Why You Should Restore Your Old Shoes

How to restore old shoes

A man’s or woman’s shoes are a reflection of who they are. We pick from options like wingtip and stiletto amongst many other to define our character and walk with pride. In essence our shoes say a lot about us and you certainly don’t have to spend a fortune to get footwear that tells the world you’ve made it.  If you have an old leather pair, (or even suede or canvas) a little effort and insider knowledge is all you need to go from tattered to dazzling.

Here’s a few methods and ideas on why you should restore your old shoes.

Why You Should Restore Your Old Shoes

Hoard your shoes

Ok not literally, we’ve all seen the shows… BUT a great pair of shoes doesn’t come along very often. When chance has it that you’ve found that beautiful combination of comfort and style, your heart literally aches when you have to finally slip them into the circular file. Fortunately, whether you’re dealing with flats, sneakers, heels, sandals, hiking shoes, or even an old pair of leather shoes that you’d like to look new -you’ve got options.

Don’t buy new. There are ways to clean, patch, and reinforce your way to new-looking footwear, no matter what kind of shape they may be in. You’ll need a few tools and a good attitude and the party can get started. Those boots that were made for walkin’ can avoid the forsaken and abandoned.

Restoring leather shoes

If your old leather shoes have weathered rain, snow, water, sun and more then you are not alone; this is a common problem for men and women. That favorite pair of shoes will get beat up more than most. Over the years, even the best quality shoes can become a little tired-looking. You can carefully clean your shoes to transform them and it will also bring areas of repair opportunity out. Start with these tips:

  • Use a brush with soft bristles to remove all traces of surface dirt, dust, mud and debris.

  • Wash your shoes with a moisturizing saddle soap. This is actually good for the leather and will remove excess wax from previous polishes.

  • Stuff your shoes with newspaper and allow them to air-dry. Don’t put them near a radiator or in direct sunlight.

Once your shoes are clean and dry, you’re ready for the next step in the rejuvenating process.

Polishing your leather shoes

There’s no magic here. All you need is a tin of good quality polish, a little moisture and a soft cloth and you’re off and running. You know you love to display them as much as wear them, so go on now… polish like you’ve never polished before.

  • Wrap part of the cloth around your index finger.

  • Dip your finger in the polish and use your digit to apply polish to the shoe.

  • Cover a small patch at a time, working in a circular motion.

  • When you feel the area becoming a little rough, add some water. We recommend dabbing the cloth on a wet sponge rather than the age-old method of spitting!

  • Keep building up layers of polish, adding water as necessary, until you get a lustrous sheen.

  • Persevere until you have a smooth even shine.

Why You Should Restore Your Old Shoes

Dyeing your leather shoes

If your shoes are badly scuffed and polishing looks like it isn’t going to be enough, you can use dye to restore them to new. With a bit of time and effort, you can even add some custom finishes like an ‘antiqued’ toe.

It’s vital to make sure that your shoes are completely free from polish, soap, wax or oil before you start, otherwise the dye will not be properly absorbed by the leather. You can buy a specialist stripper product to do the job.

So you’ll choose your color and have to remember that if you’re dyeing shoes you must always go darker. Brown or burgundy to black is fine, but it’s harder to dye black shoes a lighter color – the black will always show through the dye.

  • Chose your shoe dye with care – it’s good to read reviews before you buy!

  • Use a small, fine brush to apply the dye.

  • Apply the dye to small areas of the shoe at a time, until the whole shoe is evenly covered.

  • Allow to shoe to dry for at least twenty four hours.

  • Carefully re-touch small areas or apply another coat of dye if the coverage isn’t even.

  • Lock the color in with a good polish.

It takes some time and attention, but you can achieve a rich, vibrant brand new shoe if you are determined. You can also resole your leather shoes! Not many people take on this task themselves, though it is DIY compatible if you really want. There are great resources on Youtube to aid you in your quest.

Image source:  parisiangentleman.co.uk

Restoring Suede and Canvas Shoes

Not every shoe you love is leather. You may have a pair of Vans or Chuck Taylors that are like comfort food when you slip them on. These can be restored as well to deliver a few more years of satisfaction.

Before & After Images found on instructables.com

Before & After Images found on instructables.com

If you really want, you can round up toothpaste, steel wool, a plastic scrubber and your utility sink. You can apply the toothpaste onto the steel wool and scrub the dickens out of the soles and suede/canvas. You probably won’t hurt it. This process can be repeated until the light of day starts to emerge and then rinse them under the water.


Do you have old shoes that need a little love?

Color Glo international and Color Glo franchisees world-wide are specialists in color restoration and repair of leather garments, accessories and furniture. Our European franchisees specialize in restoring purses and shoes. Our work is permanent and environmentally safe. Color Glo specialists use non-flammable, odorless, water-based products that dry quickly.

Keep your investment for years to come. Revitalize. Restore. Save money. Contact us today for more information.