In recent years I have gotten into shoe care. It all started with trying to make a pair of sneakers look shiny instead of extremely run down. It then went on with sandals and co. which we already covered in our summer edition of this care guide. Today, I want to share how I keep my autumn (and winter for that matter) shoes in perfect condition for many seasons.
In our summer I talked about the different leather types and cleaning techniques. For this autumn shoe careguide I focused more on overall steps that help keep the shoes in form and then go into detail about cleaning, making your shoes waterproof and finally talk about moisturizer.
Let them breath!
We usually wear our boots many hours a day. Now that it is getting colder we might put on a second pair of socks or even wear cozier socks to keep warm. Sweating is a natural consequence, so let your shoes breathe once you get home and can finally push them off your feet. Open up all zippers and let them get some air. Don’t put them next to your heater, though, as leather can start to crack due to the heat.
Store them correctly!
For those times when you aren’t wearing your shoes make sure to fill them with a shoe tree or multiple pairs of socks if you don’t own a shoe tree (like me). Sometimes I also use paper from parcels or anything relatively soft that will help to keep my leather shoes in shape over summer or periods I don’t wear them.
Invest in your boots
After a while – hopefully years – even the highest quality boots will wear off and need professional help. If your car needs to be repaired you’re most likely going to look for a mechanic. Shoes are a big investment too. Isn’t there even a saying that goes like: ‘Invest in good shoes and a good mattress. It’s the two things you will use most in life’? So, find a professional who can help, repair and replace parts of your boots when needed.
Make your shoes waterproof
If your shoes aren’t protected against wind, rain and the cold yet make sure to get a waterproof spray. Even though most boots keep you warm and safe from outside conditions not all boots are waterproof. Investing in a good waterproof spray is gonna make your boots resistant to all types of weather in the winter. Just thinking about the grey snow slick we get here in Berlin reminds me how important a good waterproof spray is!
Keep ‘em clean
In case your shoes get dirty you should always clean them as soon as you can. Salt, dirt and mud are our boots’ common enemies during autumn and winter. Sometimes a cloth and warm water can already help a lot. To be more gentle you can also use a microfiber cloth or cotton pads. Salt stains can be removed with warm water with a little bit of distilled white vinegar added to it. How to clean your boots also depends on the type of material. For example nubuck leather needs special and more gentle care. So definitely make sure that you know which material your boots have and then do a quick google check for the right way to clean it.
Moisturize your shoes
Leather just like your skin needs moisture to keep its softness and shine. Depending on the material you might have to use different moisturizers. For my normal leather shoes I usually use an olive oil spray or a shoe cream (colourless for light shoes and black for black shoes). Always remember: do NOT use any moisturizer on suede leather shoes. It can disrupt the fibres and in the worst case stain your suede shoes permanently.
What about vegan shoes?
If you have shoes made from leather alternatives they still need protection. Based on their level of quality sometimes even more so! All the points made also apply to shoes that are not made from leather. Just like real leather faux leather can crack too if exposed to heat or direct sunlight. Resoling by a professional and keeping your shoes in their original shape is important with every type of shoe. Don’t forget to use gentle products when cleaning!
I also tried to find some of the products I use in an organic version for you (obviously if you already own waterproof spray, waxes or leather cremes don’t worry about buying anything new until you run out of your products). This is an organic waterproof spray I will buy after mine runs out. Another Collonil product I would definitely use is the vegan shoe creme. Are you already using sustainable alternatives for your shoe cremes, waxes or sprays? Let me know which brands I should add to my radar.