We’ve all heard the age-old adage that you can gain the measure of anyone by simply glancing at his or her shoes. A pair of well-maintained leather shoes is the foundation of any great wardrobe, but as with a bespoke car or tailored suit, there is an art to taking care of your leather shoes. Master the art, and a high-quality pair of leather shoes from a premium shoemaker such as Tricker’s or Grenson will last you a lifetime.
Without further ado, AllSole offers our nine golden rules for keeping your leather shoes in pristine condition.
Invest in a Shoe Horn
Always use a shoe horn to put on your shoes whether they are laced, buckled, elasticated or otherwise. Failing to do so will weaken the back of the shoe which leads to a loss of structure that will begin to crease and crack the leather in certain areas.
Break Them in Slowly
Never wear your new shoes for more than two or three hours at a time (regardless of how beautiful they are). This will allow the leather to stretch naturally to take on the shape of your foot over time and prevent the occurrence of blisters and rubs.
Use a Shoe Horn to Retain Shape
Use a shoe tree after each wearing to help maintain the shape and silhouette of the shoe as well as helping your shoes dry out properly.
Steer Clear of Downpours
Stay out of the rain for your first few wearings. Try to wear your shoes in dry conditions the first few times you wear them as rain will temporarily soften the leather and begin to affect the structure and silhouette of your new shoes.
Moisturise & Protect Your Leather
After each wearing, wipe down your shoes and apply a quality cream or wax that will help prevent the leather from cracking and creasing.
Get to Know Your Shoes
Know your shoes: From sole to midsole to upper, knowing the materials and construction of your shoes will be invaluable to taking care of your shoes. If your upper comprises multiple fabrics, pay attention to how you need to cater to each material to ensure the longevity of your shoes.
Give Them a Break...
Allow your shoes to rest: Not only is this one a great (and perfectly valid) excuse to buy more shoes, but it also completely true. Wearing the same pair of shoes day after day will soon take its toll, and you should always rotate your footwear so that your shoes can be aired and dry out properly that will help the shoes retain their structure.
But Not For Too Long
Don’t store your shoes in shoe boxes for long periods of time: Prolonged storage can cause certain footwear materials to deteriorate, especially in more humid climates.
Polish regularly (and polish properly)
Leather uppers require regular treatment with a quality wax polish that will moisturise and waterproof your leather. Also take the time to perfect your polishing technique to ensure the best results (and to avoid wasting your time with a half-cooked attempt at polishing).