My rules - how to make them last and look after them...

  1. If new, only ever wear on bone-dry days until the surface has worn off the soles and the dust and grit of the pavement have hardened up the sole to almost a shine.
  2. Never wear on damp or wet pavements - get a cab. You will take months off the life of the sole.
  3. Rotate wearing shoes - wearing them once per week is plenty. For work get 5 pairs! They will last for years in parallel rather than in series, if you know what I mean.
  4. Never re-wear a wet or damp shoe. Get shoe trees into them the moment they are off. Preferably cedar ones. Allow them to dry for a day or two (even if not wet, there will be a lot of sweat in the linings) - never near heat, even if soaking wet. Rapid drying will crack the leather especially on the soles.
  5. Give them a good rubbing-in with a quality wax or beeswax polish and let it soak in. Especially in the creases. Polish them after several hours or a day later. A high density horse-hair brush is great and finish with a duster.
  6. Put back in cupboard, away from daylight with shoes trees in. Daylight hardens, shrinks and dries out leather it will also fade your shoes a lot - never leave in direct sunlight.

At the first signs of a hole in the sole - repair. If you continue wearing them you may damage the cork filling under the sole and that too will have to be replaced - upping your bill! Also make sure if they are a decent, British, Goodyear welted shoes that your cobbler knows exactly what he is doing!!

High street repairers are in a hurry and may be sloppy about the stitching - resulting in damage to the welt - which will then have to be replaced at the next resoling. Don't scrimp on the repairs - a factory repair, if you can get it, will return them almost as new.

There we are - long may your shoes last - a stitch in time saves nine!

(it goes without saying that you ideally use a shoe-pull to take them off and a shoe-horn to put them on)