In this article I want to go over what you need to do in order to keep them looking their best for years to come.
When it comes to taking care of your shoes you need to ensure that you clean and polish them on a regular basis. This keeps the leather protected from the elements, which will increase its longevity over time. Some people recommend you clean and polish your shoes once every few months. I believe you should polish them whenever they start to look a little dingy from wear.
Here’s a basic guide on how to keep your shoes looking showroom ready:
A list of things you will need:
- Wax or cream polish that matches the shade of your shoes
- A leather conditioning cream (optional)
- Horse hair brush
- Piece of foam
- Several strips of cotton cloth (old white t-shirts work great)
Step 1 – Clean Shoe
Use a strip of cotton cloth to clean your shoe of any dust or debris that may be settling on top of the leather. Don’t skip this step! The last thing you want to do is apply shoe polish on top of a dirty shoe.
Step 2 – Condition Shoe (optional)
Some guys swear by this step but I’ve never noticed much of a difference. After you have thoroughly cleaned your shoe you may want to apply some kind of conditioning agent (Allen Edmonds apparently makes a decent one). The purpose of this step is to soften and protect the leather. In fact, a conditioning agent might be a good idea if you have some dried salt or caked on mud sitting on top of the leather. It will do a good job of loosening and removing that debris.
Step 3 – Apply Polish
If you decided to condition your shoes make sure you wait until they are dry. Once they are dry use a piece of foam and apply the leather polish evenly over the shoes. I find the foam makes it easier to apply the polish to the shoe but you could use cotton cloth strips as well. Try to make sure you have a relatively consistent layer of polish over the entire shoe.
Step 4 – Shine Shoe
Allow time for the polish to dry before attempting to shine your shoes. Once the polish has dried I recommend using a horse hair brush to shine your shoes. If you don’t have a horse hair brush handy a cotton cloth rag can work as well.
What about shoes with contrast stitching?
If you have shoes that have contrast stitching (i.e. the colour of the stitching is different than the leather) then I recommend you use a neutral shoe polish so you don’t discolour the stitching. If you don’t care much about maintaining the contrast stitching then just use a polish that matches the leather of the shoe.
What about using those “express shine” sponges?
I have used these products before on some of my cheaper leather shoes and have found that they work reasonably well. However, if you have invested a decent sum of money on a quality pair of leather shoes then I recommend that you follow the steps above and be diligent about taking care of your shoes. Trust me when I say that this will make a huge difference in the long run.
Lastly, when you are not wearing your leather shoes make sure that you store them using cedar shoe trees. They will help your shoes dry out properly after your sweaty feet have been in them all day. They will also help them retain their shape over time.
If you have taken our advice and have finally decided to invest in a pair of quality leather dress shoes, you will want to make sure that you care for them appropriately. This means that you clean and polish your shoes regularly. Not only does this practice keep your shoes looking presentable, but it will also increase their longevity and keep your looking stylish for years to come.
Here’s to looking sharp!