Our shoes are built to last, but there is no question that good shoe care can help your footwear take you further. Whether it is a brand-new purchase, or a pair of old favourites in need of a bit of TLC, we have compiled advice on the best way to protect leather shoes and how to keep your suede looking suave.
Leather Shoe Care Tips
Caring for leather shoes is not all about polishes and shoeshine brushes. We have four tips to follow from the day you purchase your shoes, before you ever apply a product:
Always use a shoe horn
It sounds simple, but using a shoe horn when putting your shoes on really helps to avoid damage to the back of the shoe. For R.M. Williams boots, use the tugs at the front and back when pulling your boots on to spread the strain over the elastic and the tugs, and to prevent damage to the back of the boot.
Don’t wear your shoes every day
Of course you want to show off your new shoes as much as possible. However, during the day perspiration from your feet is transferred to the leather of your shoes and it can take 24hours for this to dry out. Wearing your new kicks on alternate days will allow time for this to happen.
Allow to dry naturally
If your shoes become wet, resist the urge to dry them quickly beside the radiator! Allow wet shoes to dry out naturally, away from fires, radiators, or any direct heat sources. This may take a few days; however, it is worth the wait as when leather is dried too quickly it can become brittle. It is also worth noting thatnew leather soles can be slippery on wet surfaces, so try to pick dry conditions for your first few outings.
Insert shoe trees after use
Looking after your leather shoes is as much about what you do with them when they aren’t on your feet. Inserting cedarwood shoe trees, such as our own Robinson Cedarwood Shoe Trees, when you’re not wearing your shoes will help to maintain shape and will also absorb moisture and sweat, reducing odour. If you need to store your shoes longer-term, use shoe bags and keep in a cool, dry place.
How to clean and maintain leather & suede footwear
Caring for leather shoes
When cleaning your leather shoes, wipe away any dirt with a damp cloth and leave to dry naturally before applying a wax polish or shoe cream. Wax polish helps to replenish the natural oils in leather that give it strength and flexibility. Use neutral polish, or a coloured polish that best matches the upper of your shoes. For Barker hand-painted shoes, we recommend using Barker Hand Painted Shoe Cream in the appropriate colour. Leave the polish or cream to dry, and then use a soft horsehair brush to remove any excess product and buff until you reach your desired shine.
For patent or hi-shine leathers, we do not recommend using products. For best results, simply wipe clean with a damp cloth. Similarly, to maintain the look of shoes or boots with a burnished finish lightly wipe with a damp cloth and apply a neutral polish.
How to look after suede shoes
Use a suede brush or brass bristle brush on dry shoes to brush up the nap. This will remove any dirt and get rid of scuff marks. If you are feeling brave, you can use a lighter to (very carefully!) remove any fluff. Apply a suede protector sprayregularly, and in a well-ventilated area, to add water-resistance and maintain thelook of your shoes.
Dubarry boot care
When cleaning footwear that naturally gets more heavily soiled with use, such as Dubarry country boots or deck shoes, use a hose to remove stubborn dirt and salt water. Next, apply Dubarry Footwear Cleaner generously all over, using a brush to scrub to a lather and remove any engrained dirt. Finally, rinse with cold,clean water. Allow your shoes to dry naturally for 24hours.
Once the shoes or boots are dry, you can apply Dubarry Footwear Protector, particularly to any suede or nubuck leathers. This is best done outdoors; apply the protective spray in layers, allowing each layer to be absorbed before adding the next one. Once finished, allow the boots or shoes to dry naturally for 2-3 hours.
To finish, apply Dubarry Leather Cream to any smooth leather areas, such as the foot, leather bands and top parts of Dubarry Galway or Dubarry Ultima, rubbing in with a soft brush or cloth. This is not suitable for nubuck or suede.