Loake Shoe Care at elevate your sole

Shoe Care and Emergency Fixes

Take these small steps to keep your leather shoes looking fresh and lasting longer for this winter and many winters to come!

1) Shoe trees - This is easily your best weapon in the shoe care arsenal. The effectiveness of these 'foot shaped' inserts should not be underestimated. Not only do they help maintain the shape of the shoes, they draw out moisture from the leather and can eliminate odour. There are many varieties available, but I recommend using un-varnished cedar wood for the best results. It's important to put these 'trees' to use straight after removing the shoes from your feet as this will be most beneficial for your shoes. There's no need for these to cost the earth either. A shoe tree like the one shown in the picture should cost between £30-40.

2) Alternate - You may be surprised to find out that the top two points don't involve wax polish! The writer believes, along with many other industry professionals, that luxury leather shoes crucially need their rest. If you're not in bed, you tend to be walking about on your feet. This takes a big toll on your shoes, whether it be a day shopping or at work. They need time to recuperate. I recommend a minimum of 24 hours, which would ultimately mean having two pair of dress shoes in rotation at any one time. Treat them to a day off and a dollop of shoe cream every now and again!

3) Shoe Creme Polish - Opinions on this one may differ, but I love using shoes creme on all my polished, top grain and waxy leather shoes (not including suede or nubuck). This can be bought in many colours from blue to orange, but I always carry a black, brown and neutral. It will nourish the leather, helping make it softer and less prone to creasing. It will also give the leather a 'soft shine' after a gentle buffing. As a rule of thumb, look at applying shoe creme to your shoes every 7 wears or so.

4) Wax Polish - This can be used in addition or independently of shoe creme polish. If you're a fan of the 'ultra-sharp' look, rub the polish in hard (the longer the better), allow it to dry and buff off with a horse hair brush. This will provide your shoes with a high shine finish and water resistant properties. Understand that this is very much dependent on circumstance; no amount of wax polish and waterproofing spray is going to keep out the water if you're subjecting your shoes to harsh, wet conditions.

5) Waterproofing Spray - I recommend that everyone 'waterproofs' their leather shoes from new and every 3 months or so there after. Make sure to do this more often through the winter or periods of heavy rainfall. Not that it rains in the UK, ever! These sort of sprays are particularly good for protecting suede, nubuck and top grain leather. I recommend using 'Waterstop', by Collonil.

6) New Shoes - This is especially relevant for goodyear welted, leather sole shoes. For the breaking in period of your new shoes, make sure that the weather is fair and dry. This will give your soles time to incorporate grit and dust, which helps to make the soles and stitching water resistant.

7) Suede - Don't leave the house until you've waterproofed these with a suitable spray as mentioned previously! Prevention is always better than a cure. Saying this, I've found myself in situations after a night out (one of those that result in a headache the next day), in which my suede boots have been covered in wine, beer and a range of other unspeakable fluids. These have seemingly ruined my boots, but I have managed to revive them on 3 separate occasions. You will need a suede 'eraser block', brush and a strong desire to wear your suede shoes once again! I can provide photographic evidence it required!


Emergency Fixes

Wet Shoes? If you've been caught out in the rain and soaked your leather shoes, stuff them with news paper and allow them to dry naturally. Don't place them near a radiator as this will cause the leather to dry too quickly and could cause it to crack!

Watermarks or salt stains? This can be a particular problem with tan leather. The following is very much a 'traditional method' that I have used and it did work for me. If you are unsure, please take them to a specialist. Firstly stuff newspaper into the shoes/boots. Brush the shoes down to remove any excess dirt. Add a squirt of lemon juice to a bowl of warm water and using a cloth evenly rub this mixture into the leather. Allow the shoes to dry naturally (no radiators). The idea here is that the leather will dry evenly, therefore leaving no watermarks. This may make them darker than they were originally.

A lot of the the products mentioned above are available to purchase at elevate your sole (in store). If there is anything you require, please send me a message and I'll try my best to help you out.

I hope you enjoyed reading my third blog. Please take a look around my website and join me at Facebook & Twitter.

Hal Holmes-Pierce (Proprietor: elevate your sole)


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