As we all know, leather is made from animal skin. Like our skin, it is delicate and can easily be damaged by external and internal factors. Therefore, it needs proper care and protection. However, unlike our skin, leather is not alive. Thus it does not receive the necessary nourishment to keep it strong and healthy. Without care, leather can dry out and become stiff. Without proper protection, leather will also over-absorb water. When it happens, leather will become breakable once it dries.
1. Start using a Shoehorn
The number one item on the list is a shoehorn. It is a really affordable tool that you can buy in most stores. Using a shoehorn is a must if you want to keep the inner parts of your shoes in good condition. Often if you put on your shoes without a shoehorn, you are slowly damaging the back of the shoe, and eventually, it will rip or break.
2. Clean your leather shoes regularly
Cleaning leather is an easy yet vital process. Make sure that you only use the proper cleaning agent or solution in cleaning your leather. If possible, use only saddle soap or leather cleaners to clean the leather. Likewise, it is important to remember that in cleaning leather, handwashing is the only advisable method to clean it. Never throw any leather-made items in the washing machine. The constant motion inside the machine will ruin the leather entirely.
Moreover, it is wise to not immerse leather in water. The easiest way to clean your leather shoes is to use wet wipes – yes, wet wipes. I’ve been using all-purpose wet wipes for cleaning my leather for a long time now, and it gets the job done perfectly. However, there is one thing to keep in mind. Always wipe your shoes with a dry cloth after cleaning to absorb any additional water or moisture that could ruin your leather.
When it comes to how often to clean the leather – it depends on the use case and the weather, but in general, if you do a quick cleaning after every second or third use, that’s perfectly fine.
3. Use Leather conditioner
Leather is quite an expensive material. It is durable yet is still prone to dirt, wear and tear. That is why it is necessary to keep your leather clean and protected at all times. Keeping it in good condition will not only keep it clean but will extend the lifetime of your favorite pair. By using a leather conditioner, you can keep your shoes in perfect shape.
If you are planning to apply a coat of leather conditioner to your leather, make sure to clean it first. Only after the leather has been cleaned and dried, start applying the conditioner. You will need a soft, dry cloth and conditioner to condition your leather product. You can use any leather conditioner you can find – however, it is recommended to use known brands.
4. Use Shoe Tree to keep the shape
Shoe trees are foot-shaped devices that are inserted into shoes to reduce moisture and help hold their shape when they’re not being worn. Shoe trees are most commonly made of wood or plastic.
Install shoe trees shortly after wearing your shoes, and leave them in place whenever they’re not being worn. This will allow the shoe trees to absorb moisture and continue to hold the shoe’s shape. If your shoes are soaking wet, give them some time to dry (20-40 minutes) before installing the shoe trees.
5. Don’t wear them every day
One of the easiest ways to keep your leather shoes or any shoes, in general, is to wear them less. If you alternate wearing two pairs of shoes, you wear them twice less. Hence it will last twice as long. Have a couple of shoes in each category (Summer shoes, Winter shoes, Spring/Autumn shoes), and you will be able to keep them in new-like condition for years.
6. Store shoes in a dust bag or drawer when not in use
Keeping your shoes and especially leather in a dust bag or drawer is especially important because sunlight and moisture in the air can easily damage leather. When traveling, put your leather shoes in a dust bag – this will not only keep your leather shoes safe and clean but your clothes and other items as well.
7. Extra Tip – Use a shoe spray
The best way to eliminate unwanted odors from your leather shoe is to use a shoe spray. Since you can’t put your leather shoes into the washing machine our options are quite limited. You can get inexpensive ones at any shoe store, and they will help with bad odors.