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Summer closet reboot: 5 ways to make your shoes last longer

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HUSTON – A lot of us think of shoes as disposable. You wear them out and then replace them. But Elias Gonzalez of Houston Quality Shoe Repair says you would be replacing them far less often if you took a few extra steps in the first few days that you got them.

"A lot of time our mistake is throwing shoes away without asking someone if can they be fixed," Gonzalez told consumer expert Amy Davis. 

With 30 years experience in the shoe business, Gonzalez can do a lot to keep your boots, heels or dress shoes stepping, but he says we shouldn't wait until they're falling apart to ask for help. 

There are heel savers to protect the heels of your shoes and toe savers that keep your pointy-toed shoes from creasing at the top. They're $4.95 for both shoes. Sole savers cover the entire bottom of your leather-soled shoes. They start at $24.95.

"The great part about a sole saver is when it wears out or gets smooth or gets slippery, whatever the case is, we can just peel it, then put another one on," Gonzalez explained.  

At home, Gonzalez recommends you use cedar shoe trees in your shoes when you take them off. They help absorb moisture from sweat. Crumpled newspaper will do the same for much cheaper, but you'll need to replace it often. 

Scotch Guard or waterproof new shoes to repel dirt and water. It will make them easier to clean later. When you do clean your shoes,never submerge them under water or wash them in the washing machine and dryer. 

Let them dry naturally, suspended, if possible. 

"Cause if you let it dry like that," Gonzalez demonstrated, holding the shoe flat, "all the water sucks in it and it doesn't have a way to run away. Then it creates a problem. You gotta get that water out."

You can stretch the life of any of your leather shoes by getting them reconditioned or moisturized. 

"Because when they dry, they get wrinkles," said Gonzalez. "When they get wrinkles, they crack." 
The most common and least expensive fix Gonzalez makes is replacing the heel cap on high heel shoes. He charges $8.95 for a pair.