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Polishing and Cleaning shoes

As a general rule to follow, do not try to polish nubuck or suede or synthetics, these have their own cleaning and care products and using wax-based polishes will ruin the materials.

With the majority of well-made smooth leather shoes, the top leather will be dyed all the way through meaning it will take very well to shoe care products and it will be easier to make it look as good as new.

When polishing smooth leather shoes certain factors will make a big difference on how the shoe looks when you are finished. If leathers are dehydrated, they will often feel stiff and be cracked in bad cases. If this is the case with your shoes, make sure to use a re-hydrating cream before using a wax polish as it will make the leathers more supple and allow them to take the polish to greater effect.

 

The wax content of various polishes as well as how natural the substances the polish is made of will have an overall effect on the finish you will achieve. Natural materials will penetrate deeper into the leather and feed the leather more effectively. Low wax content will be easy to use and apply, however, it will not get into the scuffs often found at the toes of school shoes, and it will not last as long. A high wax content is always recommended, it may take longer to buff and work into the leather but it will always yield in a better shine that lasts longer.

When caring for nubuck and suede, (that has not already been treated such as some Timberland or Gore Tex products) it is always recommended that a protector spray is used to help prevent damage from water. For more information on waterproofing click here. If nubuck or suede gets dirty it is always best to leave it to dry naturally and then use a suede brush to clean off the dirt and for nubuck go over it with the designed rubbers for the dirt that’s harder to remove. With each brand their suede and nubuck will be slightly different so it will always be best to ask the retailer for advice on the best way to clean and protect it. It is often believed that suede and nubuck don’t wear as well as leather, however it’s just a different care process and often they can wear better than leather.

Trainers do NOT go in the washing machine.To clean trainers , or synthetics, the  best thing  to do is always let the footwear dry if wet, brush off any dirt, wipe down with a damp cloth, and then if you want to you can use a cleaning   product designed  for  use on synthetics that will not affect the integrity of the footwear.

In fact, no shoes should ever go in the washing machine unless its stated on/in the box or product that the shoes or part of the shoes are washing machine safe. For example, some Ricosta insoles are washing machine safe, as are some sandals and canvas shoes but it is always stated on the product and in the box. When it comes to trainers such as Asics, putting them in the washing machine   will begin the degradation of the glues and materials and reduce the life of the footwear significantly. It can also affect many of the foams and cushioning’s used which can easily become misshapen when exposed to detergents and being soaked through.

Bunions

While bunions can be hereditary, footwear and even socks can play a big role in how much they hurt, how severe the angle gets and even if they appear at all. More often than not all of those factors can be affected by shoe and even sock size. Bunions are also affected by certain types of gait, especially in a foot that over-pronates, and we would often recommend seeing a podiatrist in these cases.

However, when it comes to footwear fitting to either prevent the formation of, the exacerbation of, or help with the pain of bunions, certain things must be taken into consideration. Shoes without a fastening will put you at a higher risk of getting bunions and making bunions worse. Where footwear   does not have a fastening, such as high heels, slip-on pumps and loafers, the foot will have a natural tendency to slide forward in the footwear. This footwear usually has to be worn in sizes smaller than that with a fastening which means that toes can easily be restricted and squashed.

To treat bunions, a podiatrist is your first port of call. When it comes to fitting footwear, our fitters will often look a different style of footwear that will help ease pressure on the joint and allow for a natural forward movement of the foot to lessen the discomfort felt and to prevent footwear from making the bunion worse.

 

Waterproofing

Each material and shoe design will have different elements of water resistance or water proofing.

Unless a pair of shoes has a Gore tex or “own brand” tex lining it will not be rated to be water proof. These shoes with specially designed breathable linings don’t allow water to penetrate through but still allow air to flow between the layers of materials. It is therefore very important that when spraying these kinds of shoes with any further protection that the spray you are using is approved by the tex technology already in the shoes so as not to block the pours that allow the materials to breath.

With regards to trainers (mesh upper) none of this will be waterproof, sprays will most likely not have any kind of impact.

With sealed synthetics, alongside suede and nubuck, please ensure the brand of spray you are using is safe to use on those materials.

