Get your feet and footwear ready for spring! (2024 edition)

How much do you spend each year buying shoes?

As a nation, we appreciate good quality footwear. Of the US$5.83bn forecast to be spent on footwear in Canada, the majority will be for leather footwear, with Canadian sales totalling US$2.53bn. Ontario leads the way on spending on all types of footwear except athletic footwear. (That honour goes to British Columbia whose households spent an average of $234 on athletic footwear in 2021.)

There is an increasing demand for sustainable and locally-made footwear, coupled with a desire to repair and restore footwear more too. At the last count in December 2021, there were 463 footwear and leather goods repair stores nationwide, mostly in Ontario and Quebec.

And the reason we’re telling you all this is that it’s likely you’ll be pulling out last year’s summer shoes and dusting them down for use again this year.

Nothing wrong with reusing and up-cycling shoes, and it’s eco-friendly and cost-effective too. The issue is that your summer selection of sneakers, sandals and sports shoes may not have been properly cleaned or prepared for their long winter hibernation. They may not fit as well as they used to, and may need repairs before wearing.

So here are our top five tips on bringing your spring and summer footwear (and summer muscles) back to life for spring and summer 2024.

1. Inspect your shoes

Take a good look at your shoes.

  • Are the heels worn or show signs of uneven wear?
  • For leather shoes, are the side seams or uppers cracked?
  • Do your shoes still fit your feet?

Try all your shoes on. Walk about in them for a few minutes, to soften them up if required, then check they still fit properly and support your foot. If they feel loose, or they let your feet turn either inwards or outwards, it’s time to recycle them (if possible) or dispose of them, and invest in a new pair.

2. Give a little TLC

For footwear that still fit your feet well and are in good condition, it’s time to give each pair a little TLC.

  • Clean off last year’s mud and sand from running shoes, sandals and beach shoes
  • Replace any worn shoelaces on athletics shoes and sneakers
  • Feed leather shoes with a good quality shoe cream or polish
  • Refresh nubuck with a stiff brush before waterproofing
  • Check the heels and soles on dress shoes

If your leather shoes are basically sound but the stitching has gone at the seams, or they need a new sole, get them repaired. A quality repair at your local shoe repair shop by a traditional cobbler may not be cheap. However, it should save you a lot of money over the cost of replacing them brand new, especially if they are hand-made. After all, we need to help keep those 463 footwear repair stores in business!

3. The sniff text

Wear each pair of shoes for five minutes, then take them off and sniff. Chances are they are remarkably smelly after just a few minutes. This is due to the bacteria which have lain dormant over the winter and have just reactivated with the heat and humidity of your feet.

It’s important that you start out in spring with the cleanest footwear possible both inside and out. This helps avoid contamination that can lead to a range of food complaints from athletes foot to fungal toenails.

You can have a professional foot care clinic like ours deoderize your shoes, leaving them fresh and bacteria free for the summer. Once that’s done, you should make every effort to keep your shoes clean, dry and aired all through spring and summer, to keep them bacteria-free as possible.

4. Get a better fit in every shoe

Our feet change over time and as we age. So the shoe size or shape that used to suit us may not fit our feet anymore. Equally, our gait (the way we walk) may have changed, and we are not longer as balanced on ur feet as we used to be. This can lead to sore feet when walking or standing, heel pain (plantar fasciitis) and other posture-related pain.

Custom orthotics are custom-made insoles that slip into almost any stye of footwear. Custom-made to the exact shape of your feet, these correct your foot alignment and improve your gait. Contact us for more information or read more here.

5. Warm up your muscles

Just as your footwear has spent much of the winter resting, so have some of your summer sports muscles. Rushing out to walk, hike, bike or do some gardening can result in pulled muscles and tendons that you simply don’t use in winter activities.

Take time to gently stretch your leg and foot muscles before exercise, and ensure that your leg and foot muscles are kept warm both during and after sports. The sun may feel warm when you’re moving, but a spring breeze can quickly cool muscles down faster than required.

Wearing long gently compression running socks can help both your circulation and your muscles on those spring runs and hikes. More details here.

Foot pain, pulled muscle or other feet issues?

Contact us. The experienced team at Hunt Footcare can help with the treatment of sports injuries, sprains and strains, as well as skin issues and sore heels. We can also fit you with custom orthotics that will hep prevent future foot injuries or strain due to uneven gait or weight distribution when walking.

Simply contact your nearest Hunt Footcare clinic to make an appointment.

Published On: April 24, 2024