Shipping to
United States
  • Words by Mr Peter Henderson, Senior Fashion
    & Social Media Writer, MR PORTER

Shoes have the power to make or break an outfit, and are frequently cited as one of the first things that a woman clocks about a man's appearance. Square-toed, artificial leather monstrosities have no place in a stylish man's wardrobe, but high-quality, well-proportioned, handmade pairs - which will quite literally last for a lifetime if cared for correctly - most certainly do. Click through the gallery, above, to see six of our favourite pairs that fit the bill, or continue reading, below, to discover how to prolong the life of your favourite footwear.

MR PORTER's guide to making
your shoes last a lifetime

  • 01. Whenever leather or suede shoes are not being worn, they should be stored with a pair of natural (unvarnished) wood shoetrees inside them so they retain their shape and any moisture is drawn out.

  • 02. After each wear, wipe off any surface soiling with a soft cloth before putting the shoetrees inside your shoes.

  • 03. Do not wear the same pair of shoes two days in a row: each pair should always have at least one day off to "rest" between wears.

  • 04. Avoid getting caught in the rain, particularly in new shoes. Consider investing in a pair of rubber over-shoe galoshes, or changing into your good shoes when you reach your destination.

  • 05. If your shoes do get wet, put newspaper inside them and let them dry out naturally (on their sides so the air can circulate). Do not place them by a direct heat source, or attempt to cream or wax them while they're still damp.

  • 06. Don't despair if the soles of your shoes, whether leather or rubber, wear out. A good cobbler can resole Goodyear-welted pairs for you. Some people like to have rubber toe and/or heel-caps pre-emptively added to leather-soled shoes.

  • 07. Always use a shoe horn when you're putting your shoes on, and be sure to remove them with care to avoid misshaping the leather at the back of the shoes.

  • 08. Polish your shoes regularly (it should become a ritual) or visit a professional shoe shine often. For DIY guidance, see our video with London-based expert Mr Justin FitzPatrick.