How to care for leather shoes so they always look cool

Genuine leather shoes require daily care, otherwise the delicate material may crack and lose shape. And then only an expensive restoration in a specialized dry-cleaner can return shoes or sneakers to their original appearance.

Here are a few life hacks that will make leather shoes look like new, even if you have been wearing them for years.

1. Use specialized care products

They can be purchased from the same shoe store where you purchased your pair. Ideally, if you get a set like this:

  • Cleaning agent. It is usually sold in the form of a shampoo or foam.
  • Cream. These products contain fats or oils that maintain the natural level of moisture in the skin and make it soft and supple. Creams are available with different pigments (there are other options besides black, white and brown), and you need to select them to match the color of a particular pair.
  • Polish. This is a silicone-based product that, when applied, gives the leather surface a sheen.
  • Impregnation. It is a protective water-repellent spray that increases the wear resistance of shoes.
  • Brush for footwear. Choose a tool with soft bristles. If you have several pairs of leather shoes of different colors, you will need to have a separate brush for each.
  • Struts-shape holders. They are necessary both for drying and for storing leather shoes.

2. Start caring for your shoes right after you buy them.

As soon as you bring a new pair home, treat its surface with a fat cream, and after a couple of hours, when it is absorbed, with a skin impregnation.

Nikita Zakharov

SuperStep sneaker store expert.

Before spraying shoes, test it on an inconspicuous area of shoes or boots. For example – in the upper part of the heel. The tool should not change the color of the skin and leave other traces.

Make sure that the impregnation also gets on the line of connection of the sole with the top: this will prevent leakage.

Photo: Yuliya Alekseeva / Shutterstock

The protective layer must be renewed at least once a month. In wet weather, water-repellent impregnation should be applied before each exit to the street.

3. Watch the weather

Do not wear leather shoes if it is raining or sleet outside. When there is too much moisture, even impregnation will not save the material. Leather that has absorbed water will lose its softness and elasticity as it dries, become rough and crack easily. In addition, water and salt stains may appear on the surface of the shoe.

If going outdoors in wet weather is unavoidable, be sure to thoroughly treat your leather with a water-repellent spray each time before doing so.

4. If your shoes get wet, dry them immediately

This is the first thing you should do when you return home with wet shoes or boots. The longer the leather is exposed to moisture, the more its quality will suffer.

Photo: StepPro / Shutterstock

Take out the insoles, place the mold holders inside to ensure proper ventilation, and place the boots in an open area in a well-ventilated area.

Ideally, if the mold holders are made of wood: this material absorbs moisture and unpleasant odors well.

But even plastic options are better than nothing.

In no case do not dry leather shoes on a radiator, with a hair dryer or in direct sunlight. High temperature can damage the surface, change the properties of the adhesive, impregnation. Because of this, the shoes run the risk of cracking. In addition, it may become more rigid or begin to let water through.

To dry your shoes faster, place moisture-absorbing silica gel bags, a soft absorbent towel, or tissue paper balls inside.

5. Don’t wear the same pair multiple days in a row.

In general, leather shoes and boots should be dried after each wear. And you need to do this for at least a day, if you haven’t filmed them for a long time. The fact is that the feet sweat when walking – and again, moisture can spoil the delicate material. Therefore, it is best to wear a leather pair every other day or two, alternating it with other shoes.

6. Don’t leave your shoes dirty

Minor dirt and dust can be brushed off with a soft cloth (for example, from an old cotton T-shirt) or removed with a sponge slightly moistened with warm water.

Nikita Zakharov

It is important to do this after every wear: leather is a porous material and quickly absorbs dirt, which is then very difficult to clean.

If your leather boots are seriously soiled, clean them as soon as you get home. Otherwise, the dirt can eat into the surface of the shoe, and this will lead to the formation of stubborn stains. With a damp cloth, remove the most obvious unwanted elements from the surface, including raindrops and snow.

Then wash the shoes with the same soft cloth or sponge dampened with soapy water. Even better, use a special cleansing shampoo or foam for the skin.

All this does not apply to suede shoes : after returning home, you just need to get it wet with a clean towel and put it in a well-ventilated place where there is no humidity. Suede is cleaned with a special brush and only in a dry form.

7. Treat shoes with cream or wax every 6-7 socks

And be sure to use the cream after each wet cleaning.

The product must be applied to dry, clean shoes. Do this in a circular motion using the sponge or soft microfiber cloth built into the cream package. The cream will protect the skin from the appearance of microcracks, and will also help it retain its elasticity and shine longer.

Photo: Olena Yakobchuk / Shutterstock

In the final, you can apply a polish and rub the surface with a soft brush or special napkins until a characteristic shine appears.

8. Be sure to use a shoe horn

This is important so as not to crush the heel. Often it is he who serves as the element that holds the entire structure of the upper of the shoe. If you hurt your heel, your shoes or boots will quickly lose their shape.

9. Store your shoes properly when the season ends

When laying a pair for long-term storage, be sure to clean it from dust and other contaminants and treat with cream. And keep in mind: genuine leather is a fairly soft material that sags and bends easily, so it needs to be supported.

Nikita Zakharov

To prevent wrinkles and creases from appearing on the shoes, send them to storage only after you install the mold holders inside.

If you don’t have any form holders, put at least paper folded into tight balls inside the pair.

Then place the shoes in a box or storage bag. This will help protect your skin from dust. Store at room temperature and where there is no excess moisture .

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