Beautiful shoes for tango dancers and brides
With regular care your shoes will last a long time. Try and inspect them regularly for wear and tear. Let them air out after wearing and try to store in a ventilated box or on a shelf, not at the bottom of a shoe pile! Here's my top tips:
For suede uppers, marks can be gently removed using a suede eraser and brush. You can get these from cobblers and home supply shops. There's lots of advice online about using a pencil eraser or a nail file but I wouldn't recommend it. Normal erasers can leave greasy spots and nail files damage the suede itself. Don't be tempted to use soap and water to clean suede as this may ruin them! It's a good idea to treat suede with a protective spray every few months to reduce the impact of stains and scuffs. Scotchgard Leather, Canvas and Suede is good. Make sure you follow the instructions on the product and use in a well ventilated room.
Leather uppers can be cleaned with a damp cloth and a tiny bit of gentle soap if needed. Take care not to saturate seams and stitching. Let them dry naturally as heat can distort the shape. Buff to a shine with a shoe brush and use a leather cream if needed.
These can feel a bit 'sticky' when dancing. The inside of patent heels and toes can rub together as you move and the friction makes them stick. If this becomes a problem, apply a little bit of vaseline or a solid moisturiser stick to the surface of the shoes at these friction points, avoiding the stitching, sole and fabric trims. This enables the shoes to glide over one another.
Patent leather can be cleaned with a small amount of gentle soap and a damp cloth. Once dry, buff with a soft cloth.
Satin, silk, velvet and lace
Fabric uppers can be cleaned very carefully by dabbing (not rubbing) stains with a cloth and a tiny bit of gentle soap. Dry immediately with a hair dryer on a cool setting to avoid leaving a water mark. If in any doubt, take to a professional shoe cleaner.
Suede soles can be restored using a special suede brush. These stiff wire brushes remove sticky spots and bring up the fluffy nap of the suede. For leather soles, dark spots can be scraped off using an old credit card or blunt knife. Any remaining stains can be cleaned using cotton wool and a non-water based fluid such as gentle nail polish remover. The PU soles of sneakers can be cleaned with a wet wipe or a damp cloth and mild soap. Be careful not to saturate the edge of the sneaker where it meets the sole.
Heel tips on all shoes will eventually wear down and are easily replaced by a cobbler. You can even replace them yourself with a few tools (check YouTube for how-to videos). Never let the tips wear down to the metal spike inside the heel before replacing them as it will damage the shoe, the floor and your balance! Keep an eye on the angle at which your heel tips wear - if they are at a sharp angle your ankles and axis may be affected so get the tips replaced.
Plastic heel covers for Very Fine shoes are available in the shop.