The Gentleman’s Guide to Shoes and Shoe Care

I would say that a good shoe is exactly like a good wine. These shoes are going to stay and last for a long time – Christian Louboutin

shoe care tips


Every type of shoe requires special attention, proper care, and maintenance. Just think about it for a second – What is the first thing that you notice when you meet someone for the first time? It’s their shoes right? I’m sure majority of you would agree with me on this one.

Camille Lavington once said, “If you don’t take care of your shoes, that’s a good sign that you don’t take care of your business”.

Your shoes are your signatures. People can assess your personality based on the kind of shoes you are wearing and how clean you keep those shoes.

So today we are going to be discussing 7 Shoe Care Tips: How To Wear And Take Better Care Of Your Shoes. This is our gentlemen’s guide to shoes and shoe care.



7 Shoe Care Tips: How To Wear And Take Better Care Of Your Shoes


#1. Keep your Shoes Clean Always

shoe care kit shoe care tips

Most men overlook this a lot. They polish their shoes only once every week, some others polish once every month. A few others polish every morning just before they leave for work and then wear it all day in the sandy, dirty and muddy ground without cleaning and proper care.

These are all WRONG!! You should always keep your shoes clean, well shined and free of dirt at all times. Invest in pocket size shoe polish sponge, this will always keep your shoe clean.

shoe care tips

For Patent Leather shoes: You can prevent them from cracking by rubbing them occasionally with petroleum jelly, milk or olive oil.

Simply apply cold-pressed nut oil, olive oil or beeswax to leather and buff with a cloth. Warning: Do this for only black leathers, if you apply these to a brown leather or any other color, it will leave stains.

For suede shoes: First of all whatever you do never clean a suede shoe with water. Use a suede brush to scrub the stain. For

  • For already dried stain, use a soft cloth to gently rub the area and then use an eraser to clean off the stain. After this step, brush the stained area with your suede brush.
  • For oily stain, sprinkle the stain with talcum powder/baby powder as quickly as possible to absorb the oil. Leave it on it for an hour, then use a toothbrush to scrub off the stain.
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For white sneakers, you should check out our guide on how to clean white sneakers.

Related: The Eight Golden Rules of Shoe Care by Salvatore Ferragamo


#2. Don’t wear the same pair of shoes every day. Avoid warped and out of shape shoes

It is advisable to have at least two pairs of dress shoes in the same color so you can let one pair rest for a day from sweat and stretch.

So if you already have one black shoe, buy an extra black and if you have one brown shoe, double it up as well.  Doing this prevents them from warping in unwanted ways.

shoe care tips

Extra Tip: To ensure your shoe maintains the best form, place shoe trees in your shoes when you’re not wearing them. Using shoe trees will also help you absorb the excess moisture thereby extending your shoe life.

When you are traveling, stuff your socks into the shoe to retain the shape, then wrap each shoe in clothing items to keep them in good shape throughout your trip.

#3. Check your shoe soles and heels often.

shoe care tips

Never wear your shoes until the soles or heels are completely worn out or damaged. If you see major scuffing or wear marks on the heel or sole region, you need to fix that immediately.

If the upper part of your shoe starts cracking, that’s a good sign that the shoes have truly reached the end of their life. You shouldn’t bother fixing it, rather you should change it.

However, if the soles or heels are getting worn out, please meet a cobbler for a quick repair or fix.

#4. Pack your shoes carefully

shoe care tips

Each time you wear a pair of shoes, clean with a dry cloth and then air out to allow the moisture to dry away. Also, stack your shoes away from light, heat, and dust an avoid them rubbing on each other.

The best option is to store in the original shoe box. Once it’s clean and dry, you should put them in a drawstring and store in the box.

#5. Never Go Sockless. Always wear the right socks with your shoe

shoe care tips

First of all, you should always wear socks with your shoe to avoid foot odor which can stink up your shoes. If you are wearing loafers, pairing your shoes with shorts or you intend your socks not to show – go for no-show socks instead.

When it comes to leather shoes, wear dark colored cotton or silk socks. By all means, avoid white athletic socks, it should be used only for sporting activities.

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Stick to navy or black casual socks or better still men’s dress socks when wearing dress shoes, they come in different varieties, such as colorful, polka dot, funky and fun types.

#6. Avoid square-toed shoes by all means

shoe care tips

Clunky Square-toed shoes were so popular in the 90s, fashion has now strayed far away from this non-classic look.

They’ll probably never come back into fashion so if you still have them in your shoe closet, please discard them and get some slimmer and much more attractive shoes.

RelatedThe 3 Shoes Every Gentleman Should Own 

#7. Ensure your shoe color matches your belt color

shoe care tips

This cannot be over-emphasized, the only exception is when you are wearing a casual outfit. If you are wearing dress shoes, make sure the color of your dress shoe matches the color of your belts (for all professional occasions).

Also, the finish of your shoes and belts need to match. In other words, if your shoes are shiny, your belt should be shiny as well. If you’re wearing casual shoes or sneakers, make sure you wear a thicker casual belt to match instead of a thin dress belt.



Ensure you Pick The Right Shoes For Your Suit Color

Even though your shoe is perfect for the occasion, it might not be the perfect color for the suit you are wearing and this alone can change the entire look of your outfit, making it less than perfect.

We’ve written an article completely dedicated to how to match your suit and your shoes, here it is A Guide To Matching Your Suit and Your Shoes.


Now let’s look at shoe types for different occasions.


Please note that there are over hundred types and styles of shoes, but let’s look at only the most common types.

The style guide chart below from MenFash, summarizes the most common types of shoes and what it should be worn on.

shoe care tips

Shoe Style Guide


PS: For shoe types for native wear attires such as Kaftans, Dashiki, and the likes, see Ultimate Guide to Men’s Native Wears-What to Wear & What Not to Wear


I leave you with the quote from Camille Lavington – author of “You’ve Only Got Three Seconds – How to Make the Right Impression in Your Business and Social Life”.


Please feel free to drop your comments and contributions on the comment section below and share the story as well by clicking any of the share buttons below.

Do you have a “shoe story”? Has wearing nice shoes open doors of opportunities for you? Do share your experience with us.

If you will like to contact us, please send us an email You can find us on Twitter, Instagram, Google+ and Facebook. Feel free to join us on any of the channels you frequently use as we continuously inspire you on how to dress well and live well.

Thank you so much for stopping by. Till you hear from me again, Take Care!

Yours in Style,

Kobi O. Mbagwu (Mr. Kobi)
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Mr. Kobi

I am Mr. Kobi, a professional style consultant, menswear blogger & entrepreneur who uses fashion to change people’s lives. My personal goal is to help gentlemen dress better, live well, do well and develop a unique personal style that matches with their lifestyle and goals. I believe that success can be built through style. I believe that fashion is a tool that can be used to change people’s lives positively. I strongly believe that if you dress well, you look good, and if you look good, you feel good and when you feel good, you worry less, and the less you worry the more you are able to stay motivated and focused in your goals pursuit and by so doing you are able to live a more fulfilling and successful life.