3 Leather Shoe Care Basics You Need to Know

Whether it’s a favourite handbag, or your most comfortable pair of work shoes, leather goods are an investment piece that you hope will last you for many years. As well as being durable, leather ages uniquely to each product, meaning that as you wear it, it starts to age in a way that shows the life that it’s had.

While this is great in that your products will wear nicely and give you something unique, it also means that without proper care, they may begin to deteriorate or show signs of damage. We’ve compiled the basics of keeping your valuables in good shape, so they remain the investment you’ve always been proud you made.

1 - Treatments

There are a range of different treatments available for your leather shoes, upholstery or other wearables, and the ones that you choose will all come down to how you want the material to age  – if at all.

For a pair of shoes, you want to protect the integrity of the fabric itself and maintain shine. However, for something like a satchel, signs of ageing and wear (or the distressed look) are often appealing features to keep.

Polish - Largely an aesthetic choice, polish creates shine and deposits colour into the leather to replace faded or worn patches. This is great for high quality shoes and briefcases where you want to project an air of luxury, and well… polish!

Conditioner - Also known as moisturiser or cream, a good-quality conditioner ensures that your leather is hydrated, much like a moisturiser for your skin.

The more you condition, the more resistant your piece will be to scratches. Much like your skin when dry, leather gets a little rougher and marks more easily when it's lacking hydration. This isn’t a protectant however, and is just a reflection on the integrity and moisture content of the fabric.

Waterproofing - Generally a spray or wax, waterproofing is needed every 12- 15 wears, typically on shoes, bags or jackets that will be exposed to the elements, especially during winter. Waxes give you a high shine finish on the surface, but sprays are a more convenient and effective option for those who are wanting good results and yet time-poor.

2 - Keep them fresh

Leather is susceptible to damage from moisture, as well as is a material that can easily grow mould and bacteria in the right conditions. Keeping adequate ventilation (e.g. not storing in plastic bags) and using wooden shoe trees to store shoes helps your goods maintain their clean and dry state without becoming mouldy or damaging the surface.

3 - Avoid sunlight and direct heat

Both of these can cause significant damage. Although, when your shoes become waterlogged after a run to the car, it can be easy to try a hairdryer or direct sun to dry them out. Unfortunately, doing so can cause fading and cracking, so it’s best to avoid them.

As a starting point, having the right products to condition, polish and protect your goods is essential. Collonil stocks a range of products suitable for many different types of leather, and are able to provide expert advice on the best care for your products, with your desired outcome in mind.