Have you just forked out a small fortune on school shoes? Me too. The good thing is I have a few tricks up my sleeve to take care of your kid’s school shoes, so they last longer.

It’s back-to-school season. You’ve got the school uniform, the school supplies, and then you’ve spent an eye-watering amount of money on school shoes. Whilst kids are not known for their respect for footwear, the good news is that with a little bit of love and care, you can make your kid’s school shoes last as long as they fit in them.

How To Take Care of School Shoes So They Last Longer

Picture of school shoes on desk with stationery, and a blue text box that says how to take care of school shoes so they last longer.

Here are six tips I use to prolong the life of my kids’ shoes:

Label Them

Kids are notorious for losing stuff. When it comes to PE time, it’s easy for shoes to get lost or mixed up with others. Add a name label to the inside of each shoe, or simply write their name using a permanent marker on the inside. When this starts to fade, make sure to re-write their name. This is the first step in this guide because you can’t care for your school shoes and make them last longer if they are lost!

Use A Waterproof Spray To Make Them Last Longer

Waterproofing your school shoes is essential to help keep the elements out, and to keep them looking their best for longer. Water causes leather to shrink and it may dry the leather out over time, so it really pays to waterproof them.

Before you reach for any old waterproofing spray, bear in mind that some waterproof shoe sprays are better than others. Look for a PFC-free and fluorine-free waterproof shoe spray.

PFC stands for per- and poly-fluorinated chemicals, that are used to weatherproof clothing and shoes. This sounds innocuous, however, these chemicals accumulate in the environment. In fact, for some PFCs there is evidence that they cause harm to both the hormonal and reproductive systems in both humans and animals, as well as being carcinogenic. They’re often referred to as forever chemicals, because of how persistent they are in the environment. Greenpeace has written more on the issues of PFCs if you wish to find out more.

I’ve been using this PFC-free spray from Wildling Shoes. In the interests of full disclosure, this was gifted to me as part of a previous campaign I worked with them on but was under no obligation to include them in this post. I reapply this spray on a regular basis for best results: it’s not something you can spray on once.

If They Do Get Wet, Dry Them Properly

Kids’ shoes get wet, these things happen. When their shoes do get wet, don’t dry them on a radiator or other heat source, or in a tumble dryer. Instead, the best way to care for your kid’s school shoes is to crumple up sheets of newspaper into balls, and pop them into the shoes. Then allow the shoes to dry naturally. The newspaper will absorb the water, and won’t cause the leather to crack or dry out.

Care for Your School Shoes with Polish

School shoes get scuffed. It’s a fact of life. The easiest way to care for them is to buy a scuff cover. These products quickly and easily cover scuff marks, and help restores colour and shine, to help keep your shoes looking smarter for longer. I don’t have any specific recommendations yet – I’m trying out a few different ones. However, I will update in due course which ones I feel work the best. If you have any recommendations then I’m all ears!

Tackle Nasty Niffs Naturally

If your kid’s shoes start to develop an unpleasant odour, then fear not. You can tackle these bad smells naturally with bicarbonate of soda. Simply sprinkle in a little bit of bicarbonate of soda (enough to cover the insole). The next morning, empty out the bicarbonate of soda. The odour should be gone.

Keep Them Clean

To care for your kid’s school shoes, don’t let dirt and mud settle on them. Giving them a good wipe, with a soft damp cloth, at least once a week (or more) helps the dirt from becoming ingrained. Occasionally you may want to bust out the leather cleaner. I’m working on a homemade leather cleaner as we speak. In the meantime, shop-bought leather cleaners can easily be picked up. I like to use a soft brush and cloth, in conjunction with the wax to really get them clean and keep them conditioned.

Any further tips on taking care of kid’s school shoes? Do pop them in the comments below!

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