How to Care for Leather Shoes

How to Care for Leather Shoes

Caring for your leather shoes might seem daunting, but leather is actually incredibly durable when given just a little love. Proper care for your leather shoes really comes down to keeping them clean, keeping them dry and conditioning the leather. Let’s learn more about these simple steps that will greatly improve the longevity of your footwear. 

How to Clean Leather Shoes

The first step is to clean your shoes and it’s even easier than it sounds as you never want to intentionally get leather wet. Using a microfiber towel or shoe brush gently wipe away any visible dust, dirt or grime. If you have remaining spots, it’s best to use a spot cleaner that’s specially formulated to handle dirt, surface stains and other contaminants and appropriate for the type of leather; suede and patent leather require different care than smooth leather.

Now that your shoes are clean it’s time to condition the leather. Start by removing the laces (if there are any) and work a small, pea sized amount of leather cream into the leather with your fingers or a soft cloth until there’s no visible buildup left. Start with a small amount of cream and give it time to absorb into the leather, an excess of cream will prevent the leather from breathing, less is more!  You can use a shoe shine brush to buff the leather into a polish, too.

As an added layer of protection, especially if you wear your shoes a lot and they are exposed to the elements, you can apply a waterproofing spray. This last step will help protect against scuffs, dirt and water damage. Remember if your shoes have suede, nubuck or shiny patent leather accents, you will need to use different products and tactics to clean them; our waterproofing spray is suitable for suede and leather products.  

How to Care for Leather Shoes

Leather needs to breathe just like your skin and will absorb moisture from your feet sweating throughout the day which leaves them susceptible to stretching, creasing and staining. It’s best not to wear your shoes every day to allow the leather to dry. You should always wear socks with your shoes, and if possible use a shoe horn when you put them on to avoid weakening the backs of your shoes when doing so. 

Give your shoes a quick wipe clean after each wear which prevents grime from being ground into the leather, and if they happen to get wet, let them dry naturally. Stuff them with a towel or newspaper but do not use a hairdryer or leave them on a heat vent to expedite the drying process. Whenever possible avoid getting leather shoes wet or exposing them to salt and snow; if you know you’re going out in the rain or snow you can use galoshes (waterproof overshoes) or simply wear a different shoe. 

Storing your shoes properly is important- leather is porous and is best preserved by using cedar or popular shoe trees which absorb moisture and odor and help keep the shape of your shoe. Dust can also work its way into leather over time, so if you’re not wearing a pair of shoes on a regular basis, it’s best to use your shoe trees and also store them in a fabric dust bag to protect them while still allowing the leather to breathe. 

There you have it, unlace your shoes, show them some love and they’ll last you for years to come.