Extend The Life Of Your Footwear With Leather Shoe Care Products
Leather is a type of material that has been used for thousands of years to make long-lasting, hardy, and flexible footwear. With improper care, however, even the most durable shoe can fall victim to wear, tear and time. In this post, we give you some tips, tricks, and tools of the trade to take care of your prized leather shoe possessions.
Leather shoes can hold their aesthetic appeal for decades when looked after properly. No matter how cheap or expensive the shoe, without proper maintenance, they will begin to break down. Water, dirt, sweat and regular are the prime factors that will wear down your the value of your investment.
How Often Should You Mend Your Leather Shoes?
As with most questions in life, the answer to this question is “It depends.” Are you living in a cold, snowy climate or a hot and humid one? Do you walk frequently, or mostly wear your dress shoes to your office job? Do you work in dirty or hazardous conditions?
A salesman working door-to-door in rainy Seattle, walking on his feet all day, has different leather shoe care needs than an executive in Los Angeles, who is being chauffeured from place to place.
Generally, the rule is to condition every 5-10 wears in harsh conditions and every 15-20 conditions otherwise. Likewise, it is best to condition your shoes upon arrival and to switch them out with another pair, so that you are not wearing one pair back to back.
The Anatomy of a Shoe
The above picture is helpful in determining the names of the different parts of the shoe. When using leather shoe cleaner or any other shoe care accessories, pay attention to the instructions so as to know what parts of the shoe each protectant works on.
Extend the life of your footwear with cleaner, conditioner, and shiner from trusted brands like Penguin, Angelus, and Kiwi. At the bare minimum, you should clean, condition, and shine the top cap, vamp, throat, quarter and heelcap. A product like Penguin Premium Paste conditioner easily is easily worked into the shoe vamp and quarter moisturizing the leather and giving a long lasting, bright shine.
Savvy shoe aficionados will make sure to clean the hard to reach places like eyelets by removing the shoelaces, cleaning, conditioning, polishing, and letting the materials dry. We recommend taking a cotton swab and sticking it into the welt gap, running it around the groove between the upper and lower shoe.
Some Do’s and Dont’s
- Use shoe trees. A cedar shoe tree will absorb moisture and odor and also keep your shoes from deforming.
- Do use the original bag your shoes came in to store them. By keeping your shoes in a bag, you can prevent structural damage and scuff marks.
- Don’t use plastic bags when storing leather. Plastic bags cause leather to dry up fast as it removes the moisture from the air. (Think of leather as a skin. It needs to breathe).
- Don’t wear your suede or nubuck shoes out in the rain. Suede and nubuck are a “spring and summer” material. Take heed not to wear them in the rain or snow as these conditions are not good for this specific type of leather shoe. If you must, use weatherproof spray as part of a leather shoe protector.
Time: Friend or Foe?
It depends. Leather can develop a beautiful patina with time, adding to its character. Like a fine wine, a properly maintained leather shoe can age well with time. Remember that at the end of the day, shoes are meant to be worn. Do your best to take care of them by following our blog and keeping in mind these leather care best practices.
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- Alex Pop