How to take care of your leather shoes:
Without proper conditioning and care, leather can dry out until it eventually cracks and falls apart.
Remove dirt with a soft cloth or brush, or by using a shoe cleaner for smooth leather. Let the shoes dry for a few minutes and start shining them with a soft cotton cloth.
Conditioning your leather shoes will help soften and moisturize the leather and protect it from drying out and cracking. Use a natural conditioner that is absorbed into the material of the shoe. After a couple of minutes, wipe any remaining conditioner off, as the leather will only absorb what it can.
Apply polish to a small, less conspicuous area of the shoe to test and be sure the color is right or use a clear polish. Rub the polish into the shoe with a soft cloth and allow it to dry thoroughly. After the shoe polish is dry, shine your shoes by buffing them with a soft cloth or brush made specifically for shoe-shining.
Olive oil or walnut oil works for smooth leather as well, and is an alternative to traditional shoe polish. Work a small amount into the shoe and polish with a soft cotton cloth. Again, try this method in an inconspicuous spot before using the oil on the entire shoe.
Suede or nubuck:
Nubuck is a type of leather with a soft, velvety surface and it is some of the most expensive leather to purchase. Unlike the less expensive suede, nubuck leather is far more durable. The main difference between the two is that nubuck is sanded on the outer surface of the leather, essentially the part that would have been the exterior of the animal’s skin, while suede is sanded on the inner layer of the skin.
Brush your shoes with a suede or nubuck brush to restore the nap of the leather. Brush gently to avoid damaging the soft suede or nubuck. For tougher stains, try carefully to use pencil eraser or fine sandpaper.
Clean spills immediately using a solvent-based cleaner that has been specially formulated for suede and nubuck. Use the solvent-based cleaner according to the label instructions for best result.
Care and conditioning are very important for suede and nubuck leather. There are products available that protect condition and revive the color of this special material. The nap of suede and nubuck leather needs to be brushed up frequently to preserve the unique look of the material. For oiled nubuck use a conditioner that replaces the oil that wear takes out of the material.
Shoes with a nap, such as suede and nubuck, can’t be polished. Water-/weatherproofing are particularly important for the preventive maintenance of this sensitive material. Use sprays specifically designed for this material and repeat the process frequently to keep the protective film.
Made from natural leather, patent leather comes from applying a lacquer or varnish after the tanning and gives the leather a glossy, hard surface.
Remove dirt with a moist cloth and then polish with a dry cotton cloth.
Cracks and deep scratches are irreversible, but will be less visible with a small amount of nail polish in the right color.
Leather soles are very exclusive and they are basically meant for dry weather. For use otherwise you should have a shoemaker put on a rubber sole.
Use a dry soft cloth or brush to clear dirt particles and clean the sole with a moist cloth afterwards. Dip the cloth in a mixture of 50% water and 50% vinegar and rub the spots until they are completely removed.
Rinse the cloth in fresh water and dip the damp cloth in mink oil. Apply the oil and make sure it covers every part of the sole. Mink oil helps to waterproof your leather. Wipe off the excess oil with a dry cloth and let dry naturally.
Salt on shoes/boots:
Damaging white salt marks should be rinsed off immediately with 50/50 mixture of white distilled vinegar and water. Wipe dry and follow the instructions for cleaning. Let dry naturally.
Transitioning from winter to summer requires you to store some of your winter boots that you won’t be wearing during the summer. Leather boots are generally a sizeable investment, and properly cleaning and storing them ensures that they will last for years to come.