How to Care for Men's Dress Shoes

By Lindsay Sakraida, dealnews Features Director

Sure, we see great deals on men's dress shoes all the time. (Did you see this sale for 10% to 70% off styles from Cole Haan, Florsheim, Donald J Pliner, and more? Fantastic.) But just because you scored a style for cheap doesn't mean you should treat them like any old pair of sneakers. Leather shoes require proper care if you want your deal to hold up for years to come.

Park & Bond — Gilt's high-end men's retail site — offers these tips for proper shoe care. Several involve behavioral changes, like letting your shoes "rest" for 24 hours after you wear them. Others involve a few choice purchases, so we've got the deals you need to follow their lead.

To maintain the shape and quality of the leather, Park & Bond recommends buying a pair of cedar shoe trees. And luckily, we found a deal on these Johnston & Murphy Men's Woodard Shoe Trees ($15.45 via "SAVE10" with free shipping, a low by $15). You can't beat that price for a product from the Johnston & Murphy label, which even Esquire magazine keeps in its fashion closet.

Additionally, you'll want to have shoe polish on hand, to treat the leather every once and again. This 6-Piece Deluxe Shoe Shining Kit (free with $4.99 s&h, a low by $10) offers everything you need to keep your footwear gleaming, including a buffer brush, polish, and shine cloth.

Lastly, we'd recommend keeping those shoes — which you so carefully tend to — out of the reach of any poorly-behaved canines. Because nothing is more painful than watching your favorite pair of staple shoes get torn to shreds by an enthusiastic pup. [Park & Bond]

Photo credit: Robert S. Donovan via Flickr

DealNews may be compensated by companies mentioned in this article. Please note that, although prices sometimes fluctuate or expire unexpectedly, all products and deals mentioned in this feature were available at the lowest total price we could find at the time of publication (unless otherwise specified).


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I'd add another tip:  insoles (either leather or fabric) will keep your perspiration from soaking into your good dress shoes and damaging the leather over time.  I personally prefer the machine-washable fabric insoles available at just about any store selling good shoes - I generally pay about $10 for a pair, and they last for at least a year with occasional washings.

Also, I want to agree with juridicial's suggestion about sole protectors (my shoe store of choice cals them toe caps).  Leather soles don't last long at all, and these rubber toe caps can add years to the lifespan of a pair of shoes for relatively cheap - I'd say they double the lifespan of my shoes for an extra $40 to have them put on ($20 the first time and $20 when the first set of toe caps wear out).
Two key items that you are missing here:

1.  Sole Protectors - Any local shoe repair or cobbler (I like using the word) can provide these relatively inexpensive protective devices that make the leather soles of you expensive dress shoes a lot less vulnerable to the elements.  These protectors can be replaced as often as necessary and your shoes will last a lot longer.
2.  Buy multiple pair so that you can alternate wearing them and they will last longer, a lot longer.