Proper shoe care is vital to increase the lifespan of your shoes, as well as keeping them looking spiffy all year round. Think about what your shoes have to go through on a daily basis – as you venture through dust, dirt, mud and muck. While most shoes available these days are made from synthetic materials, leather shoes are traditionally made from animal hides and are therefore organic in nature. This opens leather shoes up to moulding, discoloration, scuffing and many other shoe-related maladies. Leather shoes require more care than any other type of shoe, so have a look at how to properly look after your leather shoes here…
Leather Shoe Shining
When buying leather shoes, ask your retailer for a tub of leather food or leather shine. The former will keep your leather shoes in good condition but with a matt finish. The latter will eventually shine the leather and can be used to accentuate key sections such as the toe. Consider feeding and/or shining your leather shoes once a week – even when you’re not wearing them.
Salt is Leather’s Enemy
Your leather shoes can pick up salt from everyday use – even if you don’t live near the ocean! Salt stains should be removed as quickly as possible, and can be achieved by applying a mixture of 2/3 water and 1/3 vinegar with a non-abrasive rag. Wipe the mixture off with a damp rag and then dry your leather shoes with a towel. Salt stains are small white patches that form on the surface of the leather.
Waterproof Your Leather Shoes
If you find yourself trudging through rain and puddles in your new leather shoes, you might want to apply some mink oil or a wax-based leather shoe polish to waterproof them. Like salt, mould is a leather killer, and rears its ugly head in the form of small white spots that spread across the leather uppers like a virus. If you happen to get your leather shoes wet, fill them with moisture-zapping newspaper balls and leave them overnight.
Prevent Leather Shoes from Drying Out
On the flip side of the coin, you don’t want your leather shoes to dry out. Every few months, apply a few dabs of petroleum jelly (Vaseline) to your leather uppers to prevent drying. Dry leather will eventually fray and tear with prolonged use, so keep your leather shoes well fed and moisturised to prevent having to get rid of them prematurely.
Remove Scuff Marks from Leather Shoes
Here’s a handy trick to use when caring for your leather shoes! Scuff marks are going to make their way onto you leather shoes – it is inevitable. To remove these, use a non-gel toothpaste and a non-abrasive cleaning cloth – rubbing in small circular motions. Leave for a few minutes, and then wipe away with a damp cloth and dry.
Replacing your Leather Shoe Soles
While you can practice the above-mentioned leather shoe care tips to keep your leather shoes in tip top shape, there is little you can do to prevent wearing down their soles. Eventually, holes will form where the balls of your feet make contact with the ground. Before throwing them away, consider taking them to your local shoe cobbler (yes, they still exist) and replacing the soles. Many leather shoes come standard with leather soles, which wear quickly, but a cobbler can replace these with rubber soles which last much longer.