It can be a major bummer to toss out a pair of shoes, especially if you favored them above the other ones in your closet. Fortunately, there are plenty of simple hacks that can make your shoes last longer without sacrificing the health of your feet.
You may be surprised how many ways there are to make your shoes feel more comfortable without damaging them. And just because shoes touch the ground all day doesn’t mean you have to suffer from poor shoe hygiene. Read on for tips and tricks to get the most out of your shoes.
Expand Your Shoes With Frozen Water Bags
Getting a new pair of shoes is thrilling, until you try walking around in them and realize they may be a little too snug. Especially during hot months, your feet can swell so that shoes you thought were a perfect fit actually aren’t.
You can still enjoy your snug shoes with this simple water bag trick. Simply fill two plastic sandwich bags with water and place them in your shoes. Leave the shoes, with the bags in them, in the freezer overnight. The water will expand as it freezes, stretching out the shoes and giving your feet a little more breathing room.
Shine Patent Leather With Vaseline
Especially when it comes to lighter-colored dress shoes, scuffs can be embarassing and come off as unprofessional. Fortunately, you can revamp your patent leather shoes with an inexpensive household item: Vaseline.
For precise application, use a Q-tip to rub the petroleum jelly into the scuff mark. The gentle lubricant should slide those tiny dirt particles right off. You can also use Vaseline on less dressy shoes like tennis shoes or workout shoes, as it can help clean all the rubbery parts of the shoe.
Clean White Tennis Shoes With Nail Polish Remover
Given the strong chemical smell of nail polish remover, it probably isn’t a surprise that it’s a hardy stain-cleaning agent for shoes. Simply apply some to a cotton ball like you would when removing nail polish.
If you’re worried about the acetone being overpowering, you can also dilute the nail polish with some water for more fragile parts of the shoes. Like Vaseline, nail polish remover can also be used to remove scuffs from patent leather shoes.
Wrap Your Toes To Reduce High Heel Pain
They say “beauty is pain” for a reason, but when it comes to high heels, it doesn’t have to be true. The next time you wear a pair, try taping together your third and fourth toes with some gauze.
The reason those toes are so significant is because there’s a nerve that runs between them that causes pain when under pressure. Using this technique may help prevent some of the aching that can result from wearing heels all day.
Use A Hairdryer To Help Break In New Shoes
If you ever saw someone pointing a hairdryer at their feet, you’d probably think that they just got back from walking barefoot in the snow. Aside from warming up your toes, hairdryers can also help break in a pair of new shoes.
That’s because the heat helps to loosen up the shoe material so that it becomes slightly more malleable. Wear some big socks and place your feet into the shoes to stretch them out under the hot blast of air.
Give Your Shoe Soles More Grip With Sandpaper
If you’ve ever purchased a pair of shoes that have a flat bottom, you know how awkward they can be to walk around in. Especially on smooth carpet, it can feel like you’re walking on a Slip ‘N Slide.
One way to give more grip to those kinds of shoes is to rub sandpaper into the soles. The granules of the sandpaper will eat away the shiny top layer of the sole, revealing a rougher surface beneath that should offer you more grip.
Put Anti-Slip Tape On The Bottom Of Slippery Shoes
If you don’t feel like putting in the elbow grease that rubbing sandpaper on a shoe requires, we have an even easier hack for your slippery shoes. Simply apply anti-slip tape to the bottom.
This kind of tape has a sticky adhesive on one side and a rough material on the other. Attach the tape to the bottom of each slippery shoe for a grip that should prevent you from ice skating across the carpet.
Waterproof Your Canvas Shoes With Beeswax
Canvas shoes can be extra comfortable due to their flexibility, but the fabric isn’t ideal on rainy days. To start wearing your favorite canvas shoes in a wet climate, try waterproofing them with beeswax.
The layer of wax will act as a barrier, preventing water from soaking into the shoe. If you don’t feel like going out and buying beeswax, you can use the wax from any old candle instead.
Cover Torn Heel Linings With Denim
Remember the era of patched jeans? We aren’t exactly suggesting that you bring that style back, but we do have a helpful shoe hack that’s based on the same premise. Rather than throwing out your shoes becuase of a torn heel lining, try patching them up.
All you need is a small piece of denim and some super glue. The jean material is ideal because it’s resilient and can endure the friction of your foot, but at the same time is comfortable.
