The best tips for the handmade shoe maintenance
A perfect pair of handmade shoes can remain the part of your style for years to come, but only if you invest a little bit of your time and treat them with care. If this sounds a bit overwhelming or perhaps time consuming, worry no more because we have prepared four easy steps for you to follow, on how to look after your precious handmade shoes and keep them in shape longer.
- Clean: every time after wearing brush away all the dirt and dust from the surface of the shoe using a big horsehair brush.
- Care: apply a caring cream of your choice and spread it evenly with a small brush.
- Polish: use a big brush to brush your shoes and create a nice final shine.
- Store: place a shoetree into your shoes to keep them in shape until your next wear.
Read more about this simple routine and the best products to use with it below.
First and foremost, clean your shoes each time after wearing them. Simply remove any dirt and dust by brushing the leather with a brush. It is best if the brush is made of horsehair and we suggest our soft brush made of high-quality horsehair which is proven to be the best for shoe cleaning. After thorough brushing, remove the excess dirt with a soft damp cloth.
Shoes that are dirty from mud or salt are best to clean as soon as possible to avoid stains. If, however, your shoes are already stained use a mixture of two parts of water and one part of vinegar to wipe away persistent stains.
Suede handmade shoes might seem more difficult to handle than regular leather shoes. They are especially sensitive to wet weather conditions, but when they are treated with care a good suede can be resilient, too. For regular maintenance of suede shoes, use a soft brush specifically designed for suede treatment without damaging it. Remember to always brush away in the same directions.
Suede is especially prone to smudges, but these can be easily removed with a rubber eraser. If there happen to be greasy stains, dry them with a paper towel and spread a little bit of baking powder on the stain, leave it overnight and brush it lightly the next day. Ideally, before the first wearing of suede shoes spray them with a suede protector to help repel dirt and water.
Lastly, don’t forget to clean the inside of the shoe to avoid odour problems. Put a few drops of alcohol on a cotton pad and swab the inside. Let your shoes dry naturally and avoid putting them close to the direct source of heat as this will dry and crack the leather.
Leather uppers require regular caring treatment. The essence of handmade shoe care is a cream and using it regularly will feed the leather and keep the pigment refreshed.
Our most popular shoe care product is an industrial cream best known for conditioning and moisturizing leather. Whether your shoes are red, blue, green, dark navy, dark brown, cognac antique, or black – Reinhard Frans industrial caring creams are available in all these colours. For example, the Cognac antique industrial cream is perfect for mid brown shoes and can also be used on cognac, brown and camel colours.
Creams can also be used to darken the colours. It is best to test the cream first on a small area of the shoe such as the backside of the tongue. Keep in mind that leather will appear darker before the cream settles in, so allow time after applying the cream to see what change of colour there may be. To be completely on the safe side you can always use our colourless, neutral cream that does not alter the colour of the shoe.
Once you have decided on the cream colour, use a soft cloth to apply a thin coating all around the surface of the shoe. Then use our small brush made of fine horsehair to gently work the cream into the leather in a circular motion. Let your shoes dry for about 10 minutes before polishing them. We warmly recommend getting a different brush for each different colour polish you purchase so there won’t be any colour mixing. You can find brushes in the dark and light colour in our stores.
Polishing shoes is not just the final touch in shoe maintenance, but it is a very important step for increasing the lifespan of the shoes. Regular polishing will ensure your handmade shoes stay moist and supple. It will increase their durability, protect them from outside influences such as water, dirt, and scratches. It is necessary to clean your shoes every time before the polishing. This will prevent leather damaging as the particles of dirt can rub against the surface during the polishing and damage the shoe. You can use a fine horsehair brush to polish the shoe by rubbing backwards and forwards. This action causes friction and makes the leather shine. Wipe off excess polish with a new soft clean cloth and buff the shoe with a soft shoe brush. Just like the small brush, get one for each colour polish you are using.
You should polish your handmade shoes regularly, best once a week; but depending on how often you wear them you can also perform polishing a couple of times a month.
Once you have cleaned and polished your shoes, it is important to store them correctly. Avoid storing your handmade shoes in shoe boxes as the humidity can decrease their lifespan. Suede shoes should be stored in the open air, but away from sunlight. Most importantly, use shoetrees – a true necessity for your high-quality handmade pair of shoes. The shoetree prevents the toes from curling and keeps the original shape of your fit. Choose our high-quality cedar shoetree which has natural antibacterial properties and a fresh fragrance. It absorbs the moisture in your shoes and keeps the leather from cracking. Shoe trees are available to purchase in our stores in all sizes from 38 to 48.
Follow this simple routine once a week using our suggested products and you will ensure that your high-quality handmade shoes will last you a very long time.