Shoe Care – The Basics Art.1

Beautiful shoes are essential to every men’s wardrobe. But to increase the lifespan and keep them pristine, it is equally important to take good care of them. My friends and colleagues often call me or write to me and ask me for tips on how they should care for there shoes. It’s not that easy to summarize that in a text message or a phone call, but I now have a solution for that =)

Together with my friends at Distinctly Different, also known for The ShoeCare-Shop (link to website), we have produced a series of shoe care guides to give you the essentials on proper shoe care. Of course I will still appreciate all the texts and phone calls, so please don’t stop with that, it just shows me that you are taking care of your shoes out there =) As I always say, shoe care isn’t that complicated, but there are some important basics.

To start off:
Cedar shoe trees are central to proper long-term care, because the unvarnished cedar protects the leather, fabric, stitching and soles by absorbing moisture, salts and acid. That way the trees smooth out creases and wrinkles, and when used properly, they will make the shoes not only look better, but also last longer.  

So how do you do that – taking proper care of your shoes?
The key to this is high quality shoe care products. When you choose a shoe cream, always make sure it’s beeswax based. The beeswax nourishes, protects and shines the leather perfectly. If you want the best, go for Saphir Medaille d’Or. Their shoe cream isn’t just made out of beeswax, but is completed with seven other nourishing ingredients, such as mink oil and vegetal wax.

Shoe Care - The Basics

The first step in shoe care is cleaning!
Before you treat your shoes to a new layer of polish, it is important to get the old layers and the dirt off. Brush them with a shine brush – preferably one that is made of horse hair – and use a quality cleanser, like Saphir Lotion. You rub the lotion into the leather with a cotton cloth and finish off by wiping them quickly with a dry cloth. Let them dry for a couple of minutes before you start restoring the dried out leather to its original state.  

The cleaning isn’t just important to get the old layers of, but it also opens up the pores of the leather, and thus preparing it to absorb the nourishing oils to its full extent. After you let your shoes dry, it is time to bring the leather back to life by using a rich nourishing product, such as Saphir Renovateur. Apply the cream, using either an applicator brush or a cloth, and let it soak into the leather for approximately five minutes. The rich oils will rejuvenate and restore your shoes. 

Shoe Care - The Basics

The last step is to let your shoes shine.
For this you need a matt gloss shoe cream and, depending on the level of gloss you desire, possibly a high gloss shoe wax. The difference between a cream and a wax is that the cream is soft and easy to use. The wax is hard and needs a few special proceedings to apply, which makes it a bit more demanding. But in return it offers extra protection and a very glossy shine. If you prefer your shoes extra shiny, use the high gloss wax after the matt gloss shoe cream. Always finish by brushing them for a couple of minutes with a horse hair shine brush.

The result? Nice and good looking Gentleman’s shoes! 

Hope you enjoyed reading the first part of the the shoe care series. Next week, we will give you a more in depth step by step guide on how to get your shoes nice and shining! Stay tuned!

PS: If you have any wishes on topics that you want us to cover, please leave a comment below!

5 comments on “Shoe Care – The Basics Art.1

  1. Excellent article, thanks!
    Could you cover “how to deal with scuffs and marks” please?

    • Thanks for the input my friend, my general recommendation would be to follow the same procedure as for “normal” shoe care. Usually that covers the normal scuffs and marks that one my get during a day. however for deeper marks and scuffs I would visit a cobbler to see what they can do.

      But I will discuss this with DD and see if they have any other input =) thanks for commenting

  2. Hi AleksJJ

    Very interesting article with lots of useful advice, have you tried Saphir Mirror Gloss Wax Polish yet and if so what are your conclusions?

    I’ve just signed up for your newsletter and look forward to hearing more from you

    • Hi Carl!
      Thanks for the kind word. I don’t have any experince yet but I’m sure my friends at DD have tried it!
      Let’s see what they say!

    • Hi Carl,

      Donny here from Distinctly Different. We certainly did try it. It’s once again an absolutely great formula by Saphir. The wax really builds up easy giving you a great shine. The wax is a lot dryer and hardens out more easily. It is just a matter of applying and then waiting about a minute for the wax to harden and dry on your shoe. Afterwards simply shine it with preferrably a cloth for the best results. We achieved a mirror grade shine within 4 layers of the wax which would have never been possible with the Pate de Luxe. Do mind that the wax absolutely does not replace cream or pate de luxe wax. It is an additional layer that you apply afterwards. The reason why I am saying that is because the wax does nothing, but build a protective high gloss layer while the Pate de luxe wax did also nourish the leather.

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