How to Care for Your Leather Shoes

Leather shoes are especially costly so you'll want to take some extra care with them to ensure they last a long time and look good as well.

Anyone who has ever purchased a pair of shoes can tell you how expensive they are. Leather shoes are especially costly so you'll want to take some extra care with them to ensure they last a long time and look good as well. The first step in caring for your leather shoes is cleaning them.

There are many types of shoe cleaners including cream, foams, sprays and gels, ensure you use only cleaners designed for leather or you risk permanently damaging your purchase. Most cleaners come with their own applicator. If yours doesn't or you don't like the applicator it came with, you can use a shoe brush to get rid of any loose dirt or debris from your shoes.

Once your shoes are cleaned, you'll want to condition them so they stay soft and supple. Conditioning will also help avoid cracking. While many leather care products will clean and condition your shoes at the same time, for the very best care, use separate products for each process. Natural conditioners will more readily absorb into your shoes than synthetic ones, making them a much better choice. When choosing a conditioner, always determine if it's the right one for your type of shoe. Take a small amount of conditioner and rub in into your shoe, going one small section at a time until the entire shoe is covered. Let the product sit for a few minutes while the leather absorbs it, then wipe away any excess. Keep in mind that you'll need to condition shoes more often in a dry climate.

Your shoes are now ready for polishing. There are three main types of shoe polish, including creams, liquids and pastes. Each one has its advantages and drawbacks so it's important to take your time choosing the type that works best for you. Polishes also come in a variety of colors so be sure to test a tiny amount in an inconspicuous place on your shoe. You'll want to ensure the color matches or you could find yourself polishing your shoes several times. If you have smooth leather shoes, you can also use olive oil or walnut oil. Again, try it out in an inconspicuous spot first. Rub the polish in with a soft cotton cloth and allow it to dry completely. Once the shoe is dry, buff it with a soft cloth or shoe-shining brush. Of course you can always just go out and have them professionally polished. It will cost more, but the results are worth it.

Now you have a pair of great looking shoes, but how do you keep them that way? It's time to weatherproof your shoes now! Rain, snow and salt can quickly damage your shoes and negate all the hard work you put into them, so weatherproofing is essential. There are two main ways to do this, depending on where you wear your shoes and how you want them to look. If you wear them in a casual or office environment and looks are important, then you'll find that there are a number of good protective sprays available. The better sprays leave an invisible barrier on your shoes which will protect them from the elements. If you find that you spend a great deal of time in wet or muddy areas, then you might consider using a product made of beeswax. This will give you excellent protection but it might change the look of your shoe if you place it on too thickly.

There are some other things you can do to extend the life of your leather shoes. Since leather will absorb the moisture from your feet, you'll want to rotate between several pairs in order to allow them to dry out. When you aren't wearing your shoes, keep them on a shoe tree stored in a dry, cool area. Polish your shoes regularly and don't forget to remove the laces before you begin. If you find any damage to your shoes, have them repaired immediately before the damage becomes permanent. Also, try to clean them with a soft cloth after each time you wear them.

Some of this advice may seem a little excessive or time consuming. If you find you simply don't have the time or energy to follow everything in this article, just remember the basics. Keep your shoes clean, dry and polished. With a little knowledge and care, your expensive leather shoes will give you many years of good use.