Tip #2: Rotate Your Shoes
Shoes need a day off. If you want your fine leather shoes to last longer, never wear them for two consecutive days.
Tip #3: Protective Soles
Adding a rubber sole protector prolongs the life of your shoes. Stylishly thin, this rubber top sole protects the outer sole from wear and tear. Water resistant and skid proof, protective soles will greatly increase the life of leather soled shoes.
Tip #4: Use a Shoe Horn
Always use a shoe horn when putting on your shoes. This saves the heel collar and counter from unnecessary wear.
Tip #5: Maintenance
We highly recommend cleaning your shoes on a regular basis, depending on frequency of use. The cleaning method depends on the shoe's material. Leather can be polished and conditioned with a leather lotion applied with a soft cloth (see steps below). Suede looks best when brushed; special suede brushes are available. Fabric should be sprayed with a stain guard.
Polishing Smooth Leather in a Nutshell
1.Clean the shoes with leather cleaner to get the grime off the top. Never use any type of cleaner that contains an acid or a detergent as both are damaging to fine leather and will age the shoe. When necessary, use saddle soap and water for a better cleaning. Be sure to rinse away all of the saddle soap. Residual saddle soap will damage leather, just as dried soap left on your skin will damage and cause excessive drying. Never use a detergent—it destroys the natural oils. Always use a proper leather saddle soap for cleaning.
2. Condition the leather to soften. While the leather is still slightly moist after a good cleaning, apply a leather conditioner to replace the leather's natural oils.
Set your clean and treated boots aside for 24 hours to dry. It's always a good idea to use shoe trees so that your boots maintain their shape. Later, apply boot polish or wax, and buff to a shine.
3. Use paste, wax or cream polish to shine your shoes. Make sure the polish matches the shoes. Use a cream a shade lighter than the shoe to cover scratches. Neutral is the "color" for light colored shoes. Other colors may have to be matched by taking one of your shoes with you when you buy polish. Cream or Paste polish moisturizes fine
leather, keeps it flexible, and soaks into the leather to allow leather to breathe. Wax polish shines leather better than cream, but it seals the leather and causes it to dry out.
You can apply the polish with a soft, clean polishing rag; old socks will work fine. Wrap the corner of the cloth around your first and second fingers of your dominant hand. Twist the remainder of the cloth to tighten the portion around your fingers and hold that part in the palm of your hand. You can also use a horsehair brush dauber instead of a cloth; if you use a dauber, you'll need a different one for each color of polish you use.
4. Allow the shoes to dry (about 10 minutes) then buff the shoe with a polishing brush-- preferably horsehair – and use a soft clean cloth to bring out a high luster.
5. Weatherproof your shoes. A protective spray is an excellent way to protect your shoes from water, snow, mud, and spills. The best way to protect your shoes is to wipe the leather with a damp cloth, following the instructions on the protector spray. Spray your shoes before wearing, and on a regular basis thereafter. Mink oil will waterproof and preserve leather, but it can darken lighter shades of leathers. A water and stain protective spray for leather, provides water protection, and doesn’t alter the color.
Suede can be cleaned with a special eraser (suede bars) to remove stains and dirt. Raise the nap on suede by applying steam from a steam iron from about 10 inches away. Also special brass-bristle brushes are available to raise the nap after cleaning. A protective non-silicone finish (like Scotchgard or Water and Stain Protector) sprayed on new suede shoes will help repel water and stains.
Nubuck – (brushed leather similar to suede, but with a finer nap) treat the shoes with water repellent, use rubber-bristle brush (not nylon) or a suede bar. Use the bar damp to clean and condition, and use the brush to lift the nap.
Tip #6: Avoid Heat
Always keep shoes away from direct heat to prevent the leather from drying out. Leather should always dry naturally. It's important to avoid drying them near a fire or heater. This overheating will literally cook the leather and cause it to become stiff and brittle. The best technique is to ensure that dry, room temperature air can circulate inside the boots.
Note: What should you do if your shoes or boots get wet? The first thing to consider is that shoes should be waxed or oiled so that they tend to repel water. The less water absorbed by leather, the longer it will last and the more comfortable you'll be. Wet leather will stretch and weaken, shrinking and becoming brittle as it dries. Once your shoes are wet, however, they should be dried as soon as possible with room temperature, dry air (Between 70-95 degrees Fahrenheit or 20-35 degrees Centigrade). If you're in a situation where you can't properly dry your boots, wear them in a dry area until they can dry out a bit before you take them off. It's important to avoid drying them near a fire or heater. This overheating will literally cook the leather and cause it
to become stiff and brittle. The best technique is to ensure that dry, room temperature air can circulate inside the boots. If you let the boots sit in a wet condition for days without drying out, they can become moldy. This isn't good for the boot, and mold or mildew is nearly impossible to get rid of.