, this should fuse
the fibres together.

To freshen up an old pair of
buy new laces, perhaps in a contrasting colour.
laced shoes are uncomfortable
over instep, loosen laces from the bottom up then put  the lace ends back through the
second from top holes before tying.  This will give more room over foot but will
allow the laces to be tightened enough to hold the shoe on.

To prevent shoe laces untying
put polish on laces and leave to dry overnight, then rethread into shoes – should hold
O.K. now.
brightly coloured leather
becomes faded
in certain areas use an oil pastel of the same colour over the
affected areas then top up with a neutral wax polish.  Buff up and hey presto!
stretch shoes, slip a leak-proof
plastic bag into the shoe, fill with water, ensuring it fills the shoe completely. 
Close securely and freeze.  The water expands and stretches the shoe.

Many thanks to Bervie McCrea
for this most original tip

I am not sure what effect freezing
would have on certain materials.


I put a shoe that is too tight on and
put rubbing alcohol (surgical spirit) on the tight spot and walk around with the shoe on. 
It has worked for me for many years. It has never hurt the leather.  


salt stains on leather
are extremely difficult to remove and the treatment risky.

Dip a soft cloth into a
mixture of white vinegar and water and rub over
the salt stain.

You could also try mixing a mild washing-up liquid with an equal amount of white spirit and enough
water to make a creamy solution (1:1::4 ratio).  Work this over the entire shoe,
giving extra attention to the salt mark, before rinsing and gently drying.  This will
remove the polish and, with luck, the salt stain.  Repolish when completely dry.

As any treatment only removes the surface salt line, the stain may well reappear.

Slippery leather soles
– If you have new shoes with leather soles they
can be very slippery.  To prevent slipping
gently score the LEATHER sole with a sharp craft

Squeaky shoes
some talcum powder inside shoes stops them







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