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How to care for leather shoes in 4 easy steps

03.11.2020 09:19

Real leather shoes are a good investment - but you can only enjoy them for a long time if you care for them properly. Caring for leather shoes is not as complicated as many might think. Whether smooth leather or suede: you should treat your kicks to a little pampering service every two weeks at the latest. You will be rewarded with a shiny appearance and an all-round good wearing comfort. Caring for leather shoes becomes child's play with our 4 simple steps!


Care for your leather shoes: the material makes the difference!

Before you can start, you should take a close look at the upper leather. Is it smooth or suede? This distinction is important because the two types of leather require different care. You can recognize smooth leather by its slightly to very shiny surface. Rough leather or suede, on the other hand, has a velvety look and open-pore structure, which makes it more sensitive to moisture and dirt.

Step 1: Clean off dust and dirt

Before you can take care of your leather shoes, you should remove coarse dirt and dust. Depending on the degree of soiling, you can clean your shoes dry or damp. The best way to remove wet dirt is to use a damp cloth. If the dirt has dried on, you can use a classic shoe polish brush. Sensitive types of suede, however, do not like hard bristles - a special velor or crepe brush is recommended here. For damp cleaning of both types of leather, you can use a universal foam cleaner, e.g. from Collonil. There are also special shoe shampoos for extremely stubborn stains. However, you should only wet clean suede if necessary. After damp cleaning, the shoes should dry well - not on the heater (this damages the leather!), but at room temperature. To keep the shoe in shape, you can stuff it with newspaper or use a shoe tree.

Step 2: Apply shoe polish or shoe cream

After drying, you can apply the care product. Smooth leather needs greasy care products such as shoe polish, wax or oil in order to remain soft and supple. When it comes to shoe polish, you should either use a transparent variant or test the color on a hidden area to avoid unsightly discoloration. The leather care is best applied with a shoe cleaning cloth or a special brush. Suede, on the other hand, should never be treated with shoe polish or other greasy care products. These would stick the fine fibers together and destroy the velvety look of the suede. Special colorless care products for suede are the best choice here.

Step 3: Buff / Restore the suede's nap

You polish smooth leather shoes with a gloss brush or a soft cloth after applying the care product. You should rub the leather quickly and gently - too much pressure would immediately remove the applied care product. If you can still see care residue after polishing, you can easily remove it with an extra cloth. After drying, suede is not polished. You can restore the suede's nap with a crepe brush. You can also treat greasy spots with a suede eraser.

Step 4: Impregnate

Caring for leather shoes doesn't stop with polishing. Impregnation makes the surface of the leather water-repellent and at the same time protects it from being quickly re-soiled. Suede shoes in particular benefit from regular impregnation, as this type of leather absorbs and stores a lot of water thanks to its open-pored structure. When it comes to impregnation you should stick with “often helps a lot” instead of “a lot helps a lot”: the impregnation should be renewed at the latest after wearing your shoes 10 times. Instead of one thick layer, you'd better apply two to three thin layers. The impregnation spray should not only be used after every cleaning, but also before the first wearing and after the shoes have been unworn in the closet for a long time.

At Shoefittery you will find everything you need to take care of your leather shoes - from useful products such as shoe polish and waterproofing spray to practical accessories.


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