Leather Shoe Caring & Polishing Guide

Posted by Lee Fleming on

SHOE POLISHING - Caring for your shoes by Barker

Investing in a well-made pair of English Goodyear welted shoes includes the use of the finest materials used to make the uppers and the soles of the sole. The majority of Goodyear welted shoes by Northampton shoemakers such as Barker are made from premium leathers sourced from around the world including tanneries such as Annonay, Horween Leather Company and Charles Stead. Leather like denim has a unique character to age over time and with wear, resulting in comfortable footwear that will last the test of time.  

Purchasing a pair of handcrafted men’s leather shoes is only the start of the journey as the attention and time taken for caring leather shoes will significantly lengthen the longevity of the shoes. How often you wear your leather shoes is the first factor in the lifespan of a leather shoe as it's recommended to wear your shoes or boots on a rotation to give them enough time to dry following wear and to avoid excessive wear where ever possible. Environmental factors such as gravity, humidity and aridity may have a detrimental effect on your leather shoes, therefore, opting to store them in a dry space will prevent any possibility of dampness and will allow adequate time to dry fully. Should your leather shoes become exceptionally wet it may take several days to ensure they are completely dry prior to wearing them next.  

Shoe Tree - Aromatic Cedar Calf

Over time, wearing your leather shoes will result in folds and creases naturally appearing in the leather uppers and if not treated they may become permanent deformations. A pair of well-made shoe trees will prevent the shoe from miss shaping when being stored and aromatic cedar wood in particular helps absorb moisture while naturally deodorises your shoes when not being worn. Taking the time to loosen the lacing system on your leather shoes when putting on will avoid damage to the leather uppers and it’s wise to invest in a shoe horn to use every time to protect the leather in particular the heels. 

Barker shoe cream  Barker Shoe Polish

To clean your shoes it’s a worth investing in high quality leather shampoo or soap to give a deep clean and ensure all residing shoe cream and shoe polish is removed prior to polishing your shoes. Cleaning your shoes should include removing the shoe laces fully unless it’s a time restricted standard everyday routine. Once cleaned leave the shoes to dry completely with crinkled newspaper inserted inside the shoes to keep the shape of the shoe until your shoe trees can be used.

If completed regularly polishing shouldn’t take up too much of your time and won’t seem to be a monotonous task. Ensure your leather shoes are dry before polishing before inserting shoe trees and removing the laces to give them a thorough once over with a premium horse hair brush to remove any unwanted dirt. It’s important there’s no dirt or dust on the leather before apply any polishing products as it will affect the end result and overall shine.

Shoe polishing - Caring for your Barker's Handmade Leather Shoes

To start polishing your shoes take a cotton cloth (old t-shirts also work well) and use it to apply the polish over the entire shoe upper in small circular movements. A little goes a long way when polishing so be careful on how much you apply to the shoe but don’t forget to polish the sides of the soles and heels as these get dirty when making contact with the ground.

Leave the polish to work anywhere between twenty minutes to overnight before buffing your shoes with a fine horse hair brush to remove any excess polish from the leather while the friction from brushing causes heat bringing out the shine. If you feel your shoes need shining more repeat the polish stage again until you’re completely happy with the finish?