Taking Care of Shoes

June 22, 2011
Although I often mention shopping or wishlisting for shoes (like here, here and here), I’ve yet to share how I take care of my shoes!  So here it is, my 3-step shoe care guide:

1. Protect the soles!  After I prance around in my new shoes for a day or two, my first stop is the shoe repair shop to add a thin rubber coating to the sole.  (And of course red ones for Louboutins!)  This $19 investment is a one time deal, I’ve never had to replace it.  Added bonus: it’s more comfortable to walk in afterwards, especially if it originally has a very thin sole.

If you’re in SF, I highly recommend Joe at 441A Stockton Street near Union Square – I’ve been a longtime loyal customer.  Great service at a great price!!

2. Replace the heel tips – often!  As soon as there is a peep of metal exposed on the very tip of my heel, I run to Joe and spend $8 to replace the tips.  With all of the hills around San Francisco, unfortunately this means I’m running up quite a tab for the tips.  But this is how I’m able to wear shoes for years and years (my work-essential nude Louboutins are nearly 4 years old!).

3. And finally: comfort is key.  Shoes don’t last (regardless of how well you take care of them) if they never make it past the break in period because you can’t bear to walk in them!  I used to be a huge fan of Dr. Scholl’s gel inserts until I tried foam pads courtesy of Stiletto Hardware (my favorites are the Ultra Slender Ball-of-Foot cushions).  They’re amazing!

What do you do to take care of your shoes?  Please share in the comments!

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  • I take all of my Louboutins to Nordstrom to have the red vibram soles put on! But I don’t put the rubber soles like you so I need to that! And I am going to try stiletto hardware, at 30…my feet just can’t quite take the height like how they used to 🙂

  • Great tips Anh! I always make sure to replace heel tips. It has afforded me to wear some of my favorite shoes for years and years.
    I also got to try the foam pads from Stiletto Hardware and agree they’re great!

  • Thanks for recommending Joe I’ll have to pay him a visit. I just moved back to SF after a two year stint in LA and now my shoe guy in Millbrae is no longer there. I have so much metal poppin out I’m ashamed!

  • I have a very similar routine. It is amazing how effective the rubber sole covers are. I have shoes that have held up for years too!

  • La Petite Olga says:

    Great tips!!
    I’m doing almost the same. Started putting rubber soles on my new shoes and they are so much more fun to walk in them. Next step will be finding really good gel inserts so I can really walk all day long in my heels!

    xx Olga
    La Petite Olga

  • Arthur Beren Shoes says:

    We just tweeted you, but we absolutely love this post! Fantastic care tips – we fully understand the trouble of the San Francisco hills. 🙂

  • Thank you so much for this great post, Ahn!

    If I may add my 2 cents, I´d say it´s very important to keep your shoes always clean. Whenever possible, as soon as I get home, I dust my shoes and clean them with a soft cloth and some leather care product, before putting them back in the cabinet.

    Warm hugs!

  • thanks for the share!

    lots of shoes are coming with heel tips now! (zara just recently started doing it with some of their shoes)

  • PetiteAsianGirl says:

    Whoa…hold on tight to Joe!! I called around many places in Boston. Cheapest place that would do louboutins were $25 for rubber half soles and $10-$12 for the itty bitty heel tips.

  • these are great tips! ive never really thought about bringing my shoes to a shoe repair shop to prevent them from getting ruined!

  • Totally agree with everything you said! I also make sure to keep my nicer shoes in boxes, and in the cloth bags when I travel, particularly the more delicate ones. Definitely keeps them from getting banged up!

    If any fellow readers are in New York, don’t spend your money at Leather Spa. True, they do a great job on high end items…but so do the guys in the subway at 53rd & lex. And they’ll replace heel tips while you wait!

  • Thanks for the ‘Stiletto Hardware’ recommendation. May I ask why they are better/preferable to Dr. Scholl?

  • Thanks for the tips Anh! I definitely replace the heel tips but I’ve never protected the soles – will definitely do that now! Also, I use foot petals cushions on the inside (but now I will look into stiletto hardware). Whenever traveling, I place my shoes in their cloth sleeper to keep them protected. I do love the shoe repair shop – they really keep my loved heels in working order!


  • @Anonymous

    Anonymous: for your question regarding whether or not I would take care of cheaper shoes the same way? It would really depend – if they are a pair of shoes that need to last longer than a season or two, then absolutely! Even a $60 pair of shoes can last longer with this kind of care. But again, it’s whether or not you need/want them to last that long. Hope that helps!

  • @Brigadeiro

    Great question! I probably should have elaborated up there in the post! My best analogy is: Stiletto Hardware is to Dr. Scholls as Tempurpedic is to Waterbed. Does that make sense?

    The gel used in Dr. Scholl’s doesn’t seem to be able to displace the pressure – I still get painful nerve feelings when using them. The foam cushions from Stiletto Hardware are softer, seem to evenly displace the pressure. I walked 7 miles in Elie Tahari flats with the added cushions and had no ball-of-foot pain at all! Of course, this is only my experience, it is true for me. You might feel differently.

