How to properly care for leather shoes?
It's important to remember that you don't need to specially prepare your newly purchased shoes for wearing. This has already been taken care of during the production process, and before the shoes hit the store shelves, they have been properly finished and treated with suitable products tailored to the type of leather they are made from. So, at the beginning, you don't have to worry about it because the shoes are already adequately prepared. However, keep in mind that during use, this protective coating from the impregnation will naturally wear off quite quickly. This doesn't exempt you from the later responsibility of shoe care. Dedicate some time and effort to it, and your shoes will maintain their good appearance and condition for a longer time, bringing you joy for an extended period. Remember, good shoes are an investment. Properly cared for, they can serve you for years.
- Follow the manufacturer's recommendations. The manufacturer responsible for creating a particular shoe model is the one who knows best how to care for and maintain the footwear. Every manufacturer provides information about the materials used and suggests care methods. Adhering to the manufacturer's recommendations can be crucial for the longevity of your shoes.
Before applying shoe polish, you should remove dirt and contaminants from your shoes. For leather shoes, a soft brush and a damp cloth will come in handy. Always make sure to dry wet shoes at room temperature, away from heat sources. Suede requires special treatment. Clean suede shoes with a brush designed for this purpose, and you can also buy a rough block for removing stains. Suede has fibers that can become flattened with wear, so to freshen them up, brush them vigorously with a stiff brush to lift the fibers. Once your shoes are clean and dry, it's a good idea to apply polish (remember to choose the right type and color of polish). For smooth leather, use a cotton cloth to spread the polish on the shoe. Then, use a soft brush to work the polish into the leather. After the polish dries, to give your shoes a bit of shine, gently buff them with a special glove or a regular cloth.
- If you need to clean your shoes immediately and don't have the right products on hand, there are a few household remedies that can help. Olive oil or regular facial moisturizer can work for smooth leather, giving it a shine. For nubuck and suede shoes, you can try rubbing stains with the inside of a dry bread crust. Unfortunately, there's no foolproof method for removing salt stains, but you can attempt to combat them on smooth leather by wiping it with a cloth dampened in a solution (1 tablespoon of vinegar dissolved in a glass of water).
- Regardless of the type of shoes you wear (unless they're rubber boots!), always remember to protect them with the right products. Wet shoes can lose their shape and color permanently, but proper waterproofing protects your footwear from moisture and soaking, and it prevents dirt from penetrating deeply into the material. Apply a suitable leather protector to the entire surface of your shoes and wait for it to dry.
- Store your shoes in a dry place, and never stack one pair on top of another. Remember to protect your shoes from distortion. You can use crumpled newspapers, but for shoes that are especially important to you, it's worth investing in high-quality wooden shoe trees.