Take Care of Your Loved Ones
It’s taken a while to get around to writing this post. Not because it was an afterthought, but because the devil is in the detail and we didn’t want to give you a half-baked step by step for something so important. A few may scoff at the melodramatics in posting a ‘mere’ Shoe Guide. But not so fast. As we’ve mentioned so many times here, your shoes are one of the first things a person notices about you and is quite possibly the most important thing to take note of in dressing. And therefore, once you’ve got the shoes, the maintenance of them cannot be of more importance. Handcrafted dress shoes can last a lifetime, but only if you take care of them. And we’re not talking monthly, we’re talking weekly if you wear them even 3 times a week.
One of the things I will never forget about my father was his Sunday evening routine of cleaning and polishing his Cap Toe Oxfords for work the next morning. Every single Sunday, for as long as I can remember. The smell of the polish and the careful, methodic way he brushed the shoes piqued my curiosity from an early age. This ritual is still one of the lasting memories of my father in my childhood and my first induction into the importance of shoes.
Once you’ve got your brand new Undandy shoes, you’ll need to start right from the get-go and take good care of them to extend their lifetime. Depending on the shoe, here is a list of all the tools you may need, after all, a man that is forearmed is forewarned.
- Protective Gloves
- Horsehair Brush
- Polishing Cloth
- Neutral Shoe Wax
- Coloured Shoe Polish.
- Smooth Leather Shoe Cleaner
- Dauber Brush
- Suede Sponge
- Suede and Nubuck Stain Eraser
- Nubuck Brush
- Suede Brush
- A pair of Shoe Trees in cedar wood
- Newspaper (highly recommend the Financial Times for perusing the stock market whilst cleaning)
You can find most of these items at general stores, shoe stores and shoe repair shops. Or why not try our Undandy Shoe Care Kit with all the essentials for leather care or our Suede Care Kit for maintaining the notoriously difficult suede.
If you read nothing more of this post, then read up to the end of this ‘how to’ at least. These are the basic care instructions for looking after any leather shoes.
Pick a well-ventilated area and protect both your work surface and hands. Use a soft horsehair brush with firm strokes to remove any surface dirt from your leather shoes after removing the shoelaces. After brushing, gently wipe any remaining dirt with a soft polishing cloth.
Condition your shoes with a Natural Shoe Wax to soften and moisturize the leather.
Rub a small pea-sized amount of wax onto the shoe with a cloth, until the entire shoe has been covered. After allowing for a couple of minutes for the wax to absorb into the leather, wipe off any remaining wax.
Apply a Neutral Shoe Polish sparingly in even circular motions with a dauber brush or cloth. Pay particular attention to the areas around the toe and heel. Allow the leather to absorb the polish for a few minutes.
Buff the whole shoe with a horsehair brush and some good old elbow grease. Follow up with the cloth, holding it taut between two hands and going over the surface in a sawing motion.
One should condition your shoes at least once a month or more, depending on how often you use them. Alternate between your Undandys and let them rest from time to time. Once you’ve worn a pair for the day, use your shoe trees to retain the shape of the shoes as well as absorb sweat and keep your tootsies fresh upon next wear.
Suede is sensitive to water and can attract dust and dirt easily. Therefore, it is very important to care for your suede shoes regularly. Suede can be a notoriously difficult finish to keep in mint condition, but if regularly cleaned and maintained your suede shoes will last for decades.
Protection and Waterproofing
To help protect your suede Undandys from water and other elements that can ruin the finish and shorten their life, you can use a waterproofing product. Ideally, one should always protect your suede with suede protector or waterproofing spray before wearing them.
Take your Undandys to a well-ventilated area and spray evenly with the waterproofing product. Apply the spray with light and quick movements to not oversaturate the shoes. Let the shoes dry for several minutes and repeat the process up to 4-6 times or as advised on the product.
Finally, let the shoes dry for 30 minutes.
Use a suede sponge to lift dirt, dust and grime from napped leather. The rubber side is great for removing stains and marks while the sponge side conditions the suede surface to a soft finish. With the broad side of the sponge, stroke firmly but gently over the leather in the direction of the grain.
For stubborn stains, grit or water damage marks, a suede eraser is a perfect tool for spot cleaning. Let your shoes air dry before starting. Rub gently with the eraser on the affected areas. Apply pressure until the stain is removed. Gently brush off any residue. If using the eraser on a lighter pair of shoes after use, rub off any discolouration from the eraser beforehand.
A suede brush such as the one featured in our suede care kit featuring synthetic bristles is perfect for reviving the nap of suede after the cleaning process. As a final touch, brush over the suede shoes with the brush. Brush in short strokes, in the direction of the toe. It can also be used for spot cleaning due or for removing dust.
How to keep your Patina shoes pristine without damaging the careful paint work? Here’s how
Use a shoe cleaning horsehair brush to gently remove dust.
With a polishing cloth and a milk-based leather, cleaner wipe off any dirt. Use a soft cloth and colourless leather cream to shine the shoes using light circular motions.
Finally, finish off with a shoe shine brush to remove excess product.
Patent Leather Shoes
Brush off any loose dirt or debris on patent leather with a soft bristle brush.
With a damp cotton washcloth and a small amount of mild soap, wipe down the outside of the patent leather. Be sure not to use an excessive amount of water, as with most things a little goes a long way.
If your patent leather has a deep scratch or scuff this can sometimes be gently buffed out with a shoe brush. If that pesky scuff is still visible, use a shoe polish in the same colour as your shoes but be careful to apply the polish lightly and always
Dry the patent leather with a soft polishing cloth.
Let the shoes dry at room temperature. This should take roughly 24 hours. Jack Bauer managed to save the world countless times in that duration so be sure to use those hours wisely.
Finally, polish the patent leather with saddle soap and apply leather conditioner.
Firstly, make sure the shoes are dry and shake off as much excess dust and dirt as you can. Remove the laces and wash these separately.
Fill a bucket with warm water and make a lather with 1-2 tbsp (15-30 ml) of mild laundry detergent suitable for delicate fabrics.
Dip your soft brush into the water and gently brush the shoes, including the soles, with a toothbrush or washing-up sponge. For a final finish, take a clean damp cloth and gently remove the excess detergent. Never immerse the shoes in the water fully.
Leave the shoes to dry in a warm, dry place indoors. Similarly, to Bram Stoker’s sun shy protagonist, direct heat can weaken the shoes, and affect the texture of the canvas so be sure to let them dry away from direct heat or sunlight.
And after all, is said and done, the only piece of advice I shall leave you with is that every gentleman should take care of his loved ones.