Wrap Your Shoes In A Shower Cap While Traveling
One of the hassles of traveling is having to mash various items into one compact suitcase. While you may have specialty compartments for your toiletries and small items, your shoes are likely to end up with your clean clothes.
A simple and inexpensive way to protect your clothing from becoming tainted by your dirty shoes is to use disposable shower caps. You can buy a pack of them for around $3 and conveniently wrap each pair of shoes.
Remove Odors With Vinegar
Smelly shoes can have a negative impact on your home’s overall aroma, and can leave you not wanting to put them on. A sure-fire way to spruce up your shoes is to mix distilled white vinegar with equal parts water.
Place the solution into a spray bottle and spritz your shoes all over and on the inside, and then let them sit for 30 minutes. The vinegar should defeat whatever bacteria caused the smell, leaving you with shoes you don’t have to hold your breath to wear.
Deodorize Shoes With Baking Soda
Another way to get the stink out of your shoes is to load them up with baking soda. The simplest technique is to dump the powder directly into your shoes and leave it there overnight.
Shake the baking soda out in the morning and enjoy your odor-free shoes. For those who like to keep things a little tidier, you can pour the baking soda into thin fabric pouches and place those into your shoes overnight.
Soothe Blistered Feet With Black Tea
While tea can have many positive effects on your internal body, you may not have considered its positive effects on your skin. Black tea has tannins that can help soothe cuts and scrapes by closing the wounds.
If you have less-than-comfortable shoes and need a good foot soak after wearing them all day, you may want to consider using black tea. Make the tea how you normally would, just in a larger size portion, and soak your feet in a tub.
Cushion Shoe Straps With Moleskin
Moleskin is a durable cloth made from cotton that’s effective at protecting blisters and broken skin. Additionally, it can help prevent ailments caused by friction by creating a soft but strong barrier between your foot and the shoe.
For less than $20, you can get a roll of adhesive moleskin to apply to your shoes for added comfort. The thin material shouldn’t have an impact on the fit of your shoe, but will provide a smooth surface in friction-prone areas.
Alleviate Painful Rubbing With Deodorant
If you don’t have a roll of moleskin on hand and are in need of immediate friction control, try using your deodorant. It sounds strange at first, but the substance will leave a smooth residue on your skin that can act as a thin barrier.
The positive impacts that deodorant has on your underarms can also apply to your feet, preventing odor and moisture. You can apply the deodorant to your feet, shoes, or both; gel deodorant may be less obvious since its clear.
Prevent Your Shoes From Squeaking With Baby Powder
Baby powder has plenty of helpful benefits when it comes to your shoes, including being one of the few solutions to the squeaky shoe sound. That squeak occurs when moisture from your foot rubs against the shoe’s smooth interior.
Baby powder absorbs that moisture while making your feet soft and smooth. This lowers the friction between your foot and the shoe, preventing any squeaking noises. The powder will also leave your feet and shoes smelling fresh!
Absorb Suede Stains With Cornmeal
The moment that a stain-causing liquid hits your suede shoes, you’ll want to attack it with some cornstarch. Resist the urge to try and rub out the stain, because that’s more likely to make it worse than anything.
Give the cornstarch at least an hour to absorb the moisture. Afterward, you can gently brush away the powder with a soft brush and you should notice the stain has lifted. You can also use baby powder as an alternative to cornstarch.
Polish Suede With A Nail File
While smooth shoe surfaces can be cleaned with a variety of liquid substances, absorbant suede requires a different approach. For scuffs marks or scratches on suede, a nail file is an inexpensive and helpful tool.
Rub the file across the fabric the way you would your nails. The fine granules will remove tiny particles in the suede, knocking off little discolorations. Afterwards, your suede shoes will look good as new and won’t require any cleanup or drying.
Clean Your Shoes With Toothpaste
Seeing that toothpaste makes your teeth clean and bright, it should come as no surprise that it can also restore the bright white of your shoes. You can just use a spare toothbrush to scrub the paste into your shoes.
If you’re using the toothpaste on the fabric parts as well, you’ll want to use a white toothpaste to avoid stains. Let the paste sit on your shoes for about ten minutes, and then remove with a damp towel.
Clean Leather With Rubbing Alcohol
You can safely clean leather shoes with rubbing alcohol by applying it to a cotton swab and blotting the stain. It’s important not to rub the stain, as that may cause it to spread around the rest of the shoe.
