On the topic of shoe maintenance...

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Like many women, I have a bit of a shoe fetish. And by "a bit" I mean that I have enough shoes that I could wear at least one different pair every day for a month and not wear the same pair twice.

It's both lucky and unlucky for me that I no longer work in a shoe store. While it means that I no longer get a discount on shoes, it also means that I'm not nearly as tempted to buy new shoes on a weekly basis.

Because I can't go off and buy a new pair of shoes every time I want to now, I've picked up a few secrets that help with keeping shoes in the best condition possible, and wanted to pass those secrets on to you.

image courtesy of ...love Maegan

Scuffs on patent shoes.

This is actually my most recently discovered tip. There's a wedding I'm going to in a couple of weeks, and to my dismay I pulled out my favourite black patent slings to discover scuffs all along the inside. Not cool. After some quick research online, I came across some articles about removing these scuffs with nail polish remover. I will admit, I was a little nervous about it, as patent is VERY finicky, and there's only so much that you can put on it that won't ruin the finish. But, it turns out that, in moderation, nail polish remover actually DOES remove scuffs!

I used a q-tip dipped in nail polish remover and dabbed it on the scuff marks. The scuffs that were very light and small were removed almost immediately; the larger scuffs took a bit more work, but eventually disppeared too. My recommendation for this would be to make sure you ONLY use the polish remover actually on the scuff, as it did remove a smidgeon of the shine on my shoes as well.

Breaking in brand new leather shoes.

I only buy shoes with a leather upper, because they'll stretch slightly and are much more breathable than synthetic uppers. The whole "stretching" thing can sometimes cause a bit of a problem though - buying shoes that fit a bit loosely when you first try them on will mean they will quickly become much too large on your feet. But brand new leather shoes aren't always the most comfy because they can be a bit snug.

To stretch the shoes slightly so they are more comfortable the first time you really wear them, simply scrunch up some damp newspaper and shove it tightly into the shoe. Leave the shose for a day or two, and they will typically be a bit looser after the newspaper has been removed.

If you want to try a different method, I have a friend who swears by freezing her shoes with a ziplock bag about 1/3 full of water in them. She leaves them in the freezer overnight, and by the next day they shoes have been stretched.

Don't wear the same pair of shoes every day.

Whether you realize it or not, your shoes will be slightly damp after wearing them for a full day. Wearing them multiple days in a row will end up causing your shoes to lose their shape quicker than if you let them fully dry between wearings – they will typically take about a day to fully dry.

image courtesy of ...love Maegan

Sizing winter boots.

Erm. Yes, I'm talking about winter in the middle of August. And yes, this isn't technically about shoe maintenance. But here in Canada, we have some pretty chilly winters, and as unattractive as winter boots are, they are a necessity. What a lot of people don't realize is that you don't want a winter boot that is super tight - you want some air to be able to flow in your boot. This will, in fact, insulate your foot a little better and will actually keep your feet warmer. I'm not suggesting to buy boots that are 3 sizes too big, but just keep in mind that you'll want to avoid getting boots that don't allow any circulation in there at all.

Do you have any tips on keeping your shoes in tip-top condition that you'd like to share with us?

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