Last Christmas I scored a fabulous new pair of TOMS. I loved them. I wore them every day, knowing my feet looked great and were comfy as a cloud to boot. But one day, not too long into the new year, I realized to my dismay that my TOMS were a little (lot) dingy. And that I had absolutely no idea how to remedy the situation. I read some online reviews telling me that TOMS simply don't last very long—because the canvas gets dirty and dingy so quickly, and the leather insole can't go in the washing machine. However, when I saw the price I'd be paying for a new pair, I dug a little deeper. And after some research and a little experimentation, I found a few tricks to making my TOMS look brand new again. Want to know the secrets? Read on!

1. Protect from the elements

The best trick to keeping your canvas shoes looking brand new is protecting them. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, right? One of the best ways to protect your shoes from dirt and stains is to spray a thin layer of Scotchgard Fabric Protector on your new pair of shoes. Be sure to spray thinly and evenly, and let the shoes dry in a clean area before wearing them out into the world. This fabric protector helps your shoes resist grime, and makes them easier to wipe off when the inevitable spill or puddle crosses your path. If you didn't take this step when you purchased your shoes, don't stress! Just follow the tips below to get your shoes as clean as possible, then spray them!

2. Waterproof

This step is critical to keeping your shoes looking great and weathering wet conditions more gracefully. Waterproof the soles of your canvas shoes by rubbing solid beeswax all over the soles of the shoes, then running a blow dryer back and forth over the sole, pausing every few seconds to rub the wax in. Don't do this to the tops of the shoes, since they won't breathe as well/you'll end up with sweaty, stinky feet. But by hitting the soles, you'll keep water from seeping in while still maintaining the breatheablity of the shoe. Meaning, you can wear your canvas shoes on wet days—just not in the pouring rain. Repeat the process with solid beeswax every two months as needed.

Tip: Beeswax can be pricey! One trick to get it for cheap or even free is to reach out to your local beekeeper's club or association. They can get you in touch with a few hobbyists who might be happy to let you take a bit of beeswax off their hands!

3. Wash correctly

Because of their insoles, Keds and TOMS can't simply be popped in the washer. To wash your shoes without damaging the insoles, make a paste with gentle detergent (OxiClean does a great job). Then use a small, bristled brush (like a toothbrush) to gently massage dirt and stains out of your shoes. When you're finished scrubbing (gently!) place your shoes upside down in a shallow dish of water, and let them soak for about twenty minutes (making sure the insoles don't make contact with the water). Repeat this process if needed for particularly tough stains.

4. Dry correctly

As far as drying goes, the TOMS website says, "We do NOT recommend putting TOMS in the dryer under any circumstances." This is important. The dryer can warp your insoles. The best way to dry your canvas shoes is in indirect sunight (to avoid bleaching) or in a dry, warm area of the house. It takes longer than the dryer, but resist the temptation to speed up the drying process! Your shoes and your budget will thank you.

5. Wear smart

Canvas shoes are adorable and comfortable, but even with the best care and precautions, they aren't all-weather shoes. Don't wear them on days when there's a monsoon, fresh snow on the ground, or when you go paintballing.

6. Deodorize

Since it's typical to wear canvas shoes without socks, these shoes tend to become…fragrant quickly if not cared for properly. Keep your shoes in fresh condition longer by keeping dryer sheets tucked lightly in each shoe overnight every few days.

Treat your TOMS (and Keds) right, and they'll last far longer than the reviews on Yahoo Answers might lead you to believe. And they'll stay looking (and smelling) fresher and cleaner long past what you might have expected. While several of my friends went through two pairs of TOMS, my one pair was going strong. (I was more than a little pleased with comments like "Is that the same pair of TOMS you got last Christmas? How do they still look so good?") With a little prevention, a few tricks, and some simple care, your shoes will keep you cute and comfy for a long time. What other tricks have you found that keep your canvas shoes looking smashing for longer?

This is a guest post by Noelle from Boise, ID.

6 Tips to Make Your Canvas Shoes (TOMS and Keds) Last Longer!