Skip to content
Custom Orders Ship in 10-12 Weeks

How To Care For Your Leather Shoes So They Will Outlast You

"Take care of your shoes and they will take care of you"

"Procrastination turns the repairable into irreparable" 

These 2 statements are the absolute truth when it comes to leather shoes. 

We guarantee our footwear will last you many years if you take time to maintain and condition them. 

For example, let’s say we leave dirty dishes to sit in the sink without soaking them, it’s going to take a lot more effort to clean those dishes the longer they sit.  The same is true for leather shoes.  Perhaps you spill some coffee onto your leather boots and don’t wipe them down or clean them for a couple weeks, the coffee is going to seep into the material making it harder to remove the stain or may even result in a permanent stain.  Leather has a natural level of water resistance and any spills can be cleaned up as long as you don’t procrastinate too long.  

Another point to consider about leather: it is a natural and breathable material.  It was once the skin of an animal before the tanning process which involves chemical treatment to prevent it from decaying and decomposing.  Like our skin, leather also has a certain level of resistance to water.  Water runs off our skin as we wash our hands, but when we soak in a bath, our skin gets wrinkled as the water seeps into a deeper layer of skin.

 Brown Russell Boot Made With Seidel Leather

Many of us apply a clay mask to our skin because it helps draw out any impurities - it also dries out our skin in the process.  If we allow mud to stay caked on to our leather boots, it will dry out the leather and lead to cracking, (we've seen beautiful leather boots so dry and brittle they are not repairable).  This is why it’s important to moisturize and condition the leather with mink oil to bring back the moisture to the leather after we’ve cleaned the mud off our boots.  Just as we wouldn’t apply moisturizer to our wet skin as it would water down the moisturizer, we also apply mink oil to clean and dry leather.  

The basic steps to cleaning leather shoes and boots

How to wash them, how to dry them, and how to apply mink oil to keep the leather supple and from drying out.  If your shoes need only conditioning or moisturizing, you can skip steps 1 - 4 and begin at step 5.

  1. Use a brush to remove any dirt and dust from the shoe
  2. Wash with soap (we dilute a kitchen dish soap in water) and rinse off with water. To wash, use a soft brush or a sponge to scrub the entire shoe including the entire leather upper, the welt and the side edging.  And to rinse we simply use a moist cloth to wipe off the soap
  3. Dry the shoe by stuffing newspaper or a cloth inside the shoe to absorb the excess water. Allow to dry at least 3-4hrs, preferably overnight
  4. Optional: If the shoe has deep stains, use Q-tips dipped in alcohol to rub away the stains. **Be very careful if you do this: alcohol can discolour the leather. Test in a discreet area on the shoe**
  5. Use a soft brush to remove any dirt and dust
  6. Apply mink oil with a cloth to the leather in a circular motion, apply mink oil to the welt and edging – it is leather too! (We say to use a cloth, but we often use our fingers – Saphir mink oil smells amazing!)
  7. Use a cedar shoe tree to store your leather shoes when not in use. This helps to maintain its shape, prevent decreases and absorb excess moisture.  Choose cedar shoe trees over plastic or wooden ones.  We have some in our retail store if you need.
*Store footwear in a cool dry space when not in use*

    When you are cleaning and maintaining your leather shoes, always take a look at the wear on the soles and shoes.  Take a look at the rubber outsoles - are they nearly worn out that you can see the leather underneath?  It might be time to take them to us or a local cobbler for a resole.  

    How often should you wash your shoes or apply mink oil?  That depends on how often you wear them and in what conditions you wear them in.  More frequent maintenance is required the more you wear them.  We recommend monthly if you are wearing them regularly and give them a wash if you happen to get your leather boots a bit dirty. 

    Questions? Please reach out:


    There are no comments for this article. Be the first one to leave a message!

    Leave a comment

    Please note: comments must be approved before they are published