Tips on Elevating the Comfort of Dress Shoes
By Adeline J.Wells
Luxury dress shoes often get a bad rap for being uncomfortable to wear. Popular designs are commonly constructed from sturdy, high quality leather that don’t give way for flexibility, nor conform to the foot in ways that other materials do. Here are a few simple ways to make your dress shoes more enjoyable to wear:
While they may sound old and unfashionable, the addition of insoles can significantly upgrade the comfortability of your dress shoes; a much more cost-efficient alternative to resoling altogether. Insoles provide arch support that is mostly absent in dress shoes, as well as adding additional cushion. Most dress shoes have very form-fitting designs that don’t leave much room for expansion. For this reason, consider finding a set of short insoles to keep in your pair of shoes; soles around ⅔ inch should be able to reasonably fit inside narrow molds.
Just like our bodies, leather shoes need stretch in order to remain limber, soft, and equipped to work correctly! The easiest way to do this is to purchase a shoe tree; while designed to hold the shoe’s shape, they are an excellent option to gently stretch the leather as well. Shoe trees are typically made of cedar wood; with a light, clean fragrance, this wood also contains antibacterial properties that help keep the shoes smelling fresh.
Another way to keep the leather supple is to condition it well with a leather conditioner containing lanolin. Made from sheep’s wool, lanolin is a natural wax that is deeply moisturizing to leather without damaging its hue. As the leather’s oils are nourished, the leather softens so that it may better conform to the foot, and is thus more comfortable. Conditioners are best applied with a soft cloth post-cleaning, while the leather is still slightly damp.
Upgrade Your Socks
If you are hesitant about trying to alter the leather altogether, consider making a simple swap in the quality and material of your socks. Merino wool socks are a favorite for all types of footwear as they are moisture-wicking, keeping feet dry and smelling fresh even after long periods of wear. Ranging in weaves and weight, thin pairs work remarkably well with dress shoes, and the high quality material deters tears and thinning. Whether you opt for a simple, solid color or a patterned design, merino wool socks will ensure that you don’t have to sacrifice comfort for high style.