You love your vibrant leather shoes, and you want to keep them beautiful and shiny for years to come. To keep your shoes looking their best, clean them regularly, particularly in harsh weather like snow and ice.
Condition them every month or so to moisturize the leather, and then polish them for that lovely sheen. You may want to waterproof your shoes, though the shoes already come with a protective layer. When you put them away, store them properly, which will keep them pristine.
1 Cleaning Leather Shoes
Remove dirt with a soft cloth. Rub off as much dirt and grime as you can with a clean, dry cloth. Try to scrape off any loose mud, for instance, and wipe away any excess salt.
Use a gentle leather cleaner like saddle soap. Surfactants draw out dirt and other particles.
Scrub the cleaner into the surface using circular motions. Don’t press down too hard on the scrub brush. Use a gentle circular motion to cover the entire surface area of both shoes, taking care to scrub off any dirt or grime stains.
Wipe off the cleaner using a dry rag. Make sure you get off any excess cleaner on your shoes. Set your shoes aside to dry.
Get rid of tough stains with white vinegar and water. Mix two parts water and one part vinegar in a bowl. Soak the corner of a cloth in the mixture and dab it onto any stains on the leather shoes. If the stain doesn’t lift, gently rub the mixture into the stain with the cloth. Wipe off the vinegar mixture with a different damp cloth and let the shoes dry.
Make sure the leather cleaner you use doesn’t have alcohol or abrasives in it; these ingredients can damage leather and color.
Test the cleaner on an inconspicuous area of your leather shoes. Check to see if the cleaner causes any discoloration. If it does, look for a different cleaner with less harsh ingredients.
2 Caring for Leather Shoes
Wipe down your leather shoes with a soft cloth after each wear. Doing this regularly will prevent dirt and grime from building up on your shoes.
Polish your leather shoes once a month. A regular polishing routine will keep your shoes looking new. Buff a little store-bought leather conditioner or lotion into the shoes. This will soften the leather, helping to reverse the effects of the salt.
If you don't have any leather conditioner handy, a couple of drops of olive oil will do nicely. Rub a light layer of olive oil onto the surface of the shoes with a soft cloth. Buff away any excess with a dry cloth.
Treat your shoes with a leather conditioner once per month. Apply a dime-sized amount of a leather conditioner like mink oil or leather honey to your shoes using a cloth. Rub the conditioner into the leather, making sure the entire outer surface of each shoe has been treated.
Make sure you match the color of the polish to the color of your shoes. Once you think you have a good color, apply a little polish in an inconspicuous place to see if it matches.
Waterproof your leather shoes to protect them from water damage. Look for a spray-on or wax-based waterproof compound designed specifically for leather. Test an inconspicuous spot on your shoes first to see if the compound causes discoloration. If it doesn’t, apply an even coat of the compound to the entire outer surface of your shoes.
Try a spit shine for shiny shoes. For a spit shine, tightly stretch a cloth over your fingers. Add a little bit of water. Rub it over one area on your shoe, which will begin to harden the wax already on it. Keep rubbing until the area shines, and continue with the rest of the shoe.
Give your shoes a break between wears. Leather tends to absorb moisture from sources like rain, sweat, and dew. Giving your shoes a break between the days you wear them allows them time to dry out. Try alternating pairs of leather shoes if you prefer to wear leather every day.
3 Storing Your Shoes
Store your shoes in breathable fabric. Leather needs air to help rid itself of moisture. If you place it in a plastic bag, the bag seals that moisture in. Instead, choose something breathable, such as a fabric bag.
Store your leather shoes in a dark place. Never keep your leather shoes in direct sunlight for extended periods of time. The sun will cause vibrant color leather to fade and get lighter. A closet in a cool, dry location is an ideal spot to store your shoes when you’re not wearing them.