How to Repair Your Shoes

Lengthen the lifespan of your favorite shoes

Shoe repair window
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There will be times when you need a shoe repair service, whether your shoe needs a new heel or total restoration. Although shoe repair is an easy and effective way of restoring your beloved shoes to their former glory, it should only be used as a last resort. Take good care of your shoes now to prevent emergency visits to the repair shop in the future.

Find a Shoe Repair Shop:

Shoe repair might seem like a lost art, but you can still easily find a repair shop near you.

The Shoe Service Institute of America has a shoe repair shop locator that will help you find the closest, certified shop to you.

Many shoe repair shops are small, independently-owned businesses, so you'll also be supporting the local economy in addition to restoring your shoes. Call the shop beforehand to tell them what kind of work you need done.

If your shoes are in really poor condition, then you should absolutely take them to a repair shop, but there are a few things you can do to prevent your shoes from getting that bad in the first place.

Take Care of Your Shoes:

You should always take great care of your shoes, especially if they're an expensive, high quality pair. Here are some helpful tips on how to properly care for your shoes:

  • Invest in quality shoes. Spending a little extra money on a really great, well made pair of shoes might put a temporary financial ding into your budget, but there is a very noticeable difference between high quality, more expensive shoes and less expensive, poorly made shoes. A nice pair of shoes looks and feels better. Buy shoes that are made of real natural materials, i.e. suede and leather, because they can handle more wear and tear. Should any nicks or scrapes occur, they are also easily fixed. A pair of quality shoes can be repaired again and again, making them last forever.
  • Keep shoes safe. Don't just toss your shoes in the closet after you're done wearing them. Line them up, whether on the floor, on a shoe rack or an over-the-door shoe organizer to prevent damage. You should also keep them out of direct sunlight to prevent fading.
  • Protect the soles. The soles are usually the first things to go on a pair of shoes, but they're also easily replaceable. You can find sole protectors for any type of shoe to make the repair yourself.
  • Clean carefully. As tempting as it may be to throw a pair of sneakers into the washing machine, resist the urge. Shoes take a beating inside the washer and dryer, and they also wear away the shoe's shape. If you're very particular about the cleanliness of your shoes, use a toothbrush or q-tip to gently wash away dirt as it appears - the longer you wait, the more dirt will accumulate and the more difficult it will be to remove.
  • Use shoe trees. Feet sweat throughout the day and the leather and lining inside shoes absorbs the moisture. In addition to causing unpleasant odor, it can also crack the leather and ruin the lining. A shoe tree helps keep the shoe's shape and materials in good condition, and prevents odor, excess moisture and dry rot. Shoe trees are an easy and relatively inexpensive fix, but you could also stuff the shoes with newspaper for a comparable effect.
  • Use water repellant. Natural materials like suede and leather look nice, but the elements can wreak havoc on. Waterproof your shoes to protect against water spots and salt damage during the winter.