How to maintain different types of shoes

We know that you love your shoes and want them to live as long as you do but good things have to be given some TLC. Here are ways to love your foot wear so that they can love you right back.

Leather shoes


Have you ever seen a police officer polish their shoes? If you have not, then here are a few tips.

First and foremost, if the shoes are laced, remove the laces. Wipe the dust with a soft cloth or you can use a brush over the entire shoe surface to remove any loose dirt. For the soles, you might need to do a little more as they are prone to being dirtier yet they are the life of your shoes.

Wipe the sole with a clean dry cloth to remove any loose dirt. Mix a teaspoon of abrasive powder with two teaspoons of water to form a paste. Using a small cleaning brush work the paste into the crevices, ridges and sides of the shoe until the sole is clean. Rinse the soles thoroughly with clean water before drying them with a clean towel or paper towels.

Leave the shoes to air for about 15-20 minutes before polishing them. If you use a brush and shoe polish leave the shoes for a while again to allow the leather to absorb before polishing them again with a clean bush to give them a smooth shiny finish.

The police fasten the process by subjecting the shoes to heat under a candle or lit kerosene.

See: Shoe Care Tips for Leather



They look good and very appealing if taken care of correctly but most people avoid suede shoes because they assume cleaning is a hustle.  Let us see if you will think otherwise after this. If the shoes have general dirtiness or muddiness, allow the shoes to dry.

Use a dry cloth or a suede brush over the entire shoe surface. This will both raise the nap and remove the dirt. Now go over any bad spots with a suede eraser or just the normal eraser which will transfer the spots to the eraser.

If you are to remove water marks, wet the entire shoe with a damp cloth, wipe any excess water off with a sponge. Now you can leave the shoe to dry slowly in an area without direct sunlight or direct heat.

Once dry, brush them with a suede brush to restore the nap. Apply suede protector for protection.

See: How To Clean Your Safari Boots in 4 Easy Steps-Illustrated



We all have canvas shoes and most go wrong when it comes to cleaning and drying them. Some of the most common mistakes include; scrubbing with hard brushes and drying under the sun and direct heat. Here is a new way to clean while preserving your canvas shoes.

First, remove the laces from the shoes and soak them in warm water with mild dish soap. Pick a soft-bristled brush and brush every surface of the shoes to remove dust. Rinse the shoes inside and outside in a sink with warm water. Make a paste of backing soda and water and mix in some mild detergent. Using a soft old toothbrush, use the solution to gently scrub at the canvas.

Once clean rinse well in the sink with cool water. Stuff the shoes with white kitchen tissue or blank newsprint and set them to dry away from direct sunlight or source of heat. Clean the laces gently, rinse them and hang them to dry.

See:How To Keep Your Canvas Shoes From Fading

Shoe Care Tips for Leather

Research shows that fashionistas are in agreement that – “You’re not dressed up, if Your Shoes are worn down”. Whereas physical health experts are in agreement that footwear is meant to protect your feet as well as the general well being of your physical body. Psychologists on the other hand are in agreement that what you wear on your feet is a reflection of your personality.

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When these three schools of thought are blended, we find that footwear protects your feet and at the same time, it is a reflection of your personality since your personal style says a lot about who you are.

However, we tend to forget that the beauty and lifespan of a shoe is dependent on how well we take care of it. For instance, shoe experts world wide are in agreement that leather is nature’s perfect shoe material:

Leather breathes which allows your feet to breathe as nature intended. Leather flexes and bends with every move you make. Leather is luxurious and durable. Leather is restorable and is an investment that requires personal care. Leather may cost a little more but will last a lot longer with proper care. (Atkinson Shoe Repair Inc.)

Below are some general tips on the best way to care for your leather shoes:

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1. It is possible to minimize the effects of exposure to water as well as other weather conditions such as excessive heat from sunlight.

- In case your leather shoe has been exposed to water, do not wear it while it is wet and do not expose it to sunlight in an attempt to dry it. Simply, allow  your shoe to dry at room temperature. Footwear should be kept away from direct heat because prolonged exposure to heat may dry and crack leather.

2. Don’t let dirt build up, clean shoes and boots regularly:

- Clean off dirt after every wear with a soft brush or rag

- Maintain the leather gleam: polish, polish, polish.

3. Keep your shoe shape by loosening laces or buckles before removing.

4. Use a shoehorn for slipping your shoes onto your feet, this prevents breakdown of the heel counter, the leather support between the lining and the upper of the shoe,  from losing its stability.

5. Don’t wear tight shoes. Wear an appropriate size for you.

6. Practice preventive maintenance. Repair your shoes before every-day wear turns into damage.

Keeping your shoes looking good is not hard to do. Shoe care is especially easy if you have just the right stuff.

Photos courtesy of Bata Kenya

Share your leather shoe care tips……