The secret to leather shoe care

| Anoushka Thapliyal

Like our skin, leather shoes require special care and conditioning. Now, we aren’t asking you to spend large amounts of money on your already expensive shoes but a little goes a long way, and investing in right products and efforts will make sure your leather shoes will last for decades.

We recommend the following regime to make sure that your shoes look just as the day they were bought.


shoe cleaning

  • To avoid settling of dust and grime, leather shoes should be brushed gently and regularly with a horsehair brush as any other kind will result in scratches.
  • To maintain leather shoes, cleaning them regularly is essential. We advise you to clean your shoes with a damp microfiber cloth dipped in mild leather shoe cleaning solution.
  • If the laces require cleaning aswell, remove them from the shoe and clean them separately with mild detergent and warm water.


shoe conditioning

Conditioning moisturizes and softens the membrane, preventing the leather from drying out and cracking. Hence, conditioning is an important part of the process if you want your shoes to last.

  • After cleaning your shoes, allow them to dry out completely. Moisture may lead to bacterial and fungal growth resulting in musty smell and degradation of good leather.
  • Use a clean soft fibre cloth and a leather conditioner and rub it along the surface of the shoe.
  • Buff the remaining conditioner with a horsehair brush.

Polishing and protecting

leather shoe polish

Nowadays, leather shoe polish comes in a range of liquids, pastes and creams with a variety of colors, deciding the right kind becomes quite difficult. We would recommend you to make that choice based on longer wear, ease of application and availability of colors.

  • Best way to apply shoe polish is to use your fingers or a horsehair brush to work a neutral leather polish across the leather and remove the excess by buffing it with the brush.
  • If going for a high shine, it’s recommended to use wax paste instead of shoe cream or polish but remember, wax dries out the shoe faster.
  • It’s always advised to polish the heel and toe of the shoe a second time after the first polish, as these parts are most visible to the eye.
  • After the polish/wax, you can also protect your leather shoes from water by using water protection sprays.

Sole care

Sole care

When you feel that your sole has been worn down and the edges of your heel have rounded a bit, it’s time to replace those soles. Not replacing the soles in time can damage the integrity of the shoe, leading them to a point of no return.

  • While replacing the shoe sole, ask the cobbler to add a thin rubber sole to your leather shoes. It adds extra cushion, gives a good grip and increases the soles durability.
  • If your soles get wet, don’t put them near a heat source instead let them air dry slowly.
  • If the shoes have been worn for about 12-18 months, you can ask your cobbler to add ‘taps’ to the rear and front heels of the shoe. Taps help absorb shock from the ground and prevents the shoe sole from eroding.

Shoe trees for storage

Shoe trees for storage

The beauty of shoe trees is that they help the leather to maintain its form, preventing the leather from shrinking or creasing.

Shoe trees also come in great variety but the most popular one is the cedar kind, they help soak up the moisture. Moreover, cedar has been linked to antibacterial and fungicidal properties therefore, it prevents growth of bacteria and any foul, musty smell it may cause.

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