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When it comes to knowing exactly how to properly clean and care for your shoes, there are a few simple tips and tricks to know to ensure your routine is efficient and effective. Take a look at my shoe care commandments to learn how to keep your collection in the very best condition.
1. Thou shalt wear-in your shoes
I know the temptation. You’ve just purchased a new pair of Oliver Sweeney shoes and you cannot wait to wear them with everything. I don’t blame you, but in the very first instance of great shoe care, it’s important that the initial few wears are both indoors and infrequent. This will ensure that your feet feel the benefits of the construction and the leather, which gradually softens and adjusts to the shape of your foot. Wear them around the house at first or for a few hours on a weekend to ease both the leather and your foot into the construction and to avoid any pesky blisters.
2. Thou shalt grit
Leather soles are a staple of many of our formal shoes and boots. When it comes to preparing for your first wear, I recommend gritting them to give the material an ounce of grip and resilience (especially beneficial if the weather isn’t holding up!) Sandpaper is an easy go to, or, failing that, a knife over the leather will have the same effect.
4. Thou shalt polish like a pro
There’s a trick to polishing shoes: regularity and tenacity. Making a ritual of cleaning my shoes every Sunday was something I learnt from my great grandfather, a shoemaker.
Having the right tools for the trade is also a necessity. Many polishes simply serve to create a surface shine on the leather rather than to actually clean and nourish the shoe, which is what you want. Thinking of (and treating) the leather on your shoes exactly how you would your skin is a perfect way to approach caring for your favourite pair (leather is a skin, after all.) Our Brush-Up polishes permeate deep into the pores of the leather to keep it supple. My favourite trick? Leave the polish on for a few hours on a Sunday afternoon whilst you catch up on the papers. When ready, simply wipe the polish clear with a soft brush or cloth and the results will leave you astounded.
Technique is also a requirement of being a professional shoe shiner. My Shoe Care guide, below, will get even the most over-worn pair looking their best again. Watch and try for yourself.
Cedar Shoe Tree
Calf Leather Oxford Brogue
Formal Deer Skin Shoe