Most smooth leathers will take to most universal sprays though it is worth checking the guidelines   of your spray before use. Leather in its natural state does have an element of water resistance, it is a skin after all, however, because often it is worked in certain ways, dyed, stitched and then fastened to the sole, it can be made permeable and allow water in from certain points as none of these seams will be sealed.

Socks

When thinking about foot health and foot function socks are very important. It is very easy to restrict a growing foot by wearing socks that are too small and do not allow the toes to spread and flex properly. Just like with shoes, it should never feel like a sock is restricting what your foot naturally wants to do. Socks should be checked regularly, and can often change how they fit after washing and especially tumble drying.

For people who suffer with diabetes, or for people who have especially sensitive skin, seamless socks are available from a variety of brands. Socks should always finish higher up the leg than the highest part of the shoe, if it does not it can cause friction and possibly a blister. And just as important as both socks and shoes, baby grows if too small can also restrict little toes from spreading or encourage toe curling which is not ideal for development.

Toe Nails

Toe nails can be a real pain, especially if left too long or cut too short. Regardless of age, toe nails should be cut back to roughly 1-2mm remaining. Too long and too short both have problems that can cause a great deal of discomfort.

If you have trouble cutting your own or your children’s toe nails please feel free to book in with our chiropodist who will be more than happy to help you (chargable service). If you do regularly take care of your toe nails and are still in discomfort we advise   that you seek medical advice.

Scuff

Leather being a smooth and natural material will scuff. This goes for any item made of leather, but as shoes are in contact with an abrasive surface more often it’s more evident than on other leather goods such as handbags or belts. Leathers have different qualities, some are soft, some are thick, some are dyed through. The way a leather is treated and worked on will ultimately have an effect on how it will wear, the leather on the sole of a man’s   city work shoe is not the same type as the leather used for the lining or the upper. All this said, good quality leathers will take to care products very well. Will they scuff? Yes. Does the price you pay mean they will scuff more or less? No.

Some leathers will not show scuffs, for example suede or nubuck will show signs of wear, but can be buffed, patent leather is more difficult to scratch, but not impossible. Shoes are more likely to scuff if they are worn for a purpose they are not designed for. Scuffing is not a manufacturing fault as it’s a natural progression of a natural material, it can just be expedited by certain activities.

If shoes do scuff, using a high wax content polish will bring them back up to a good shine. The majority of black shoes we stock will be leather uppers that are dyed through so they take to wax polish very well. Using  a lower wax content will buff  the  shoes, but it will not get  into the grain of the  leather as much as the  higher  wax content, so if you are finding  that shoes that maybe took 2-3 weeks to show  signs of scuff have now  started scuffing weekly or  daily, perhaps a higher wax content polish is the next thing to try.

Blisters

Blisters are caused by heat generated through friction. They are the bodies defence mechanism when the skin breaks from damage through heat so that new skin can form.

Various things can cause blisters, the most common in relation to footwear is on the heel. This occurs when the heel of the foot is able to move up and down because it is not secure in the shoe. It can often be more prevalent in people with narrow feet, and with shoes that have not been fitted professionally to ensure that there is no movement before purchase.

Blisters on the toes can be caused if footwear is getting too small or worn too loose and the foot is sliding back and forth. This back and forth movement can also cause blistering under the foot, especially if using an orthotic. 

If you do get a blister, we highly recommend you use Compeed Blister Plasters, we have tried many different brands and they really are a lot better. Do not pop the blister, it’s there to protect the damaged and inflamed area underneath and will go away itself once the new skin under the blister has formed. If you are unsure what has caused the blister please come in with the shoes (and the feet) and we will happily give our best advice.

Covid-19 Guidelines

The 2 most important things to remember for your visit to Precious Soles.

Please ensure that everyone coming into the shop is wearing a face mask. This applies to anyone aged 6 years or older unless exempt from wearing a mask in which case please be as protected as possible.

Please bring an extra pair of clean socks to change into in the store for every pair of feet we are fitting. This is to make sure there is no bacteria transmitted from existing footwear to new footwear.