People have been using leather for footwear for thousands of years due to its durability, flexibility, and protective qualities. Leather is a natural material that is obtained from animal hides, and it has a number of characteristics that make it ideal for footwear.
If you love classic formal leather shoes, you'll want to learn how to care for them. Leather is a durable fabric, but it does require some TLC too. It needs regular maintenance to retain its quality and appearance.
If you have invested in some quality formal shoes, it's worth it to take care of them. We are here to help you with some shoe care etiquette, so you can enjoy your formal shoes for years to come.
Clean Leather Shoes Regularly
Cleaning leather shoes is an essential part of maintaining their appearance and longevity. First, remove dirt and debris from the surface of the shoes.
You can use a soft-bristled brush to remove dirt. Another choice is a clean, dry cloth.
Use them to remove any debris from the surface of the shoes. Be sure to get into the crevices and seams of the shoes.
Next, gather a small amount of mild soap, such as dish soap or hand soap. Mix it with warm water in a bowl or container.
Dip a clean cloth into the soap and water solution. Wring out the excess water so that the cloth is damp, but not soaking wet.
Gently wipe down the shoes with a damp cloth. Be sure to cover the entire surface of the shoes with the cloth. Work in a circular motion to remove any dirt or stains.
Use a clean, damp cloth to rinse off the soap. Wipe down the shoes with the cloth to remove any remaining soap residue. Get a clean, dry cloth to dry the shoes thoroughly, wiping away any remaining moisture.
Once the shoes are completely dry, apply a leather conditioner to keep the leather soft and supple.
Apply Leather Conditioner
There are different types of leather conditioners available in the market. Each is designed for specific types of leather. Here are some common types of leather conditioners and how to use them.
Leather oil is ideal for softening and conditioning heavy-duty leathers such as work boots and jackets. To use leather oil, apply a small amount to a clean, dry cloth and rub it into the leather using circular motions. Allow the leather to absorb the oil overnight and wipe away any excess oil with a clean cloth.
Leather cream is a versatile conditioner used on all types of leather. To use leather cream, apply a small amount to a clean, dry cloth and rub it into the leather using circular motions. Allow the leather to absorb the cream, and wipe away any excess cream with a clean cloth.
Leather lotion is a light conditioner that works well on soft, thin leathers such as leather shoes and handbags. To use leather lotion, apply a small amount to a clean, dry cloth and rub it into the leather using circular motions. Allow the leather to absorb the lotion, and wipe away any excess lotion with a clean cloth.
Beeswax is a natural conditioner used to protect leather from water damage and stains. To use beeswax, rub a small amount onto the surface of the leather using a clean, dry cloth. Buff the leather with a soft-bristled brush to create a protective barrier.
When using a leather conditioner, it's important to test it on a small, inconspicuous area of the leather first to ensure that it doesn't discolor or damage the leather. Apply the conditioner sparingly and evenly, and avoid over-saturating the leather.
Use a proper leather conditioner and follow the manufacturer's instructions. Shoe care helps prolong the life of leather goods and keeps them looking great.
Use Waterproof Spray
Leather is a natural material that is susceptible to damage when exposed to moisture. It can cause it to crack, fade, or lose its shape. Waterproof sprays create a protective layer on the surface of the leather, which repels water and prevents it from being absorbed into the material.
Silicone spray creates a waterproof barrier that repels water and protects the leather from stains. It's suitable for use on all types of leather except suede and nubuck.
To use silicone spray, hold the can about 6 inches away from the leather and spray evenly over the surface of the leather. Allow the spray to dry completely before wearing the leather.
Wax-based spray is ideal for protecting leather shoes and boots from water damage. It's particularly effective on heavy-duty leathers such as work boots. Wax-based spray applies the same way as silicone spray.
Fluoropolymer spray is a high-performance waterproof spray that provides superior protection against water, stains, and dirt. It's suitable for use on all types of leather, including suede and nubuck.
Store Leather Shoes Properly
Proper storage of leather shoes is important to maintain their appearance and extend their lifespan.
Shoe trees are devices that help support the shape of the shoes and prevent them from creasing or wrinkling. Inserting shoe trees into leather shoes when not in use helps preserve their shape. They also prevent the leather from cracking or drying out.
Storing leather shoes in a breathable shoe bag or box can help protect them from dust, dirt, and light. It's best to avoid storing leather shoes in plastic bags, as they can trap moisture and cause the leather to dry out.
Store leather shoes in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight, heat, and humidity. Exposure to heat and moisture can cause the leather to crack, fade, or discolor.
Wearing the same pair of shoes every day can cause them to wear out faster. To extend the lifespan of your leather shoes, rotate them every few days. This gives them a chance to rest and recover.
Before storing formal shoes for men, make sure to clean them thoroughly. Apply a leather conditioner to help prevent the leather from drying out and cracking while in storage.
Polish Leather Shoes
Polishing leather shoes not only gives them a shiny and new look but also maintains their appearance and prolongs their lifespan.
Use a soft-bristled brush or a damp cloth to remove any dirt, dust, or debris from the surface of the shoes. Make sure the shoes are completely dry before proceeding to the next step.
Apply a small amount of shoe cream to a soft, clean cloth and rub it onto the shoes in circular motions. Make sure to cover the entire surface of the shoes and pay extra attention to any scuffs or scratches.
Allow the shoe cream to dry for a few minutes until it becomes hazy. This allows the cream to penetrate the leather and nourish it from the inside.
Use a clean, dry cloth or a soft-bristled brush to buff the shoes and remove any excess cream. Apply gentle pressure and make sure to cover the entire surface of the shoes.
Apply a small amount of shoe wax to a clean cloth and rub it onto the shoes in circular motions. This will help to create a protective layer on the surface of the leather and provide a high shine.
Use a clean, dry cloth or a soft-bristled brush to buff the shoes and create a high shine. Apply gentle pressure and make sure to cover the entire surface of the shoes. If the shoes need more shine or protection, repeat the process of applying shoe cream and wax until the desired result is achieved.
These steps keep leather shoes looking shiny and new. They also protect them from damage caused by wear and tear.
Avoid Wet Conditions
If leather gets wet, it's important to act quickly to prevent damage and protect the leather. Use a dry cloth or paper towel to blot any excess water from the surface of the leather. Do not rub the leather, as this can cause damage or discoloration.
Allow the leather to dry naturally in a well-ventilated area away from direct heat sources such as heaters or hair dryers. Do not place wet leather items in direct sunlight or use a heat source to dry them. This can cause the leather to crack or fade.
Once the leather is completely dry, apply a leather conditioner to help restore the natural oils and prevent it from drying out. Apply a small amount of conditioner to a soft cloth and rub it onto the leather in circular motions.
Once the leather conditioner is absorbed, polish the leather using a soft cloth or brush to restore its shine.
If the leather item is heavily soaked or stained, it may be best to take it to a professional cleaner or leather care specialist. They have specialized equipment and products to help clean and restore leather items.
Purchasing New Formal Shoes
By following these simple steps, you can keep your formal shoes looking great for years to come. If you're ready to buy your next pair of formal shoes, take a moment to browse our leather catalog.