Once the blemish is out, give the shoe a once-over with a damp cloth and then dry it with a towel. If you want to make your shoe look good as new, add some Vaseline to make the shoes glisten and shine.
Dry Out Wet Boots By Stuffing Them With Newspaper
When you try on or buy a new pair of shoes, you’ll notice that they’re stuffed with paper that’s a similar consistency to newspaper. The paper is just malleable enough to fit into the nose of the shoe without scratching anything.
You can use this technique to dry out your boots after a day in the rain or snow. The paper will absorb the moisture over time. You can also stuff your boots to with a thick roll of newspaper to stretch out snug leg shafts.
Keep The Shape Of Your Boots With Pool Noodles
When boots are on display at stores, they typically have carboard inserts that keep their structure to prevent wrinkles and creases. Once your boats go in the closet, they may be stored in a bent position that can compromise their look.
To keep tall boots looking like they did when you bought them, try inserting pool noodles into the openings. You can cut a pool noodle in two and place a half in each boot to keep them standing tall.
Place Breakables Into Soft Shoes While Traveling
One of the worrisome parts of traveling is wondering if any of your belongings are going to be broken after being tossed around by baggage handlers. For extra cushioning, try stuffing belongings into your shoes.
Workout shoes are the ideal choice when it comes to protecting valuables since they have more cushioning. You could also try wrapping small breakables up in your clothes and then placing them in the shafts of your boots to make sure they don’t roll around in your luggage.
Use A Bread Clip To Repair Flip-Flops
While some sandals like Rainbows are more durably constructed, many of us still have a pair of inexpensive flip-flops like these lying around somewhere. The foam shoes are convenient until the soles starts to crack.
To hold the rubbery toe straps in place after years of wear and tear, try affixing a bread tag to the bottom of the shoe. The simple hack is not hard to manage, but it still is something you may not have thought of until now.
Prevent Sweaty Feet With Dry Shampoo
A popular alternative to flip-flops in the summertime are closed-toed flats, which are just as convenient to slip on and aren’t as warm as shoes that cover the whole foot. The problem is that your feet can still get sweaty.
One solution is dry shampoo, which when sprayed in the shoe can help prevent feet from sweating. This hack isn’t just convenient in summertime, but all year round with any shoes that tend to make your feet sweat.
Freshen Up Your Shoes With Teabags
While baking soda and vinegar are surefire ways to kick the odor out of your shoes, an even easier solution is tea bags. All you need to do is plop a few dry tea bags into your shoes and leave them overnight.
The best part of this alternative is that you have some say over what scent you choose. You can leave the essence of peppermint, apple & cinnamon, lavender, or any other scents behind in your shoes while elimnating unpleasant odors.
Shoe Shop Later In The Day For A More Accurate Fit
Since we’re off our feet while we sleep, by the time we wake up they’ve shrunk from the lack of pressure. Conversely, our feet swell gradually throughout the day as we walk on them and warm them up with movement.
The problem is that if you go shoe shopping shortly after waking up, you may find that a snug fit becomes nearly unbearable by evening. To save yourself the hassle of returning for a larger size, try to shop for shoes later in the day.
Tie Your Keys To Your Workout Shoes
If you enjoy a neighborhood run, you may have encountered the annoying jingle of your keys in your pocket. Alternatively, if you go to a gym, you may have experienced leaving your keys at different workout machines or in the locker room.
The point is, working out with keys on you can be a nuisance. That’s why you may find it helpful to tie your house or car key to your shoe. Tug the key into the laces so it’s secure and loop it into the lace knot so you know it’s always on you.
Shine Patent Leather Shoes With Windex
While you wouldn’t want to use Windex on a porous shoe, patent leather has an extra thick coat that provides all that gloss and makes it virtually waterproof. That’s why you can spray it down with glass cleaner and not worry about damaging the leather underneath.
Using Windex will make the shine pop and provide a surface that’s so clean, you can nearly see your reflection. To avoid leaving specks of paper towel behind, wipe the shoes down with a soft facecloth instead.
Relieve Tense Feet With A Tennis Ball
Rather than paying for a professional foot massage, you can relieve tension in your feet right at home with a tennis ball. While sitting, roll the ball around the bottom of your foot, applying as much pressure as you need.
Doing this simple trick each day can help relieve foot pain gradually so that it doesn’t build over time and become a large issue. As good as kicking your shoes off feels, it’s even better when you follow it up with a tennis ball massage.