Don't Neglect Your Suede and Nubuck Shoes
It’s been 60 years since Elvis told the world not to step on his blue suede shoes. Since then suede has enchanted shoe lovers of all ages. This article provides information on the everyday care needed for suede and nubuck shoes, showing you how to extend the life of this unique fabric once worn by the King. And if someone does decide to step on your blue suede shoes, you’ll know some tips on how to clean them.
What is Suede?
Suede is the result of splitting an animal hide then taking the bottom half and buffing it to raise a nap, the fuzzy quality that gives suede its distinctive appeal. The result of this buffing process is a soft and flexible leather, at a cost to water resistance and durability. Suede cleaners focus on weather proofing the shoe against elements like rain, snow, sand and mud.
What is Nubuck?
Nubuck is leather treated in the same way as suede, but has more durability due to its pre-treatment which gives nubuck a stain resistant quality over suede. Generally, nubuck is more expensive than suede, but still has the nappy quality that places them in the same category.
A Summertime Shoe
Sales of nubuck and suede shoe cleaner become popular during the fall and winter. Due to a lack of weather resistance, suede is often considered a spring and summer material. Individuals wishing to wear their favorite pair in the less temperate months need a suede care kit to keep their leather shoes fresh.
A Suede Care Kit Elvis Would Love
Be sure to have these products on hand:
- Suede brush - to help clean stubborn stains
- Suede eraser - to remove marks
- Bristle brush - to raise the nap
- Spray - to waterproof the shoe
- Conditioner - to moisturize leather (Optional)
Steps to Care For a Suede Shoe
- Only work with the shoe when dry
- Use a suede brush with soft bristles to clean off any dirt, mud, sand, or stain. Do your best and get what you can; don’t scuff the shoe too hard.
- Further remove stains by using the suede eraser in darkened areas or areas that need a touch-up. Suede erasers lift up dirt from the surface of suede. Particles from the eraser will break off during the removal process as the eraser picks up dirt.
- In circular motions, use a bristle brush to lift the suede’s nap back to its original condition
- Use spray on the outside of the shoe to give it a barrier against water
- Work in conditioner on the inside of the shoe in order to moisturize the leather.
To get more from an investment in suede and nubuck shoes, use these care items and methods to maximise their longevity and usability. But try not to let anyone step on them.
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- Alex Pop