Properly cared for, a quality pair of shoes will last a lifetime. Of course, that means you'll want to opt for a classic, timeless design rather than a trendier style, but we'd probably do that anyway.Then, there's the "properly cared for" aspect: maintaining the leather uppers and the soles so that they look clean and tidy, even after years of marks, scuffs, and others signs of use.
Lindsey of Café Johnsonia offers this very thorough guide to maintain your shoes just so, "8 Secrets to Perfectly Polished Shoes." She discusses the two major types of shoe care products and the right tools and techniques to clean and protect from water and other damage.
She says, "Brushing away dirt and dust will help keep the leather looking good, and polishing them with good quality creams and waxes will help condition them and prolong their life by protecting against water damage, etc."
Check out Lindsey's tips at Living Well: 8 Secrets to Perfectly Polished Shoes [Design Mom]
For more on shoe care, check out the ManMade guide to protecting and caring for leather boots: