We get excited when we choose and buy our shoes. We are even more gleeful when they arrive, and we get to wear them. But we get sad when they end up looking scuffed and past their best. This does not have to be how the story goes. All you need is a little shoe care.
Shoe care seems to be a lost art. My grandmother used to regale me with stories of her family leaving all their shoes by the back door every Sunday, ready for my grandfather to clean and polish them. As the breadwinner, it was his one domestic chore of the week, but it was written in stone!
How many of us clean and polish our shoes every week? My hand is so far from being up, it is under the table right now! But it is important, especially during the winter months when wet weather creates mud underfoot, and puddles and rain do their worst along with salt used on the roads in icy or snowy weather.
What does shoe care entail? We have split this helpful advice into ‘Leather care’ and ‘Suede care’.
Before you start, ensure you have inserted shoe trees and removed the laces – you don’t want them in the way and getting covered in cream. The trees will help push out the creases and make it easier for you to get to the leather and produce a solid surface for you to brush and polish. Then you need to remove the dirt as it will not come off on its own. Remove it with a brush making sure you get into the folds and welted areas of the shoe or boot.
We advise our customers to use renovator cream, such as the one made by Saphir. This is designed to clean, hydrate and nourish leather before applying the polish or cream. Gently massage the cream into the leather with a soft cotton cloth using small circular movements, then leave it to soak in. After 5 minutes give the shoes a good brush to even out any excess and leave a cleaned surface.
This step is not mandatory, unless you are skipping the previous renovate step in which case you will need to use a cream. Shoe cream (more specifically, Saphir 1925) has higher pigments of dye so not only will it aide in nourishment it will also help to cover up any scuffs. Apply with a cloth in circular motions, rub in and leave for 5 minutes, then buff off with a brush. You are now ready for the next step.
The finishing touch to add that layer of protection and give a lovely sheen. Apply Saphir Pate De Luxe using small circular movements with a soft cotton cloth. You do not need too much. A little goes a long way. Once dry use a brush to buff them up to a lovely polish. Brushing is designed to heat up the wax in the cream so it melts using the friction of the bristles to leave a smooth and shiny surface – top science fact for you there! The more friction you create the shinier they will come up so give yourself a mini-workout for the best results. If you wish to go further and create a ‘bull shine’ follow this link to our Youtube channel.
As above, ensure you have inserted your shoe trees and removed the laces. Suede care is naturally different to leather, where polish is not going to work. There is a whole host of advice in our blog Brush up on your suede knowledge, but we have collated the care information below for your convenience.
Brush off any loose dirt. We recommend a crepe or brass suede brush to brush out any dirt or marks. Simply brush against the pile lightly and work your way around the suede to focus on any dirty areas.
Give your suede a deep clean with Saphir Suede Cleaner Omni Nettoyant – mix 50/50 with warm water- to not only cleanse but to bring life back to the suede and to protect it from staining. Use the brush provided and apply it against the pile. Once your suede has darkened, due to being wet, you have put enough on.
Rinse the cleaner off 5-10 minutes later with clean warm water. Just dip the brush into the clean water and brush the suede. Try and brush from lots of different angles to get the suede cleaner off.
Leave your shoes or boots to dry. This takes around 20-30 minutes. Do not rub the suede with a cloth as any loose bits will come off and go onto the suede.
In addition, we can also offer you our shoe care service to help weatherproof your footwear. We use a finely controlled spray-booth to coat the uppers of your shoes in a fine, quick drying mist that uses nano-technology to make them incredibly water-repellent. We can treat your shoes as we pack them during despatch as an extra service.
Almost all our shoes are suitable for the treatment and the results are like magic (just look at the video we made after weatherproofing a pair of Herring Purcell). The coating is rated to last three months so just one treatment could see you over the worst of the winter and could save you a ruined pair of shoes. This protection is not a guarantee against your shoes getting ruined by water, but it is a very effective way of minimising water damage.
But don’t think it gets you out of your shoe care routine! You can still maintain your shoes in the same way with polishes etc.
I hope this has given you (and me) a timely reminder to look after your footwear. If you are prepared to spend your money on quality shoes and boots, it is worth investing some time into them too to ensure they last and look great for many years to come.