Mud. Rain. Gravel… Sometimes we need to save our shoes from the dangers of the world. But other times we need to save our feet from our shoes. In a perfect world all shoes – expensive ones in particular – would be gentle and comfy right from the box. But sadly this just isn’t the case. Stiff leather, rough edges, and poor arch support are just a few of the hazards that can accompany a new pair of shoes.
The important thing to remember is just because a shoe starts uncomfortably doesn’t mean it has to stay that way. A little bit of cleverness and elbow grease can do wonders to reduce the wear&tear a new pair of shoes might do to your feet.
You might recall from our review of the Maribella City Sandal from Michael Michael Kors that the leather strap uppers were pretty brutal on Corleen’s feet. On further inspection, not only was the strap leather particularly stiff, but the underside featured a pretty nasty ridge along the edge that may as well have been custom-designed for blister formation. Most likely this ridge was a side-effect of the leather cutting process. It’s unfortunate, but is easily fixed with a little hand finishing.
To start I ran my fingers along the inside of the sandals to identify where the ridges were at their worst. Then I gently wore the ridges away with a small, curve-faced file. This quickly removed the ridges and left a noticeably smoother surface on the inside, although it did result in some tan leather “dust” clinging visibly along the edges of the straps. Most likely no one would notice, but even so I cleaned it up by gently rubbing some fine grit (P220) sandpaper along the inner edges.
To finish the process I wanted to soften the leather a bit. Cadillac Boot&Shoe Care lotion came highly recommended by our local cobbler, so I applied a small amount along the insides of the straps. I didn’t want to use too much since we don’t want to stretch the leather out. But a little bit – especially along the edges – should help break the shoes in faster.
On initial testing, Corleen noticed an immediate difference in the shoe’s comfort. With very little effort we were able to give these otherwise unwearable sandals a chance to join her rotation. Time will tell how my fixes hold up, and I’ll be sure and let you know!