It is widely acknowledged that a pair of shoes looks best when they have been kept clean and fresh. The rate of deterioration of footwear widely varies based on how well they are cared for. Here we have compiled a guide to caring for your shoes and why it is important to vary your cleaning technique to suit each material.
General Care Tips and Guidance
There are a few tips that should be recalled irrelevant of what type of shoe your own:
- Wear new shoes in dry conditions wherever possible. Excessive damp and residue should be avoided with new footwear, should this occur allow your pair to dry naturally.
- Never use direct heat to dry shoes. When footwear becomes wet lay each piece onto its side and allow it to dry naturally.
- Try to use a shoe horn wherever necessary. Prolonged usage without a shoehorn will damage the heel.
- Use shoe trees or inserts to maintain shape when not in use.
- Clean your shoes as soon as possible when they become soiled. Do not allow dirt to soak deep into the material.
- When repairing shoes, ensure you use a reputable company.
Leather Shoe Care and Guidance
Leather needs regular care to avoid damage and marks. Moisturise the shoe regularly with care creams or wax to nurture the base of the material and to avoid any cracking. When your shoes are dirty, follow these steps:
- Remove any surface dirt by brushing the item with a horsehair brush. If any small pieces of dirt remain at the polishing stage you risk scratch marks appearing.
- Apply a thin layer of neutral shoe cream and rub this into the leather with a clean cloth. We do not recommend that you use any dyed shoe cream as the colouring effect can be unpredictable and spoil the initial quality of the item.
- Allow 20 minutes for the shoe cream to soak into the material and fully dry.
- Use a cloth to apply beeswax polish across the body of the shoe and leave for five minutes. The leather will have a dull appearance.
- Use a clean horsehair brush to polish the shoe by rubbing rapidly backwards and forwards. The friction created from this action melts the polish and creates a shiny effect. Repeat this action for as long as is required.
- Add a further layer of polish and repeat if you want to achieve a high level of shine.
- Use a clean cloth or nylon rag to rub down the shoe and remove any remaining pieces of wax.
Suede and Nubuck Shoe Care and Guidance
Suede is very difficult to clean. Due to the sensitive nature of the material merely getting the item wet can cause stain damage. For this reason any cleaning with water or water-based creams should be avoided at all costs. Here are the best ways to keep your suede at its best:
- Brush your shoes after every use with a specially designed suede brush. This will remove any surface dirt and keep the fibres looking their best. Be sure to brush the fibres in their natural direction.
- Be gentle when brushing your suede, excessive force will bald the surface.
- If deep stains occur use a specifically formulated foam to clean the material. Be sure to use a high quality product from a respected stockist.
- If you mark your shoes with grease rub a small amount of talcum powder into the stain and leave for a number of hours. The powder will absorb the moisture which can later be brushed away with your suede brush.
- If your shoes become excessively wet dab the excess moisture with a clean towel and leave the suede to dry naturally overnight. Gently use your suede brush to reshape the fibres.
- The best product for your suede shoes is a protector spray. This spray adds an invisible layer of protection to your shoes that prevents moisture or dirt from soaking into the material. Re-spray your shoes every 4-5 wears.
Trainer Care and Guidance
The care your trainers require vary based on the design and material composition. The versatility of trainers lends them a unique care need. Many people will tell you that the most effective way to clean them is in a washing machine. Do NOT put your trainers in the washing machine; the stitching of the shoes will be loosened, they will lose shape and the materials can be severely damaged. Here are a few helpful tips and care instructions:
- Wet wipes are one of the best items to use for removing surface dirt from your shoes.
- To clean dirtied leather, synthetic or canvas materials combine washing up liquid with water and brush repeatedly with an old toothbrush.
- When brushing your shoes it is important to consider the design properties. If the upper features mesh detail then opt for a soft sponge as opposed to hard bristle piece.
- Refresh your laces by removing them from the trainer and letting them soak in a bowl of warm water and washing liquid. Let your laces dry fully before their next use.
- If your shoes have a rubber midsole, it is important that this is cared for in an adequate way. Mud stains and scuffs can quickly soak into the material and become very difficult to clean. After every few uses, wipe the midsole with a sponge to remove and surface dirt.
- Use a protector spray to guard against liquid and dirt stains.