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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 furniture.

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 waterproofing the underneath of leather soles.
If 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 shoes buy new laces, perhaps in a contrasting colour.
If 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.
If 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!
To 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.  

Jean Beideck

White salt stains on leather shoes 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 knife.
Squeaky shoes - some talcum powder inside shoes stops them squeaking.  







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