Guide: How to Care for Leather Shoes

Fine leather shoes will pep up any ensemble, and will, with luck, last you a lifetime. Follow these five simple steps to ensure you get extra mileage out of your designer kicks

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Tod’s Mocassimo Greca Nuovo white driver shoes. Prevent the sullying of the pristine color of your white shoes by storing them away from direct sunlight.

How to Clean

-  Most shoe labels, like Berluti and Church's, will have in-house shoe cleaners and creams so always ask the boutique assistant for care tips and recommended products.
-  First, take the laces off your shoes. Use a soft bristled brush to sweep off preliminary dirt and dust.
-  Keeping your hand under the flap to keep the upper firm and flat, use your other hand to apply a suitable cleaner or saddle soap all over the leather parts of your shoe.
-  Use the same brush to gently work the cleaner into the skin. Pay particular attention to any noticeable scuffs or marks.
-  Let dry for about 20 minutes before proceeding to polish.

You may also like:  Use Cold Water When Polishing Leather Shoes

How to Polish & Condition

-  Think of conditioning as moisturizer for your shoes, which will dry out over time. To prevent flaking and wrinkling, dab a dollop of conditioner on a soft cloth and rub gently all over in a circular motion.
-  Choose a polish in a hue that matches your shoe. Experts generally recommend a lanoline-based beeswax polish, which will soften and protect at the same time.
-  Wipe off excess polish with a soft clean cloth, and buff the shoe with—surprise!—a pair of panty hose for slick-as-a-dime shine. Well, nylon gets the job done, too.

How to Weatherproof

-  A spray-on water repellent is an essential, fool-proof way to safeguard against the elements.
-  Before application, use a warm sponge to prep your shoe. The gentle heat will increase the porosity of the skin, allowing for better absorption.
-  Look for "breathable", water-based repellents, which will allow excess moisture to dissipate for pliable, butter-smooth shoes.

You may also like:  5 Things You Didn't Know About Leather

How to Store

-  A quality shoe tree is a worthwhile investment. Unfinished cedar is best, because it sponges up moisture and any disagreeable odors.
-  Once you're home, stuff your boot toe with butter paper, then string them up on the tree immediately.
-  Regular use of a tree will maintain your shoe's original shape, and will go miles towards preventing shrinkage and creases.

Some Final Tips

-  If you've been polishing your shoes for awhile, there may be residual wax build-up. Use a specialized pre-cleaner before the cleaning process outlined above.
-  It may be a no-brainer, but if you've just stepped out of a shower, make sure your feet are fully dry before slipping on your shoes.
-  Use a good tortoiseshell shoe-horn to ease your foot in without creasing the back—a surefire recipe for shoe breakdown.
-  Every few years, head back to the boutique or trusted cobbler to re-sole your shoes, which are like the tires of your car and require regular upkeep.
-  Lay your shoes on their side to dry out, if you've been unlucky enough to have been battered on by a surprise rain shower on your way home.

Further Reading

-  Of course, this guide is by no means an exhaustive manual. Look to other excellent online resources for leathercare advice, like dedicated shoe forums and the websites of international leather associations.
-  Gird your Achilles' heel with these lovely books for a "shoe-in" on the sartorial arts:

Guide How To Care For Leather Shoes 25                  Guide How To Care For Leather Shoes 22

Guide How To Care For Leather Shoes 23                  Guide How To Care For Leather Shoes 24

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