We should all treat our leather shoes the same way we treat our skin. Leather is essentially skin after all, and as tough as it can be, it still needs good attention and routine to be well looked after and protected. However, unlike our skin which naturally self-repairs, shoes don’t – at least not in this lifetime. They take on the rain, mud, dirt and grime (to a certain extent) countless of times during our daily commute. Without the care, they lose their natural fibre and eventually become unwearable.
We spoke to luxury men’s footwear brand Oliver Sweeney who know a thing or two about how to take care of your leather shoes. Heed their advice on how to best look after your shoes for life.
Eights tips & tricks to take care of your leather shoes
1. Never wear your shoes consecutively.
Give them a rest. Rotation is the best way to extend the life of your shoes.
2. Polish At least once a fortnight.
Using a good polish with natural ingredients such as bees or carnauba wax.
3. Have your shoes re-soled.
When the top piece of the heel wears through to the bare leather, extend their life and have them repaired.
4. Use shoe conditioner.
A good conditioner will restore the natural features, flexibility and structure of leather shoes and prevent the problems from even occurring in the first place.
5. Use a shoetree.
Not only do they keep your shoes in shape, it allows them to recover from wear.
6. Clean salt marks with distilled vinegar.
Over time, leather absorbs water. If your shoes aren’t cleaned as soon as possible, it can leave a permanent salt-gathered mark. Once your shoes are dry, dilute an even mix of vinegar with water, dip a cloth in the mixture and wipe over the salt stains.
7. Dry your shoes naturally.
When wet, avoid drying leather shoes by the radiator, with a hairdryer or any other quick-fix method. Instead, keep them away from any artificial sources of heat. Patience is key.
8. For suede shoes, use a brass-bristle brush.
This brush is perfect for heavy suede shoes and boots in removing trapped dust and dirt. Just brush enough to lift the nap (i.e. fine fibres) back up.