How to Take Care of Your Leather Shoes: 6 Easy Steps

Keeping your leather shoes clean and ready for action isn’t as difficult as you think. You need to purchase some inexpensive tools and take some time every now and then, and you will always have a great-looking pair of shoes.

Leather Shoe Care Products

Today we’ll cover how to take care of your leather shoes. Leather products are made of animal skin. Like our skin, it is sensitive and can be easily damaged by external and internal factors. Therefore, it requires proper care and protection.

Unlike our skin, leather is not alive, so it doesn’t get the nutrition it needs to be strong and healthy. Without care, it can become dry and stiff. Also, leather absorbs water excessively. When this happens, it becomes brittle as it dries.

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How Do You Clean Leather Shoes Easily?

Cleaning leather shoes can be a simple task if you stick to the proper techniques. In the case of excessive dirt, use a soft brush to remove larger particles. Next, clean the shoes with a damp cloth – allow the shoes to dry before applying any conditioner.

White Low Top Leather Sneaker Held in Hand
White leather sneaker captured by Bannon Morrissy

Whether you are cleaning leather sneakers or boots, with the tips listed in the article, they will look just as good as when you bought them.

How to Take Care of Leather Shoes?

Taking care of your attire, in this case, leather is important to maintain its appearance and longevity and to always have a flawless look. Leather is a natural material that can dry out, crack, or become discolored if not properly cared for.

Men's Black Oxford Shoes

Regular cleaning and conditioning help to keep the leather soft, supple, and protected from wear and tear, ensuring it lasts for years to come. For more detailed instructions on how to take care of your leather shoes, read the following tips:

1. Start Using a Shoehorn

The number one item on the list is a shoehorn. It is an affordable tool that you can buy in most shoe stores.

Using a shoehorn is essential if you wish to maintain the inner parts of your shoes in good condition. Often, when you put on your shoes without a shoehorn, you slowly damage the back of the shoe, which can eventually result in tearing or breaking.

How to Take Care of Your Leather Shoes: Use a Shoehorn

One of the most critical parts of any shoe is the back part of its inside. We can easily damage it when putting the shoes on or taking them off. With a shoe horn, you can slide your feet into your shoes, reducing the pressure on your shoes.

Metal Shoe Horn

Numplar Metal Shoe Horn

This solid stainless steel shoe horn is thick and heavy, providing strength and preventing bending, with smooth and rounded edges for easy and damage-free shoe insertion.

2. Clean Your Shoes Regularly

Cleaning leather is a simple yet vital process, but you need to keep some things in mind. Make sure to use only the proper cleaning agent or solution when cleaning your leather. If possible, opt for saddle soap or leather cleaners exclusively to clean the leather.

Likewise, it is essential to remember that in cleaning leather, washing by hand is the only advisable method to clean it. Never throw any leather-made items in the washing machine. The constant motion and the extensive water inside the machine will damage the leather entirely.

How to Take Care of Your Leather Shoes: Regularly Clean Them
Photo by Emmanuel Boldo

The final thing to know when cleaning or polishing your shoes is to use the right fabrics and tools. For brushing, utilize a brush made of animal hair, and for wiping, employ a microfiber cloth.

3 Pieces Horsehair Shoes Polish Brushes Kit
3 Pieces Horsehair Shoes Polish Brushes Kit

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 your shoes in good condition will not only keep them clean but will extend the lifetime of your favorite pair. By using a leather conditioner, you can keep your shoes in perfect shape.

How to Take Care of Your Leather Shoes: Use Leather Conditioner
Photo by Lina Verovaya

Before applying the leather conditioner, you should clean the leather thoroughly and allow it to dry. Once the leather is clean and dry, proceed with the application of 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 like Cobbler’s Choice:

4. Use a Shoe Tree to keep the Shape

Shoe trees are foot-shaped items inserted into shoes to reduce moisture and help maintain their shape when they’re not being worn. They are most commonly made of wood or plastic.

Leather Shoes Care: Use Wooden Shoe Trees

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.

Leather Shoes Care: Don’t wear them every day
Black Leather Oxford Giacalustra by © Velasca

6. Store Shoes in a Dust Bag or Drawer When Not in Use

Storing your shoes, especially leather ones, in a dust bag or drawer is crucial, as sunlight and airborne moisture can easily damage leather. After a rainy day, always allow your shoes to dry before putting them away.

Leather Shoes Care: Store them in a dust bag or drawer when not in use

When traveling, put your shoes in a dust bag – this will not only keep them safe and clean but your clothes and other items as well.

7. Extra Tip – Use a Shoe Spray

At last, an extra tip, 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.

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How to Properly Clean a Leather Shoe?

It is recommended not to immerse leather in water. The easiest way to clean your leather shoes on the go is to use wet wipes – yes, wet wipes. I’ve been using all-purpose wet wipes for cleaning my leather products for a long time, 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 excess water or moisture that could ruin your leather. Also, try to pick wet wipes without harming odorants – some chemicals can damage your shoes or leather products.

A Pair of Brown Leather Shoes
A Pair of Brown Leather Brogues Captured by Noah Smith

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.

Or, if you like to schedule things, have a dedicated time of the week when you spend 30-60 minutes cleaning your shoes.

Final Notes

When you buy a new pair of shoes, you want to keep them in the best condition for as long as possible. By adopting these simple steps for leather shoe care, you will go a long way in maintaining their quality and appearance. Using a shoehorn, regular cleaning, applying leather conditioner, utilizing shoe trees, limiting daily wear, and storing them properly will ensure your leather shoes stay in excellent condition.

With a little effort, you can enjoy long-lasting and stylish leather shoes for years to come.

Leather Shoes Care

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How to Take Care of Your Leather Shoes: 6 Easy Steps
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How to Take Care of Your Leather Shoes: 6 Easy Steps
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Preparing leather shoes is not as difficult as you might think. Simply buy tools and spend some time on them. Today I will show you how to take care of them.
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Midway Gentleman
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