14 Shoe Hacks That’ll Put Pep Back in Your Step

image: Imaxtree

image: Imaxtree

Pricey shoe repairs are for amateurs. We’re no MacGyver, but if you give us a hair dryer, a jar of petroleum jelly and a pair of pumps, we can hack our way out of just about any shoe dilemma. And guess what? So can you. It doesn’t take boatloads of money or hours of back-breaking tinkering, all you need is a little bit of ingenuity and a whole lot of patience. Ready to take matters into your own hands? Here are 14 super simple shoe hacks that will blow your mind. Satisfaction guaranteed. 

  1. To clean the rubber tips of your Chuck Taylors, make a paste out of baking soda and water. Add a dollop onto an old toothbrush and scrub-a-dub-dub.
  2. When your shoes are a little too snug, put on a couple pairs of socks, stuff your feet into the shoes and aim a warm hair dryer at the tight areas, while you flex your feet. Continue to wear the shoes as they cool. Repeat if necessary.
  3. Out of shoe polish? Buff dull leather with a clean cloth and a dime-size amount of lotion.
  4. Prevent blisters by rubbing a stick of deodorant where your shoes are likely to rub, like at your heels and under stiff straps.
  5. To remove scuff marks from dark patent leather, dab a cotton ball soaked in nail polish remover onto the shoe. Once the mark is gone, wipe the area with a clean cloth. Then apply a small amount of mineral oil to maintain the shine. For light patent leather, squeeze a small amount of toothpaste onto the mark and let it sit for a few minutes. Rub the toothpaste in until the scuff disappears, wipe the area clean and apply mineral oil.
  6. If your shoes smell to high heaven, DIY an odor eater. The most convenient solution is a tea bag. Place a couple inside your shoes overnight to absorb the smell. Repeat over the course of two to three nights, if needed.
  7. Salt stains on your winter boots can be a real drag. To spiff them up, gently wipe off some of the residue with a mild liquid soap and water. Then prepare a spray bottle with equal parts water and white vinegar. Shake well. Spray the mixture on the salt stains and wipe your shoes with a clean cloth. Once the stains are gone, rub in a pinch of your favorite lotion to maintain the shine.
  8. Never get tripped up by frayed shoelaces again! The next time they unravel, Scotch tape the ends. It doesn’t get easier than that.
  9. Fix squeaky shoes in five minutes flat. First, locate the problem area by walking around in your shoes in a quiet room. If the inside of your shoe squeaks, lift your insoles and sprinkle baby powder, cornstarch or baking powder. If it sounds like the base of your shoe is making noise, massage the powder into the outside seams. You can also swab a little bit of WD-40, soaked onto a cotton ball, around the outside seams of your shoes as long as it’s not suede.
  10. To waterproof your leather shoes, smear petroleum jelly onto the seams and “bake” the shoes in the oven for one hour at 300 degrees.
  11. When you’re traveling, wrap the bottom of your shoes in an old shower cap to protect your clothes.
  12. If the tips of your heels wear down, most convenience stores stock Quick Tips in three sizes and two colors (nude and black). Just slip them on and forget about it.
  13. How many times have you tried on your dream boots only to find out the shaft is squeezing the life out of your calves? Been there, done that. To stretch boot shafts, swab the inside with rubbing alcohol to loosen the leather. Then wear the boots with a couple pairs of high socks for 30 minutes. You may need to repeat the process a few times, but it’s worth it.
  14. If you don’t have a shoe closet, make your own! Just paint and mount wall molding on your bedroom walls or in your closet. Then hang your heels on the molding to clear floor space.

[ Next: How to Stretch Shoes That Are Too Tight ]