Leather Shoes l
Suede & Nubuck l
Investing a few minutes each month in shoe
care is the best thing you can do to
protect your footwear investment. Combined with
regular visits to your local shoe repair shop,
shoe care will significantly extend the life of your
Many people think
shoe care means polish shoes occasionally.
Actually, it is slightly more involved than
that. Caring for your shoes is a four-step
process -- cleaning, conditioning, polishing and
The first step in
shoe care is to clean the
surface with a leather cleaner to remove surface
dirt, just as you would wash a car before you
wax it. After cleaning, you should condition the
leather. Conditioners soften and lubricate
leather, keeping it feeling and looking new.
Once the shoes
have been cleaned and conditioned, then
it is time for polish. Polishes contain dyes and
pigments to renew color and cover scuffs; waxes
to provide shine and protection; and
conditioning agents to moisten and renew the
basically three types of polish -- liquid, cream
and past. Liquids are easiest to apply, followed
by cream and paste. Ease of application,
however, is inversely proportional to wax
content and the staying power of the polish.
Pastes hold up the longest. Creams are easier to
apply than paste, hold up longer than liquids
and come in a variety of fashionable colors.
The final shoe care step is weatherproofing. Though
polishes provide some sealing qualities, if you
live or work in a wet, muddy or oily
environment, the added protection of a weatherproofer is a must.
Suede and Nubuck
The key to keeping
suede and nubuck in top shape is preventative
maintenance. Before you wear the shoes, protect
them with a water and stain repellent designed
specifically for suede and nubuck. As soon as
you notice that water is no longer beading up,
spray them again.
Use a plastic or
rubber-tipped brush regularly to restore the nap
and remove surface dirt before it sets in. Be
gentle brushing nubuck. It is softer than suede
and is easily damaged. With oiled nubuck, you
need to use a nubuck conditioner to put back
some of those oils on a regular basis.
If you get a stain
on suede or nubuck, try to remove it immediately
with a solvent-based cleaner made specifically
for the material. Oil absorbing blocks are also
available. These blocks abrade the leather to
bring back the nap and remove stains. Use a less
aggressive block with nubuck because of its more
delicate nature. If you have a serious stain,
you might be better off taking the shoe to your
shoe repair professional.
If you have shoes
with fabric or suede on the uppers, follow the
steps just outlined for suede care. Leather
uppers are much easier to clean. Sneaker
shampoos with scrubbing applicators remove
stains and dirt from the leather surface. If the
shoes become scuffed, shoe whitening products
restore the original color. Shoe repair
professionals can also use a white spray dye to
give a very good finish.
The big problem
with athletic shoes is controlling odor. Because
these shoes are constructed with foam and other
man-made materials, they are ideal places for
bacteria to live and grow.
deodorizing products are available including
insoles, powders and sprays. find a product that
absorbs the odor-causing bacteria and
counteracts it. A product that simply masks the
odor will not solve the problem.
Finally, you can
keep your athletic shoes looking and feeling new
with replacement parts. New laces do wonders for
the appearance and new insoles are often better
than the originals.