Kids’ shoes go through a lot, from playground scuff marks and scratches to being soaked in the rain – and may even get lost along the way.
Take a few simple steps on shoe care and protection, and your children’s shoes will last and look better for longer.
1. Make sure they fit properly
Not only are ill-fitting shoes harmful to young feet that are still growing, they will also start to show signs of wear and tear much sooner.
A newly fitted shoe should be approximately a finger’s width longer than the longest toe. This will help to allow for growth and give space for the foot to move when walking.
Opt for natural materials such as leather for breathability, and make sure you check inside the shoe for seams or stitching that may cause irritation.
2. Protect them from the get-go
As soon as the shoes come out of the box (and before they go anywhere outside), you will need to give them a thorough spray to help safeguard against stains and splashes.
A general spray for leather will usually work for most materials, including suede, nubuck and canvas.
If your child’s shoes have natural leather soles, you can ask a cobbler to fit a rubber sole on top to prolong the life of the shoe.
Leather soles wear down far quicker than rubber ones and become more susceptible to possible damage from water underfoot.
3. Get ready for rainy days
If your kids and their shoes do get caught in the rain, do not be tempted to dry them quickly by the fire or radiator. Over time, this will shrink the leather and damage the fit of the shoe, making them unsuitable for young feet.
Instead, stuff with newspaper and allow them to dry naturally. A pair of wellingtons left near the front door or in a hallway is a clever way to avoid smart shoes going out in the rain.
4. Crank the labelling machine
Most schools have specific uniform requirements that include footwear, so you will probably find that every pupil has the same or a very similar pair as your child.
If your children’s shoes are suitably labelled, they are more likely not to get mixed up and lost. A label maker, adhesive name tags or a good old-fashioned black marker pen will do the trick.
At home, a peg system for wellies and trainers is a great idea for keeping pairs together when not being worn.
5. Maintenance is key
Year-round maintenance is the secret to keeping shoes looking better for longer.
Invest in a few basic polishes, brushes and sprays and a tin to store them all together. That way, it will be easier to keep to a routine of polishing shoes to keep the leather supple and moisturised.
For scuffs on leather, a good rub with polish should help considerably. With suede or nubuck try removing with a rubber eraser; for patent shoes, dab a tiny amount of nail polish remover (but always do a spot test first in an inconspicuous area).
Have a couple of pairs of laces handy for when one snaps, particularly for sports trainers and sneakers that take a little more rough and tumble than the average shoe.
Follow these simple steps and you may find you are not be spending so much money on replacement footwear.