Complete guide to caring for your smart shoes
Whether you’re in the market for a new pair of leather suit shoes, or quality suede desert boots to pair with rolled-up denim, footing the bill for a set of quality wheels can kick out a sizeable chunk from your pay cheque.
However, given proper care, parting with your cash can be a sound investment. Quality footwear doesn’t go out on style (unless you opt for pointed toes, obviously) and should last you from season to season. But you need a little more knowledge than simply not kicking through puddles or, heaven forbid, breaking down the heels to slip on shoes in a hurry. Which is where the experts from the Leicester’s luxe shoe brand,Northern Cobbler, come in. Here they outline the simple steps you can take to protect your proper shoes.
Do you need to go through hell for leather?
Well, not necessarily. You’d be forgiven for thinking that forking out for fancy leather shoes would mean tiptoeing along every pavement. However, reassuringly expensive shoes are usually synonymous with high quality leather, which is far easier to care for. More often than not it isn’t coated or corrected, which helps it react positively to treatments like moisturising and polish.
We don’t blame you for doing a double take there. Yes, we said moisturise. That’s because, according to the guys at Northern Cobbler, leather is just like your skin. Wearing your shoes regularly can stress the leather – creasing across the toes, for example – which is why they recommend applyingleather conditioneronce a month. Use a cloth to apply evenly, it’ll stop your shoes drying out and maintain their original finish by injecting life back into the leather.
Avoiding water altogether is impossible, but getting your shoes wet isn’t the end of the world. Sure, the leather is porous and will absorb liquid, but they’ll dry out, too. Shoe trees allow your recently worn shoes to contract and dry up to their ideal shape, explain the Northern Cobbler shoe nerds. The fundamental time for using them is the hour after you have removed them from your feet. The shoes will then return to their natural form and the trees can be removed.
Should you spit and polish?
Yes, just hold the spit. Follow this step-by-step guide for a shining master class.
– Make sure the surface of the leather is clear of any dirt and dry.
– Apply the polish evenly across the surface of the leather with a cloth.
– Opt for a polish slightly darker than your shoes; it’ll lighten over time.
– Leave the polish to absorb into the leather. 10 minutes should be set aside as an absolute minimum, even if you’re in a rush. A few hours will work wonders – overnight is even better.
– Use a leather brush to shine the surface of your leather; you can be quite aggressive with this procedure. If you want extra shine on the toe area, an old pair of tights can be used to buff, although it’s up to you to find your own way of sourcing these, we’re afraid.
What about suede?
– Use acrepe block(crepe is natural rubber) to clean the suede, which is a total dirt magnet.
– Then buff with a suede brush to fluff up the natural texture of the suede nap.
– Ascotch guard spraycan be used at the end of this process to add a water resistant film over the surface of the suede, but note; this will not make them waterproof. It will, however, stop them getting waterlogged, which can distort the shape.
How do you save your soles?
Leather soles may look great, but they are also porous and so will absorb water. Opting for rubber, which is the most common sole material, will not only make your shoes more hardwearing, but easier to repair too.
Not sure when to re-sole? It is simple; when you start to see areas where the leather or rubber is becoming very thin they need replacing. This will likely be across the heel or the area around the ball of your foot. Ideally, don’t wait until you have a hole because then it becomes much harder to repair them.
In your search for a decent cobbler, word of mouth is always a good indicator. But just to be safe, ask them what they plan to do before you agree to it. You don’t want any nasty clodhoppers superglued to your brogues.
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