The definitive leather shoe care guide
Published on the 12 Sep 2019, 15:42 by Amélie Barrande
No buts about it—regardless of the type or the price tag, all leather shoes require care. Without it, leather dries out, stains and cracks.
Here is a guide to help you take care of your favourite shoes. (This article does not discuss how to care for cloth, nubuck or suede.)
“I just got my new shoes!”
Yay! Your shoes have arrived and fit perfectly. No time to waste—use a sealant spray to protect the leather. This will prevent it from staining in case of rain or very high humidity.
If you have a pair of wooden shoe trees, put them in your Swivells when you aren’t wearing them. Alternatively, you can use newspaper or crumpled tissue paper.
Try to get in the habit of cleaning your shoes regularly. All it takes is 15 minutes a month to take care of you favourite leather shoes. Before you get started, don't forget to test your products on a small spot of the shoe to make sure they don't stain.
1 - Remove the laces and slide a pair of shoe trees (or crumpled tissue paper) into your shoes.
2 - Use a soft brush to remove the dust.
3 - With a white cloth, apply a dab of leather balm using small circular motions on your shoes. This step is similar to a "make-up removal" and allows you to remove previous layers of wax that could suffocate your leather.
Let it dry for 10 minutes.
4 - Using a brush (or if you don’t have one, another white cloth), apply a small amount of wax to the leather. With a gentle motion, massage it into the leather to be sure the wax penetrates evenly. Choose a colourless wax or one that matches your leather.
5 - Now buff the freshly waxed leather vigorously with a shoe-shine brush (do not use the one you used to clean!). The more you scrub, the brighter it gets!
Let it dry for 10 minutes.
6 - Once your shoes are dry, protect them with a waterproofing spray and let them dry outside if possible.
What about the soles?
Swivells’ leather soles are stitched using the Blake construction. This means that the sole is sewn directly into the shoe, with no piece in between. This robust method keeps the sole thin and flexible, but if it rains, water can seep in and get your feet wet.
For the typical leather-shoe wearer, the easiest way to protect your soles is by having a shoe repairer install half soles. In addition to protecting the soles from wear, it will give them more grip (leather is slippery!).
For purists who like the feeling of bare leather under their feet, as well as for dancers, you can forego the half soles. In this case, I recommend two things:
1 - Be careful not to slip! As you wear your shoes, the soles will become less and less slippery. But when they’re new, stay alert. 😉
2 - Avoid walking in water. Water can weaken the seams of your shoes and dampen your leather from the inside, which can cause moisture stains.
And since it’s better to do too much than not enough, some leather enthusiasts heed the following checklist once a month:
1 - Brush the soles to remove any dirt;
2 - Polish the sole to hydrate it;
3 - Waterproof the sole to protect it as much as possible in case of rain.
Care is critical!
While it’s true that it’s better to do too much than not enough, it’s also true that anything is better than nothing at all. 🙂 As I said in the introduction, no matter what kind of leather it is, it gets damaged if you don’t take care of it.
I wouldn't blame you if you didn't follow all of these suggestions to a tee or if you weren’t consistent about it. However, you should try as hard as you can to find a few minutes from time to time to rejuvenate your beautiful shoes. They will be eternally grateful!