"Look after your shoes, and they’ll look after you" is the mantra that our Cobbler-in-Chief, Tim Cooper, has always lived by. However, if you’re not blessed with four generations of shoemakers in your family, then Tim has shared his wisdom on how to select your shoes, the best ways to keep them in tip-top condition, and how to prolong their lifespan and ensure that your Sweeneys will always look their best.

how to care for your shoes

Care Tip One: Wear new shoes at home first

Don’t punish your feet by submitting brand new shoes to a full day’s wear, straight out of the box. Ease them in by wearing them around the house for a few hours over the weekend. This will soften up the construction and ensure a comfortable fit.

The bottom line: do try this at home.

Care Tip Two: Grit your shoes

Try not to take your new shoes for a walk in the rain on day one. Wearing them in the dry enables a layer of grit to work its way into the leather soles, which acts as a protective shield to allow them to combat the worst of the weather with ease. It also primes the soles with a layer of grip: new leather soles can be very slippery in the wet.

The bottom line: starting with a dry run primes your soles for the future.

care for yur shoes, grit leather sholes

care tips for shoes

Care Tip Three: Never wear two days in a row

Give your shoes a break: wearing them on successive days can very quickly burn away the leather. Keep an eye out for tell-tale signs of blackening on the inside, and swap your leather shoes around regularly to prolong their life.

The bottom line: rotate and rest your shoes to retain their robustness.

Care Tip Four: Use quality wooden shoe trees

Good quality shoe trees will absorb perspiration from your shoes and help them retain their original shape. Ideally based around the designer’s original last, they should be the highest-quality wood (ours are Grove cedar). One pair will suffice: placing them in your shoes for one day after wearing is sufficient.

The bottom line: good shoes don’t grow on trees, but they should definitely be kept on them.

Oliver Sweeney Shoe Tree

how to look after wet shoes

Care Tip Five: Wet weather

Try to avoid wearing your leather soled shoes in wet weather. Leather is a porous material and will deteriorate in the wet, try turning to your rubber soled options if the skies are looking grey. Should you get caught in a shower, drying wet shoes next to a radiator or another source of heat is the kiss of death: you’ll crack the leather. Simply stuff them with newspaper or tissue paper and allow them to dry out naturally. If they’re covered in mud, brush the mud off when dry and polish as normal.

The bottom line: dry right, dry naturally

Care Tip Six: Brush up is best

Many polishes create a surface shine. Our Brush Up Shoe Polish permeates deep into the leather shoe upper, keeping it supple. Ideally, leave the shoe polish on overnight and then remove in the morning with a soft brush or cloth. You’ll love the results.

The bottom line: taking time to condition your shoes will make them last even longer

how to polish your shoes


Oliver Sweeney Shoe Shine


If your Sweeneys require a professional finish, drop them off at any one of our stores, or visit us at Henrietta Street.

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blake stitch shoe repair


All our shoes are built to last so when there is some wear and tear, our world champion repair service will make them as good as new.

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Sweeney Tattoo Order Yours


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