Quality leather shoes add a stylish Saville Row or Hobbs accent to your sartorial ensemble. Being ideally soft as a baby’s skin, leather shoes should be treated with the same loving care. A careful maintenance regime, which should include conditioning your shoes every few weeks, will help protect leather footwear against creases, cracks and other signs of wear and tear, extending the leather’s longevity and preserving its elegant appearance.
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Things you need
- Wooden shoe tree
- Dry cloth
- Saddle soap
Try using shoe trees made from unfinished cedar wood in your shoes when you aren't wearing them. Shoe trees help footwear maintain its original shape, reducing the risk of creasing, while unfinished cedar wood absorbs excess moisture and infuses your shoes with a pleasant aroma.
Protect your shoes from adverse weather. It may be impractical to completely avoid getting your feet wet in our rainy climate, but keeping your shoes as dry as possible will keep them in tip-top condition for longer. This is due to the fact that water deprives leather of its natural oils, which breaks down its fibrous structure, making it crease more easily.
If your shoes do get wet, let them dry out naturally and stuff them with shoe trees. Alternatively, fill wet shoes with newspaper if you don’t have a shoe tree to hand. It is also advisable to let the shoes dry at room temperature for at least 48 hours before wearing them again.
Using quality conditioning wax on your shoes protects them against premature creases and wrinkles and keeps the leather soft and supple. Conditioner also seals in the leather’s natural oils and provides a protective coating that stops your shoes absorbing too much water when you get caught in the rain or accidentally stop in a puddle.
In order to prepare your shoes for conditioning treatment, clean them using saddle soap, brush them using a soft shoe brush or wipe off surface dirt with a dry cloth, ensuring they are completely dry before applying the conditioner.
Regardless of the conditioning product you choose for your shoes, follow the manufacturer’s instructions for applying the treatment and remove all excess wax with a dry cloth when you have finished.
Conditioning and protection
Tips and warnings
- Keep leather shoes away from radiators and fires, regardless of whether they are wet or dry. This can overheat them, making the leather brittle and, therefore, more susceptible to creases and cracks.
- Keep your new shoes away from the rain or water until you have worn them at least 3 or 4 times.
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