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Save your soles

brunch Updated: Jan 05, 2013 20:00 IST
Aasheesh Sharma
Aasheesh Sharma
Hindustan Times
Highlight Story

The Miranis of south Mumbai take their fitness seriously. Alpa Mirani, 34, associate vice president with the Royal Bank of Scotland, loves to lace up her Puma running shoes, while her husband favours Reebok. On weekends, their eight-year-old son joins them on jogs.

This bit of cumulative athleticism leaves them with enormous family bonding, and very dirty shoes. "Which is why the convenience of a laundry that picks up grimy sneakers from your doorstep and gets them back spanking new makes sense," says Alpa Mirani.

Feet First spas in Mumbai and Delhi are now coming to the aid of those who can’t resist a pair of suede shoes or leather loafers but don’t know how to take care of them. The turnaround time of two to four days is the USP of a number of shoe spas in our metropolises.

The idea does appeal to many well-heeled individuals such as chief executive Pravin Sinha. Frequent travel and long meetings leave Sinha with little time to indulge in his fascination with branded footwear. "I tend to pick up brands such as Aldo and Steve Madden. When in Delhi, I outsource the maintenance of my footwear to The Shoe Men. The premium they charge is justified with the quality they deliver."

Entrepreneur Sandeep Gajakas of Mumbai’s Shoe Laundry, who launched his business eight years ago, is among the older players in the segment. And cleaning dirty sneakers isn’t the only service that he offers. His 10-step cleaning process includes meticulous repairs, says Gajakas. "Repairs range from a basic pasting job, or an intricate inner lining replacement, to substituting new laces in the same hue," he says.

With a laundry bill that falls between Rs 150 for a regular pair and Rs 500 for high-end shoes from Prada, Zegna and Louis Vuitton, a shoe-pamper session costs less than a pedicure. Tabish Ahsan of The Shoe Spa, Noida, says he can customise the finish to high-gloss, low-gloss or matte, if the client so desires.

A Clean Sweep

The logic of nourishing your skin with a facial can extend to leather shoes, too, says Vinnie Chadha of Mumbai’s Reboot, The Shoe Laundry. "A value addition for travellers is vacuum packaging that keeps out moisture."

How often you rejuvenate your shoes depends on the kind of life you lead. Trekkers, for instance, should get their shoes cleaned after every trip through rough terrain. Apart from mud and stone, their footwear might attract germs during a trek. For those who jog on running tracks, the frequency could be as little as once in 60 days, recommends Saral Budhiraja of The Shoe Men.

Isn’t it time you sent your Louboutins or Choos for a spa treatment?

Boot Out Germs
Vinnie Chadha of Reboot, The Shoe Laundry, on how to keep high-end shoes looking their best
Soft wipe: Always use a soft, lint-free cloth to wipe shoes of any dust and to prevent scratches. If your shoes are dirty, use a soft-bristled brush to remove stubborn dirt.

Dry logic: Before you store your shoes, especially your leather and suede ones, make sure they are
absolutely dry. Wet shoes are a breeding ground for infection-
causing bacteria and fungi.
Shape up: Shoes tend to lose shape and wrinkle with regular use. If you have a really expensive pair, make sure to keep them in shape with the use of shapers.
Regular care: Any pair of shoes that you use regularly needs to be cleaned and cared every three weeks or monthly. For formal leather shoes, cleaning and polishing is a must to maintain the richness of the leather and its shine.
Leave it to the experts: A professional shoe laundry can take care of your shoes, at a price of course. Ideally, such a service should protect shoes from fungus and provide colour nourishment and shine treatments for leather, suede and nubuck leather.

From HT Brunch, January 6

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