Looking after your shoes:
CLEANING LEATHER FOOTWEAR
Wipe the shoes with a damp cloth soaked in lukewarm water, or wash with a mild detergent solution to remove the dirt. Any detergents used must be neutral (pH 7). Neutral detergents such as pine soap or detergents containing oils are suitable for cleaning leather footwear.
WASHING YOUR SHOES
Shoes can also be washed in a washing machine at 30–40ºC, provided no spin cycle is used. It is also important to remember that alkaline or base detergents should never be used when washing leather shoes. The colours used in the leather are fixed with acids, and base detergents counteract the effect of the acids, allowing the colours to seep out. Neutral detergents (pH 7) are suitable for washing leather footwear. However, frequent and repeated machine washing is not recommended, as this may cause the leather to change in nature – hardening, for example. The footwear should be dried in a well-ventilated place, at a maximum temperature of 30ºC.
DRYING YOUR SHOES
Dry shoes after use. Allow shoes to dry naturally at room temperature (max. +30ºC) in a well-ventilated and dry space. Shoes should not be dried at too high a temperature, as this may damage the outer material. Dry removable insoles separately to the shoe. Do not put anything inside or on top of the shoes whilst they are drying.
WHAT EQUIPMENT DO I NEED TO LOOK AFTER MY SHOES?
Protective sprays shield your shoes from moisture and dirt, prevent streaks when drying, and increase the heat insulation properties of your shoes. Shoe polish brightens the colour of shoes and is available in black, brown and neutral (no colour). Any loose dirt can be brushed off with a soft shoe brush, and specific suede cleaning gum is available for suede shoes.
CARING FOR SUEDE AND NUBECK
Protect suede and nubuck shoes with a protective spray, both before and after use on a regular basis. Always brush any loose dust off the shoe after use, with a brush that has not been used on a top grain leather surface – dyes can be transferred on a brush! If a standard brush is insufficient, buy a suede brush or suede cleaning gum. You can revitalise old and worn suede with a rougher brush, such as an old, cleaned, dish brush. Abrasive gums can regenerate worn sections.
TAKING CARE OF TOP GRAIN LEATHER
Top grain leather shoes can also be protected with a protective spray or polish, and make sure to clean the shoes after each use with a soft brush or rag. With regular use, shoe polish or wax can preserve the shine of leather and keep the colours as they should be.
TAKING CARE OF PATENT LEATHER
Wipe down patent leather shoes after use with a soft, dry rag. Treat the surface with a polish designed for patent leather – this should be milder, as it contains less solvent than normal shoe polish. Shoe polish for normal, soft leather can remove the glossy surface from the leather or darken the colour.
TAKING CARE OF FABRIC SHOES
Brush off any loose dirt after use with a soft brush. Spots can be removed with a dampened rag. Textile shoes should also be treated with a protective spray, similar to suede shoes: before and after use at regular intervals.
STORE YOUR SHOES CORRECTLY
Store your shoes on a shoe rack, ensuring that there is space between shoes, or in shoe boxes when they are not being worn. Shoe trees can be used to help shoes retain their shape in storage. You can also place a support shaped out of paper in the tip of the shoe, and stretch the shoe out into shape with a thin rod. Shoes should always be cleaned well before storage.
Looking after your shoes well can extend their lifespan significantly.