You’re probably like me and you take great care of your shoes. I’m not saying that you need to be obsessive about them, but it’s important to know the basics. It can be hard for some people to tell if they’re damaging their shoes or not, so here are five things that can cause damage – and how to try to avoid it.
Common factors that damage your shoes
Heat is an unavoidable factor when it comes to shoes. It can damage them in many different ways, depending on the type of shoe being worn at the time. Heat can come from more than just direct sunlight or heated buildings; anything that heats up your shoes can cause damage to them over time.
Heat is very harsh on leather and will cause it to dry out and crack if exposed for too long. It also causes the material to become more rigid and inflexible, which may lead to rips or tears in the leather itself.
Heat can also affect synthetic materials by changing their shape over time, particularly if they are elastic or rubber-based. Heat can be a problem even without direct exposure; many people keep their shoes in the car during hot summer days, even if they are only going to be worn later that night. Leaving your shoes out in the sun or inside a closed up car for too long can cause heat damage, which is why it’s important to store them properly when you aren’t planning on wearing them.
Saltwater is one of the most common ways for shoes to become damaged; salt is corrosive and can eat away at leather over time. It can also be very difficult to remove it once it has seeped into your shoes, making them unsalvageable.
If you happen to accidentally forget your shoes in the ocean or other saltwater bodies, it isn’t the end of the world. You might be able to rinse them in fresh water and scrub off any remaining salt with a brush or damp cloth. However, this will not fix any damage that has already taken place; leather is especially susceptible to this sort of treatment, as it can promote mould growth if wet for too long.
Sweat is one of the main causes of foot odour, but it’s also responsible for damage to your shoes in many ways. Sweat contains moisture and salts which can lead to mould growth if they remain on a shoe for too long. More importantly, sweat contains urea (in addition to ammonia and lactic acid), which breaks down leather and fabric.
Many different types of drinks contain acids, including cola and soda (which contains phosphoric acid). These drinks can be very harmful to shoes; in addition to staining them, they break down the material over time. If the shoes are made out of suede, they can crack and flake off as well.
Alcohol is less harmful for shoes than cola or soda, but it’s still a good idea to avoid leaving them near drinks anyway. Alcohol has high water content and will cause mildew and mould growth if left in leather shoes that aren’t completely dry. Dirt
Dirt is often the least thought-of of the dangers for shoes, but it can be just as harmful in some ways. Dirt contains many different minerals which can get lodged inside your shoes over time. Some types of dirt are very difficult to get rid of once they’ve made their way into leather or fabric; especially things like clay. It also contains many oils which can be damaging to leather and fabric, leading to stains.
Pollen is very sticky and will get into all sorts of small spaces in your shoes. Leather is especially prone to this; when pollen dries out (which happens over time) it becomes very difficult to remove. The pollen also leaves behind a yellowish-brown stain which is almost impossible to remove. There will be pollen stuck in the stitching and lining of your shoes, so it’s a difficult problem to fix once it has occurred.
If you happen to notice that you’ve been tracking in a lot of dirt or pollen over time, then there are a few things that you can do. For leather shoes, you can try to wipe off the extra dirt/pollen with a clean cloth or cotton swab before it has time to settle in. You can also use something like toothpaste or baking soda mixed with water to scrub out stains; although this is more of a short-term solution rather than one that will prevent any damage from happening.
White shoes are the most common victims of dirt and pollen stains, as they can show up very easily. For this reason, many people recommend dark or black shoes instead, as long as they don’t become too hot to wear in the summertime.
How to avoid damaging your shoes
If you want to avoid these types of damage altogether, then there are a few things that you can do. Although shoe damage is often unavoidable, it’s still important to try and prevent it.
1.) Cleaning your shoes – it’s a good idea to inspect your shoes on a regular basis for any dirt or stains that can be removed. If there are too many of these problems then it might be best to clean them with something like toothpaste or baking soda, which will get rid of the problem without damaging the material.
2.) Storage – try not to leave unused shoes in either hot or cold places for an extended period of time. This includes the trunk of your car on a hot day, or your basement if it’s exposed to moisture.
3.) Using the same pair – switch between shoes regularly to avoid extra dirt/pollen getting stuck in unused ones over time.
4.) Fixing them early – don’t wait until your shoes start showing problems like cracks or mould before you take them to be repaired. Get it done as soon as possible so they’ll last longer and be more comfortable to wear.
If you follow these steps, then the damage shouldn’t get too out of hand over time and you’ll still enjoy wearing whatever type of shoes you like.