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How to Protect Leather Soles

Updated April 17, 2017

Enjoying a great pair of shoes is one of life's little pleasures. Leather shoes are known for being comfortable and durable, and protecting your leather soles will keep your shoes looking good for years. Following a few easy steps will help keep your soles clean and damage free.

Clean your leather soles. Make cleaning a routine each time after you wear your shoes. Use a dry soft cloth or brush to clear dirt particles. Make sure to get the dirt out of any small grooves in the soles. Dirt acts like sandpaper and will leave scratches in your soles.

Wash away left over grime. Soak a cloth in some water and wring out any excess. Clean away any remaining dirt. Mud, gum and any other residue should be removed. Make sure to rinse off the cloth each time it gets soiled. Excess dirt on the cloth can scratch you leather soles as well.

Dip the cloth in a mixture of half vinegar and half water. Wipe off any sticky spots such as dried soda or gum. Continue to rub the spots until they are completely removed. A pencil eraser will get rid of any scuff marks.

Rinse the cloth in fresh water. Dip the damp cloth in mink oil. Apply the oil to the leather soles. Make sure you cover every part of the sole. A small brush can be use to get the mink oil in the small crevices of the soles. Mink oil helps to waterproof your leather. Use a dry cloth to wipe away excess oil. Allow your leather soles to dry away from direct heat. Direct heat will shrink the leather.

Take your leather soled shoes to a local shoe repair and have an extra thin piece of rubber attached to the bottom of your soles. The rubber will protect the shoes from wear and tear and can be replaced when necessary.

Things You'll Need

  • 2 soft cloths
  • Soft brush
  • Water
  • Vinegar
  • Mink oil
  • Pencil eraser
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About the Author

Based in San Diego County, Calif., Monica Baylor has been writing since 1995. Her articles have appeared in the “Southwestern Sun” newspaper and The NU Herald online newspaper. Baylor holds Bachelor of Arts in digital journalism from National University.