Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Caring For Leather

It's the height of winter in Melbourne and I'm finding my three pairs of boots inadequate for dealing with Melbourne's climate; downpours, icy grass, muddy soil and oppressive heating once inside. The leather cracks and dries from exposure to water, then overexposure to intensely dry air inside my home or office. Much like the skin on our faces, the leather on our boots is sensitive to the environment around us.

One of the greatest struggles I face as a shoeaholic is the battle for caring for shoes that face these issues. Patent, smooth or suede; the leather on my shoes need specific care; but in each box, there is a distinct lack of information on how to care for your new loves. So I browse the wide wide wide world of the web in a search for some advice on how to deal with the many types of shoes I have.

Smooth Leather
Probably the most common type of leather in your shoe collection, it's important to look after this type of leather, not just so your shoes look good, but to preserve and hopefully extend the life of your shoes.

There are four steps to caring for smooth leather shoes. These are Clean, Condition, Polish and Preserve. Clean with a damp cloth to remove dirt. Condition with a good quality leather cream or oil, choose a specifically designed colour based cream for black, tan or brown shoes if you desire. Polish with a soft bristle brush or clean rag and lastly waterproof with a good quality product.

Patent Leather
The best way to clean Patent Leather shoes is with a damp cloth to wipe away any dirt or grime. Then use a special conditioner for Patent Leather. I recently bought conditioner specifically for Patent Leather from Midas, so make sure you get the right type and look after those shiny dancing shoes!


Suede is best cleaned professionally. If you want to preserve them, don't wear them unless the ground is dry and the sky is free of rain. But this isn't always possible, so try not to let them get too wet, and never dry them near a heater or open fire, dry at normal room temperature to keep them looking their best!

Protect your suede shoes with a leather protector like a silicon spray. Check out Collonil's range of leather protectants


Lucy said...

Wow, so informative! I am amazed at your shoe care knowledge. It will come in very handy. When it comes to suede, can you waterproof them with a scotch guard spray or anything? Just wondering...

Carla said...

ScotchGuard is perfect - for those international readers, any brand of waterproofing spray should be used on suede before the first use, and resprayed regularly, but only on clean leather.

Lizzy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lizzy said...

Oh woe, the last few weeks of unexpected downpour have ruined my recently purchased suede flats...they even have slight white marks from trying to avoid puddles but instead stomping through them. Is there any way of saving them now, or are they beyond repair?

And P.S this is the BEST idea for a blog, there is just sooo much to say about shoes.

Carla said...

Lizzy - I'd advise taking your beloved shoes to a specialist. They will probably be able to help remove those white marks and return your shoes to their glory. It will be well worth the effort!

Generally the shoe experts are responsible for resoling or replacing those rubber tips on heels, but they can do a lot more! Make a friend for life with a cobbler!

Dana said...

Ladies we must remember that the leather protection spray is a must with every new pair of leathers! if you have the patience, spray 8 times over 24 hours. Does anyone know a good shoe repair man in Melbourne CBD? i hate it when they tip your heels with those fat rubber things

Michelle said...

I know this is an old thread, so hoping you are still around...I just bought the most divine pair of patent leather boots with a suede panel all the way up the front and the back. I thought I could just spray suede protector on the panel, but now I'm worried about it affecting the patent leather. I'm hesitant to mask the patent with tape, as I worry it may leave a gummy residue. What would you do?!?!

shoes mend hearts said...

Hi Michelle - that is a tricky one. Perhaps visiting the cobbler or shoe repair man/woman would be the best bet. I would think masking tape would be ok if you applied it gently and first removed some of the stickiness on some fabric.