Quality shoes are expensive, so proper care of leather shoes is essential for longer wear. Leather shoes should last for several seasons. A few supplies and a little time each week will keep shoes looking their best.
Begin by purchasing quality leather shoes in the correct size. Real leather breathes and has a bit of stretch for comfort. If shoes are not the correct size, they will wear unevenly as they slip (if too big) or wear out more quickly from stress (if too small.) Before wearing new shoes, have a shoe repair shop put heel and toe plates on soles to protect the most vulnerable spots on the shoes. Thin rubber half soles are also available to prolong wear and prevent slipping. While you are at the shop, purchase shoe polish to match, suede cleaner if needed, and the proper brushes for cleaning and polishing your new shoes.
Once the shoes have been worn, regular cleaning and polishing is important to keep them looking their best. The following cleaning tips are from KIWI, a leading maker of shoe care products. Use a shoe brush to remove loose dirt, then clean with saddle soap if necessary. Next, apply matching or neutral shoe polish with a soft cloth. If the shoes have laces, remove them before polishing in order to polish the tongue of the shoe. After the polish is dry, buff to a shine with a natural bristle shoe brush. Be sure to use different brushes when polishing shoes of different colors. Replace shoelaces after polish is dry and shoes are buffed with a soft cloth.
Suede leather shoesrequire special care. Brush them clean with a suede brush. Some small spots may be removed with an art gum eraser. Spray-on suede cleaners are also available; follow the directions on the can. If suede shoes get wet, stuff them with newspaper, changing the paper a few times until the shoes are dry. (This tip also works with wet running shoes.)
Proper storage is the final key to make your shoes last longer. Leather shoesshould be stored with shoe trees inside to help the shoes retain their shape. If you don’t have shoe trees, use crumpled tissue paper to stuff in toes to keep their shape. Use a shoe horn when putting on dress shoes—this saves the heel counter from breakage. When traveling, use shoe bags to protect your shoes. Drawstring shoe bags can be made from flannel. Finally protect shoes from rain and snow with overshoes and never store or dry leather shoesnear a direct source of heat.