    Hope that helps!

  • Great tips Anh! Some shoes of mine are so beaten up and I hate to throw them away…now I know how to take care of them….and best of all keep them. Thank you.

  • These tips are amazing – I will have to start doing this for treasured pairs of shoes.

    Thanks, doll!


  • Alterations Needed says:

    I got the red rubber soles on my Louboutins…but never thought to get it done to my other shoes too! GENIUS!

  • Mackenzie {Design Darling} says:

    Anh, you are brilliant! I absolutely adore your outfit posts but this was a worthy tangent. Thank you for the helpful tips!

  • RosaLovesDC says:

    Ahn, amazing tips. In regards to the Elie Tahari flats you mentioned in the comments, do you also add the rubber coating on the soles? I have a couple of pairs but due to my old age I cannot wear for too long or if I am walking a lot. But I love them and would love to wear them more.

  • @RosaLovesDC

    Hi Rosa!! For those I didn’t add a sole (actually – most flats I haven’t yet…considering it for my new J.Crew sandals though!). The cushions are great for them though! (HA! and you can’t claim “old age,” lady!!!) 🙂

  • I’m so glad I stumbled across your blog! Love your style and you are absolutely gorgeous!

    Thank you for the great tips about protecting our best friends 😀

    Come follow my blog sweetie 🙂

  • Hi Anh,

    How do you take care of the inside of your shoes? I find that after a while shoes start to smell (long before the 4 year mark) and I’m trying to find a good way to keep them clean inside also. Thanks!

  • Meagan@Style-Edition says:

    I’m with you! I live in SF and am regularly replacing heel tips. I’ve also just distcovered how much life a rubber sole gives you!
    I also recently discovered leather dying! I highly doubt any of your shoes wold get as beat up as mine but check out how I revived a pair

  • Amazing tips! I always replace my tips-bc I really love vintage shoes, and they are always fairly worn down when I get them-even for cowboy boots. Also, getting your shoes polished at the shoe repair always makes them look just a little bit better-newer…etc. !! So glad I found your blog!



  • Thanks for your sharing. I live in Taiwan and i thought people in other countries don’t do those things you mentioned though. Whenever i took my expensive shoes to the repair shop for rubber coasting, it always goes with some kinda reluctance, but i know it’s for the good of the shoes.

  • Thanks for your reply Anh! Loved your analogy with beds 😉 Totally understood, am off to try them for myself, they sound great! Kind regards, CC.

  • This is great, I have been meaning to get to my Wedding Loubs! Does anyone know of a good cobbler in Chicago (Downtown) – I need one!

  • Edit by Lauren says:

    Thanks for this great post! I have really hated tossing my favorite heels because they would get a little worn out, but I think next time I’m going to try this!

  • Elaine A (TOBeautyReviews) says:

    Wow I never thought about this much care for my shoes. Thanks for the tips Anh! I will think about getting the soles protected right away in the future.

  • The Blonde @ Stylish3 says:

    I do my best to make sure my shoes are never put up wet and that I leave space between each show on the racks so they don’t touch each other and get discolored.

    Great tips, everybody!

  • this post is amazing… i have always wanted to invest in an expensive pair of designer shoes, but couldn’t justify the purchase after i wear out shoes so quickly. these tips make it seem much less foolish to splurge on a pair i’ll love forever (and can wear forever, too) thanks so much for the tips <3shelby


  • Hi Ahn,
    I live in SF too and want to try Joe’s. Does he have the red Vibram soles for Louboutins?

    This post is really helpful!

  • roseandthistle says:

    Such a helpful post, thanks! I hadn’t found a trusty cobbler in SF yet but will be off to give Joe a try 🙂

  • Thanks for the tips! I’ve been shelving some of my heels because I wasn’t sure where to take them in SF (just moved here recently), but now I’ll definitely pay a visit to Joe 🙂

  • Maybe this is a silly question, but is it necessary to wear the shoes out a few times *before* getting the rubber coating on the sole?

  • For Houston readers, Shoe Savers on Bissonnet off Kirby does a wonderful job of re-soleing/re-tipping heels. They also offer the unique red-colored sole for Louboutins. Barry (the owner) will also recondition or dye back your high-end bags/luggages.

  • I have been recently purchasing high end shoes (i.e. Frye, Vera Wang Lavender, and Joan and David) and I needed a way to take care of them better. This post was a God send. Thank you!

  • Aubsent From Texas says:

    Just found your blog via My Style Pill who mentioned Lucy Laught who mentioned you 🙂
    I live in the city and am gone check out your shoe guy. Thanks so much.
    I have some Dr Scholl’s inserts that are removeable and do wonders for my flats. They are heel to arch and are ah-mazing!. I also keep my shoes in their boxes.


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  • merie joy flores says:

    nice tips! now I know how to take good care of my shoes you give me an idea to my old shoes. 🙂