A Guide to Caring for Your Leather Shoes and Sneakers

If you are reading this blog, you’re already a fan of leather shoes for men and I don't need to expand on the joys of owning and wearing high-quality shoes.

Instead, I’ll tell you how to care for your leather shoes and sneakers. With the proper care and attention, you can extend the life of your shoe collection and keep them looking as elegant and luxurious as the day you bought them.

Cleaning

To maintain the fresh appearance of your leather shoes, begin by keeping them clean. First, no matter what type of leather, remove any dirt by rubbing them with a soft, dry cloth.

Then, if the shoe is polished, clean it using a mild soap and a slightly damp cloth. Do not use a sponge as it may contain chemicals which could harm the leather, or too much water will get on the surface of the shoe and damage it.

For unfinished leathers, saddle soap is best. Lather it up and gently wipe it onto your shoes, removing any excess as you go. Saddle soap contains wax that seals unfinished leather and helps protect it so let your shoes dry naturally, giving the wax a chance to soak in.

Water or salt stains can be removed with a mixture of two parts water to one white vinegar. Gently wipe the mixture on the affected areas until the stains are gone.

Cleaning Suede

Suede is a difficult material to maintain so if you own a pair of suede shoes, purchase a good quality suede brush as well. This should be enough to remove everyday dirt and smudges. More stubborn stains like grease or oil can be the kiss of death for suede so avoid anywhere where you could come into contact with these.

If you do get grease stains on your suede, blot it with a paper towel, sprinkle with baking soda or talcum powder and give it a gentle brush the next day.

Polishing

Polishing your shoes deepens the color and brings back the shine, as well as giving them valuable protection against the elements.

Only use a wax-based polish, applying it with a soft cloth. Take your time doing this and make sure you work the polish into every nook and cranny of your shoe.

Once you have applied polish to both your shoes, buff them gently with a soft brush or cloth to remove any excess and bring up the shine.

For extra protection, you should also use a conditioner or protector. These usually come as either a spray or a resin and should be applied according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Remember to condition your shoes at least once a month, more often in bad weather. Most conditioners and protectors will also work with suede.

Storing

Correctly storing your shoes is essential to maintaining their appearance.

Shoe trees are a must as they help your shoe keep its shape, removing any creases and bends resulting from being worn. The best are ones made of cedar with a split toe and shaped heel.

Store your shoes out of direct sunlight. Ideally, they should be kept in shoe bags as this protects them from both sunlight and dust

Following these simple steps will extend the life of your footwear considerably, and if you also remember to change your laces every six months or so, your leather shoes and sneakers will look as good as new for as long as you want to wear them.