They may be a daily essential, but once you've assembled an entire outfit, it can be easy to overlook the footwear. However, it's worth making sure you’re taking care of your shoes properly – they’ll last longer and look better, too. This handy guide will give you some great maintenance tips, as well as advice on how to style shoes and boots for every occasion. Whether you’re shopping for an eye-catching addition to your newest look or just want to check you’ve got the sizing right, our ultimate shoe guide is here to help.

Illustration of a size chart

The following size charts compare American, European and Australian sizing systems. Most shoe brands will display one, if not all, of these numbers but this shoe size converter will make sure you get it right every time.

Illustration of a shoe parts

Ensure your shoes are always looking their best, no matter the material, with these easy steps.

Leather footwear

  • Invest in saddle soap – it removes layers of wax without damaging the leather.
  • A horsehair brush will effectively remove dust and light surface debris.
  • Try a leather stretcher, which gently softens and stretches the fabric. It's ideal for new shoes or for warmer weather when your feet expand.

Suede footwear

  • Use a suede cleaning brush and dip the soft-bristled side into soapy water.
  • Apply soft strokes to the suede until the whole shoe is wet.
  • Use a microfibre cloth to dab the suede, soaking up any excess water.
  • Scrunch up some newspaper and insert it into each shoe so it retains its shape.
  • Once fully dry, remove the paper and use the soft side of your suede brush to restore the material to its natural texture.

Canvas footwear

To handwash:

  • Rub some fabric shampoo into your shoes with a toothbrush, then rinse with warm water.

To machine wash:

  • Remove the laces and scrub away any loose dirt using a toothbrush.
  • To protect your shoes from being snagged on the inside of the drum, simply place them inside a mesh laundry bag or pillow case.
  • Rather than opting for a warm wash, keep the water temperature at around 30 degrees to prevent the colours of your shoes from running.
  • Once complete, place in the sun to dry and pop some scrunched up newspaper inside.
how to polish your shoes

  1. Begin by wiping your shoes down with a damp cloth to remove any surface-level dirt.
  2. Scrub out the welt strip (the seam where the upper shoe connects to the sole) with a welt brush.
  3. Apply a small amount of polish, using gentle but firm circular rubbing motions, and leave the polish to dry.
  4. Once dry, buff the entire shoe with a polishing brush.

It’s official – the shoes you choose can make or break your outfit. Have a read of our shoe style guide to decide what look to go for.

Footwear for every occasion

Dressy footwear: make an impression

A pair of smart leather shoes should be a style go-to for any guy. Brogues are a classy option, and the perforated pattern means there are some quirkier designs out there if that’s what you’re after. For ladies, an elegant pair of high-heeled shoes in your arsenal is an absolute must for formal occasions. For a sophisticated office look, a pair of loafers is effortlessly chic. They’ll make the perfect addition to your work collection, and there are styles for both men and women available.

Athletic footwear: anytime, anywhere

If you're planning on hitting the gym or racking up the miles in your trainers, it's worth picking a pair that's made for your feet. Try getting your gait tested to make sure yours are spot on. Athletic gear has also undergone a fashion makeover in recent years, so you can give your casual wardrobe a cool twist with the sports-luxe trend.

Casual footwear: step into the sunshine

The summer months call for barely-there shoes – try a pair with bright colours or a striking pattern to really get into the mood. Flip flops are a comfy option for both men and women, and are easy to slip on and off at the beach. Ladies can also find delicate strappy sandals that are a pretty addition to an evening outfit, and choose a high-heeled pair to really dress it up.

Boots: winning styles decoded

Boots are a sturdy way to finish off your look – if you need a bit of protection from the elements, or simply want to make your jeans look more polished. For women, ankle-skimming Chelsea boots make a stylish everyday staple. Guys could opt for a lace-up design – chunky work boots go well with chinos for a laid-back, weekend feel.