Spring is just around the corner and, shortly, it will be okay to wear your best open-toe shoes and strappy sandals. If they have been in storage (or a clutter-filled closet), they may require some repair or preventive maintenance so you can put your best foot forward.
First, get all of your summer shoes in one place. Assess your collection? Do you have enough (in good or salvageable condition) to get you through the season? If not, write down any pressing purchases. This may be the only time when all of your heels and pumps can be easily inventoried, so do it and identify gaps. (Personally, I recommend flat and heeled sandals in both black and brown, a pair of open-toe dress heels, and one or two fun pair of wedges or platforms.)
After assessing your needs, identify any necessary repairs. Shoe polish and waterproofing will be covered later. Right now, look for missing buckles, broken heels, loose stitching, peeling shoe liners, etc. With some shoe glue, you may be able to make some quick repairs. Other damages may require a professional, which can be found in most strip malls. (Check your yellow pages for local providers. In my experience, they are typically affordable and honest about possible repairs.) And, finally…sadly, other pairs of shoes should be discarded (memorial service optional).
Next, dust and polish your warm-weather footwear. After 6+ months in a closet, they are surely dusty, dirty, and covered with cat fur. (Some of you know exactly what I’m talking about.) There are wipes available for this purpose, or you can use a damp, soft cloth. (As a reminder, water should not be used on your suede Steve Madden 3-inch platform wedges…or any suede.)
Finally, spot clean any dirt or blemishes on canvas and cloth shoes. Polish and buff your shoes according to the instructions provided on the polish. Again, use resources like your shoe doctor for recommendations on polish. And, splurge a little. A better polish covers smudges and scuffs more effectively than a watery, “quick-application” polish. Plus, it has a longer shelflife, allowing you to save it (and money) next season.
Putting your best foot forward can be easy, by investing a few hours and a couple dollars. And, the money you save by repairing, rather than replacing, your strappy sandals will be well-spent on a spa pedicure with wax dip and neutral nail polish, I’m sure.