"Much like a finely-tuned sports car, handcrafted footwear will benefit from regular maintenance and careful storage."
The value of investing in leather shoes is also about looking after it – with the appropriate shoe care and regular maintenance, a decent pair of shoes should take you places for years.
That is especially so with a well-constructed pair of handmade shoes, including our Spanish-made Cordwainer collection available at our Melbourne and Sydney showrooms. Much like a finely-tuned sports car, handcrafted footwear will benefit from regular maintenance and careful storage, keeping them in peak condition.
The first rule of shoe care is not to wear the same pair of shoes every day in the week. Quality footwear requires rest – at least 24 hours between uses – to allow the leather to relax and any moisture to evaporate. Therefore, it is important to own several pairs of shoes to wear on a rotating basis. This not only extends their longevity, but also allows time for regular maintenance.
Another consideration is not to wait out until said shoes are visibly in need of maintenance. Establishing a regular, proactive care routine is key to getting the best out of what is probably the most defining accessory in a man’s arsenal of style.
Clean, condition, polish and repeat – make a habit of instituting regular cleaning, conditioning and polishing routines that will keep your shoes looking their absolute best and ready for action. At a bare minimum, dedicate time to use a shoe brush to remove loose dirt from its exterior after each wear.
For leather shoes, we recommend the ever-reliable range of shoe care products from Saphir, including waxes and creams. Ideally, implement a light shoe polishing regimen after every three to four wears.
Condition your shoes to help keep the leather soft and supple – using a clean Egyptian cotton cloth, gently work a small amount of shoe cream to the leather in repeated circular motions and thereafter, wipe down any excess product.
In addition, a wax-based product should then be worked into the leather surface using a combination of both a damp cotton cloth and a horsehair brush. This not only protects the beautiful, rich leather but – when carefully and sparingly applied – leaves a lustrous shine. Take note to ensure no excess wax remains tucked into the leather’s creases or folds as this attracts dirt and becomes increasingly visible.
For storage purposes, it is worth investing in unvarnished cedar shoe trees for each individual pair of footwear to help absorb moisture and ensure that the leather has the greatest amount of support. Furthermore, shoe trees can also absorb unwanted odours, and leave a fresh and natural smell. Also consider storing quality shoes that have not been worn in awhile in fabric shoe bags – this essentially helps keep sunlight and dust at bay.
Shoe maintenance is as important as shoe care – therefore, a good advice for leather-soled shoes is to have a trusted cobbler install toe taps before their first wear – a thin layer of metal increases traction and helps elongate the life of leather soles.
Carefully monitor the wearing signs on the soles of your shoes. If excessively worn, a professional cobbler can replace its heel counters or even mid-soles to restore the footwear to its former glory.
Regular shoe care and maintenance can extend the life of a quality pair of shoes – now, that’s good value for money.