I'm a footwear expert… six simple ways including my eraser hack to make sure your kids' school shoes last all year | The Sun
ON the morning of the first day back to school, our little ones always appear immaculate – but within hours they can look like they've been dragged through a hedge backwards.
It can be frustrating, especially when you're forced to fork out for new uniform just weeks into the term.
It's not cheap, and according to Sports Direct, the average child goes through three pairs of school shoes every year.
Here, Shoe Lab footwear expert Luke Goodyear shares his six top tips to make them last for as long as possible to save some cash.
He says: "Children’s school shoes take a beating, from pounding the playground and kicking a football to getting covered in mud from the school field.
"However, there are plenty of ways to get the most life out of them."
It's not uncommon for children’s school shoes to become scuffed or scratched after days of running and playing during each school day.
Luke says: "These might appear to be the most difficult part of the shoe to repair but there’s plenty of easy ways that only require our cupboard essentials.
“For small scuff marks, particularly on suede or leather and black school shoes, we’d recommend borrowing your child’s rubber from their pencil case.
"Using small circular movements, gently apply the rubber to the affected area to polish any scuff marks, rubbing away any debris with a clean cloth once completed.
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“For areas that have seen more damage, grab your baking soda from the kitchen and mix one to two tablespoons with enough warm water to create a paste consistency.
"Once the paste is ready, apply to a cloth and gently rub over the affected area.
"Once you’re happy with the surface, use a damp cloth to go over the area and remove any excess paste.”
Whether your child is wearing traditional school shoes or smart black trainers, most good quality shoes are commonly made of leather, canvas or suede.
These are materials that can be subject to wear and tear if not protected properly.
Luke says: "It’s incredibly important to make sure you’ve treated the material of the shoes before they’re exposed to any outdoor elements, such as gravel, mud or grass.
"For school shoes, we’d recommend investing in a shoe protector which should be applied before their first wear and repeated every six weeks.
"But, always make sure the shoes are clean before applying a protector.
"Investing in a leather or suede protector will save you money in the long run, as the price of new school shoes far outweighs the cost of the protector.
"Plus, it’s not too late to start using this if you haven’t before, just make sure to clean the surface of the shoe before you begin."
Give dirt the brush off
To get rid of dirt and grime, you just need a small brush – an old toothbrush will do.
Luke says: “Make sure that you wipe over the shoe with a mild disinfectant and a damp cloth.
"For mud and grit stains, take a shoe brush or an old toothbrush and begin to gently sweep away any dirt, starting at the sole of the shoe.
"Often, there’s small stones stuck within the grooves, so don’t be afraid to apply more pressure here.
“Using small circular motions, move onto the front of the shoe to lift any remaining grease or grit, making sure to have a damp cloth to hand to wipe away any of the excess."
Freshen up the inside
It's all very well and good making the outside look all shiny and new – but don't neglect the inside of the shoe too.
Luke says: "A lot of people tend to focus on the overall appearance of school shoes and forget to clean the inside, which is crazy when you think about the fact that they’re being worn for at least six hours a day, five days a week.
“Since children do a lot of running and walking in their school shoes, it can cause their feet to sweat and in turn, cause the shoes to lose their freshness.
"One way to tackle this is to apply a mild soap, such as washing up liquid, to a damp cloth and work it into the inner shoe.
"It’s important not to saturate the shoe when doing this, so make sure to ring out the cloth fully before starting and air dry the shoes for at least 24 hours before re-wearing."
Add laces to your next laundry load
To revive a tired looking pair of trainers, remove the laces.
Luke says: "One very simple tip, if the shoes have laces, is to fully remove them from both shoes, soak the laces in warm soapy water for a few minutes, then squeeze the dirt and muck out.
"Once this is done, put them in the washing machine with your next load.
"Not only will this deep clean the parts of the laces that you once couldn't’ access, it’ll give the shoes a moment to breathe."
There is nothing more annoying than having to buy a new pair of shoes because the velcro is busted – but if you keep it clean, you can eliminate this issue.
Luke says: "Many school shoes have velcro fastenings because they’re child-friendly and easy to use, but the deliberately sticky material can be tricky to keep clean.
"After a long week at school, velcro fastenings can become gathered with dust, hair, string, grass and other fiddly items.
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“One way to remove these is to grab your tweezers and pick out the obvious pieces of dirt, before using a comb or old toothbrush to remove any further dust or debris.
"Alternatively use a small wire brush to rub dirt away from Velcro.”
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