Free Shipping $50+ | Free Returns and Exchanges (Click Here for Details)

6 Ways to Care For Leather Shoes

There is nothing better than a new pair of leather shoes. They offer comfort, durability and look great! Learning how to care for your leather shoes will keep your footwear looking fabulous and lasting for a long time.

1. Try Not to Wear Them Every Day

The first step to taking care of leather shoes is to not wear them every day. In fact, as leather is an animal's skin it needs to breathe. With normal wear, our feet sweat, creating moisture that becomes absorbed into the leather, which can cause staining and stretching. It’s best to have a few different pairs of shoes in your wardrobe. Rotating shoes provides time for them to dry. In the end, this preserves the life of your shoes.

2. Conditioning is Essential

Leather balm, polish and conditioners contain ingredients that copy the natural oils that are found in leather. When you apply conditioner, it helps to maintain shine and keeps leather from becoming too dry. It also adds an extra layer of protection to the leather. Normally, it is advised to use a conditioner once a month.

Here are our expert tips on conditioning:

  • All Natural Leather Balm: 100% Organic cocoa butter, 100% organic beeswax, and 100% pure sweet almond oil are the ingredients used by the Smith's in Maine for their handmade leather balm. This is what we currently use. 

  • Look For Lanolin: We also recommend leather creams and lotions containing lanolin, a waxy substance derived from sheep, as we have found it to be particularly effective at cleaning and conditioning leather products. If you're allergic to wool, best not to use this one.

  • Patch Test: We strongly suggest patch testing any leather creamer, oil or moisturizer first and letting it sit for 24 hours in case it alters the appearance of the leather in your shoes
  • Avoid Mink Oil: This type of oil prevents the leather from breathing, which leaves it susceptible to moisture buildup and faster decay

3. Brushing Helps to Keep Leather Shoes Supple

The best way to keep your leather shoes supple is by brushing them regularly. Horse-hair bristles are the best options. Since they are soft and flexible, they gently dislodge dirt and other irritants and won’t scratch your leather.

4. Don’t Wash

Can you wash leather shoes? Definitely not! Unlike canvas shoes or similar materials, you should never use water when cleaning your leather shoes. Water will make the leather shrink, crack, and become overly dry. Instead, use a soft-bristled brush to remove surface dirt. If you have stubborn scuff marks, it’s best to use a leather cleaner. When oil or grease stains are present, it’s recommended to sprinkle powder on top. This should sit a few hours so that stains are absorbed. Also, a conditioning product may be applied after your shoes are cleaned.

5. Every Six Wears

Leather balm or polish is an excellent way to protect your leather shoes, especially from rain and other water contact. Leather balm provides a layer of protection so that things don’t dry out and begin to crack. Polish gives it a nice shine and can be used to cover up scratches. So how often should you apply a leather balm or leather polish to your shoes? Experts recommend polishing leather shoes after every six wears. Leather balm and polish moisturizes and helps to repel dust as well. Also, it hides blemishes. You can choose between balm, cream or wax polishes. The difference between these is that balm and cream offers more moisture, but less shine. Use a circular motion to apply the polish. We recommend using an all natural leather balm like the ones from the Smith's in Maine. 

6. Store in a Dust Bag

If you’re like me, you tend to throw off your shoes at the end of a busy day. However, the best practice is to store all of your shoes in dust bags. Even in the cleanest houses, dust is present and over time this can degrade the leather. Fabric dust bags help to protect from unwanted damage and allow your leather to breathe. To save you the trouble of ordering one separately, all John Candor shoes come with a dust bag in the box.

Leather shoes aren’t cheap. You chose to purchase real leather over genuine leather or faux leather for a reason, because of the quality. Whether you choose John Candor leather shoes or another brand, we recommend that you follow the guidance here and protect your investment. Learning how to care for leather shoes will keep them clean and will have them looking their best for many years to come.

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published

Size Guide