How to care for nubuck shoes

Nubuck is a soft, rawhide leather from the outer side of the hide that has been buffed to a velvety smooth surface. A popular material for clothes and shoes, nubuck, like suede, requires regular care to maintain an attractive appearance. When it comes to caring for nubuck shoes, the old adage about "an ounce of prevention" applies. With the proper preventive care and careful, regular cleaning, you can keep your nubuck shoes looking just as great as the day you got them.

Spray your nubuck shoes with a rain and stain repellent product that has been specially formulated for nubuck and suede. Apply the rain and stain repellent according to package directions. Allow the shoes to dry completely before applying a second coat of rain and stain repellent.

Brush your nubuck shoes with a plastic or rubber-tipped suede or nubuck brush, as needed, to restore the nap of the leather. Brush gently to avoid damaging the soft nubuck leather.

Clean spills from your nubuck shoes immediately using a solvent-based cleaner that has been specially formulated for suede and nubuck. Use the solvent-based cleaner according to label instructions for best results.

Apply a nubuck conditioner to oiled nubuck shoes every two to three weeks, or as needed, to restore their attractive oily sheen. Consult the label on your nubuck conditioner product for specific application instructions.

Repeat Step 1 when water dropped on the surface of the nubuck no longer beads up.


Refer seriously stained or damaged nubuck shoes to a shoe repair professional for best results.


Avoid immersing your nubuck shoes in water. Do not use shoe polish on your nubuck leather shoes.

Things You'll Need

  • Rain and stain repellent
  • Nubuck brush
  • Suede and nubuck cleaner
  • Nubuck conditioner (if necessary)
Cite this Article A tool to create a citation to reference this article Cite this Article

About the Author

Megan Mattingly-Arthur has been writing professionally since 1998. She has contributed to various publications, including "Teen Voices" and "Positive Teens" magazines, as well as a book, "The Young Writer's Guide to Getting Published." Mattingly-Arthur is studying travel and tourism through Penn Foster Career School.