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Our customers often ask us how to care for their leather and suede shoes and boots to keep them looking their best season after season. Eastland Shoes are made for long lasting comfort and durability, but you can lengthen the lifetime and improve the fit of your new footwear with a few simple tips.
Although it is not recommended to wear leather soled shoes in inclement weather, if you do, the most effective way to keep water out is to have a cobbler install sole guards - thin pieces of rubber that affix to the sole of the shoe.
Remove mud and dirt with a gentle cleaner, such as Lexol-pH or dab with a damp cloth so that the marks disappear; then dab with equal parts water and white vinegar. Next, try a surface treatment to keep water and dirt from damaging the leather, such as a silicone spray or water-repelling cream.
Silicone sprays form a protective layer, are quick, and won’t alter coloration. But sprays require frequent applications and can ultimately crack the leather by not allowing it to breathe. On light-colored leather, we suggest Meltonian Water & Stain Protector or Kiwi Protect-All; these won’t change the leather’s hue.
Application of a water-repelling cream several times a season provides extra protection with minimal discoloration. Most contain natural oils, beeswax, and/or silicone (which, when applied in this manner, better allows a shoe to breathe).
Waterproofing with beeswax is a labor-intensive process (you’ll need a hairdryer for proper application) and will darken leather, but it’s also the longest lasting and one of the most effective methods. True waterproofing comes only from mink oil, but there are major downsides: significant darkening and, ironically, leather damage in the long run.
Suede Uppers: Cleaning and Waterproofing
Remove dirt and restore the nap of suede and nubuck with a suede brush. Suede and nubuck shoes should be treated before wearing with a protective spray to prevent water stains. Make sure that any waterproofing/protective spray you use is made especially for these materials.
For suede, stick with sprays. Full-grain, calfskin, and exotic leathers (any leather you don’t want darkened) require a light cream. Smooth-leather chukkas, boots, and shoes do well with a beeswax finish. And for heavier-duty workboots, choose mink oil or a heavily oiled cream.
To speed drying and help maintain their shape after time outdoors, fill footwear with wooden shoe trees – cedar wood helps to absorb moisture and control odor. Don’t place them near heat, which can ruin leather by making it crack. Allow 12-24 hours between wearings for leather to dry completely.
Before minor problems become permanent damage, take your Eastland shoes to your local shoe repair shop.
***Allow 12-24 hours to dry completely***
**We recommend that if you do decide to use a polish or waterproofing product on your shoes that you first test it on a small area that is not very visible.
- Nylon bristle brush (like a tooth brush) and a soft, cotton rag.
- Mild cleanser, laundry detergent or dish-washing detergent (non-bleach).
- White cream shoe polish.
- Apply the mild detergent to the brush and gently scrub the soiled area of the canvas.
- Rinse with lukewarm water. Repeat if necessary.
- Apply the detergent to the soft rag and clean the outsole edge.
- Rinse with lukewarm water and dry.
- Add cream polish to a dry area of the rag and apply it to the sole edge (sparingly).
- Avoid excessive amounts or multiple coats of polish which will create a poor result.
- Wipe edges for desired appearance.
Clean your shoes by removing dirt with a mixture of soap and warm water applied with a soft bristled brush. Wipe them with a dry cloth using a circular motion. After cleaning, put them on a hanger and allow them to air dry. Under no circumstances should you place them in a dryer, because they can crack or melt.