Should you restore a pair of hand-me-down shoes? Well, if you are in the position to be receiving hand-me-down shoes, then chances are they are a good pair of shoes or a pair you dearly wanted. Or perhaps you’re reading this at 14 years old and your mom’s just sent you to school with your big brother’s old kicks! There are many reasons to restore a pair of second-hand shoes, from giving a high-quality but well-worn pair a new lease of life for economic reasons, environmental reasons, or simply to avoid wasting what can be saved.
Shoe care experts ShoeFresh say that a preliminary step to restoring a pair of old shoes is to look after them properly in the first place. This means making use of tools like shoe trees, shoe stretchers, shoe deodorizer sprays, and proper storage solutions in order to keep them in the best shape possible. Nothing, however, lasts forever, and there will come a time when the shoes are beginning to look a little like they are ready for the trash. With proper shoe care, you can defer this day almost indefinitely. Almost.
What Can You Restore?
If you have a pair of leather boots, for example, and they are split in a wide ripped seam from the heel right up to the back of the shoe, then you could be in trouble. However, you can restore the vast majority of old shoes.
You can even get old shoes looking shiny again. You should prepare yourself for them never looking brand new – and, as mentioned, there are some cases where you really would be better throwing them away – but in most cases, something significant can be done and you are likely to be very pleasantly surprised if you put in the effort.
How to Restore
So, how do you go about it? We need to be somewhat general here because the type of shoes, the material they are composed of, and, of course, their conditions will all have a strong bearing on the precise restoration process you engage in. Nevertheless, here are some general steps:
Appraise the Damage
Of course, this needs to be the first stage. You cannot know what you need to do before you actually know in what precise way the shoes are degraded or damaged. Accordingly, you should have a look at the upper for any deformation or creasing; you should then check the heel cap and strip (which can be damaged by shoe horns over time) before inspecting the sole and heel itself.
Only after all these external elements have been appraised should you check the insole and the lining as these are the easiest to replace and repair. You can think of the interior of the shoe as the last thing to fix in order to make your recently restored shoes as comfortable as new.
Clean The Shoes
Very often, cleaning the shoes will already take them quite far down the line of restoration. Dirt can be washed away, of course, and scuffs and other more permanent damage can be addressed with polish or other shoe restoration products if your shoes are composed of another material.
A Period of Attention
After they have been restored, you should remember that they will become easier to damage again. You can never return them to new. Consequently, you should take particular care with recently restored shoes and do so more diligently than you would a pair of new shoes.
Pull all of this off, and you could just shave years off the look of your shoes.