How To Care for Leather Shoes 

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The process of cleaning shoes. A man is cleaning his shoes.

Leather is a valuable material, and leather shoes are typically among the higher end of the scale when it comes to footwear luxury. Whether it be a trendy pair of men’s winkle pickers or a stunning pair of red leather heels, these shoes are ones to cherish, to show off and, perhaps most importantly, to take care of. Good quality leather is designed to be an exceptional shoe material – durable and well formed – so it’s almost paradoxical then that such as famously tough material should require such assiduous care. Yet however long a pair of leather shoes may last (and they can last an exceptionally long time), they are composed of a material that can become quite shabby quite quickly if totally neglected. 

Luckily, leather can nearly always be effectively restored as well, and there is no reason you cannot get quite literally years of use out of a pair of leather shoes. The fact that these shoes are typically luxury items and not worn every day also works in their favor. Leather shoes can be the pride of your collection for an awfully long time, but they also require special care. 

But by “special care” we do not mean anything that takes any special expertise or training as a cobbler, just that care of leather involves a few tasks specific to that material. 

Top Tips for Leather Care 

All the other aspects of good shoe care still apply to leather shoes. You should store them properly, avoid getting them wet, and they will need the use of a good shoe deodorizer every once in a while. Go for a good shoe deodorizing spray, like ShoeFresh, and your leather shoes can stay fresh smelling for up to three months before another treatment is needed. 

Do Not Wear Them Every Day 

You might have heard the common wisdom, “leather needs to breathe.” That is good advice, as leather does indeed require regular exposure to the air to stay in good condition. Being in close contact with your feet all day, leather can absorb the moisture produced by sweating and wet leather is far more susceptible to stretching, scuffing, and creasing. Therefore, do not wear your leather shoes every day.

Clean Them After Every Wear

This might sound like a pretty onerous task, but if you have followed the first tip here, then it hopefully will not be a daily one. Nevertheless, your best chance of keeping your leather shoes looking brand new for as long as possible is to give them a brush and a wipe after every use. If dirt or grime hangs around on your shoes for any length of time, it can be absorbed by the leather. 

Make Use of a Shoe Tree

As a porous material, leather can even absorb dirt and moisture from the air, which can lead to it breaking down over time. A shoe tree will absorb that instead, as well as helping to keep the shape for your shoes.

Avoid Getting Them Wet 

Since shoes are deigned to be exposed to the very elements they protect your feet from, what this tip means in practice is avoiding wearing leather shoes in rainy or snowy weather.  Water stains leather, and the soles of your shoes will become more vulnerable to abrasive surfaces if they are wet. 

Leather may be tough, but, as these tips have shown, it is a substance that requires great care as well. Do that right, however, and you can get years of use out of your leather shoes. After all, it was a significant investment.