Try to wear your new shoes in dry conditions for the first few occasions. Allow a small build-up of ‘grit’ on the sole of your new shoes, as this will form a natural protective layer.
Leather shoes: Leather is a natural product that is porous and allows your feet to breathe naturally making leather shoes particularly comfortable. Leather shoes will look after your feet so you should look after them. Your shoes will benefit from regular cleaning and polishing with a good quality cream or wax polish. This will help to moisturize the leather, and prevent cracking and any excessive creasing. Before polishing your shoes ensure that all excess dust and dirt is removed from the upper and sole using a cloth or soft bristled brush.
Walking Boots: When cleaning your walking boots ensure first that all excess dirt is removed also don not forget to remove dirt and stones form the sole. If you wish to improve the odour of your boots clean the inside using luke-warm water and a brush, if allowed to dry this will not hurt the lining. Most walking boots are treated so that they are water-repellent, this ‘repellence’ is reduced over time and needs to be reapplied. As many boots are made chiefly of leather they require regular ‘nutrition’.
Wellies: We know it is hard but you should try and keep your wellies as clean as possible to avoid damage. Before treating wellies should be cleaned using water and a stiff brush, if water gets inside the welly allow to dry naturally.
Leather shoes: Use plenty of good-quality polish and allow the polish to rest on the shoe for as long as possible, ideally overnight but this may not always be possible. Make sure you apply plenty of polish to the welt and the crack between the upper and the sole as this area can be easily neglected. Once the polish has had a chance to rest remove it using a clean soft bristled brush or cloth to shine them up. Light or tan coloured shoes can also be darkened using a darker polish. Apply small amounts of the darker polish at separate intervals and you will see your shoes darken gradually. Black polish can also be used making your shoes appear darker and look immediately older (this is a slightly more daring way to darken your shoes.) If your shoes have a waxed leather upper, regularly use dubbin or a leather conditioner to keep the leather supple. Oakwood leather conditioner use picture and have link to product on website.
Walking Boots: Ideally you should wax and polish your walking boots before wearing them for the first time. Leather walking boots should be conditioned and polished every 2-3 months or a couple of times a year. This can be done using a leather conditioner or wax, simply sparingly rub the wax into the boot using a clean cloth or sponge. DO NOT heat the wax as this will make it penetrate too deeply and may damage the leather. Using a clean cloth rub a small amount of leather conditioner into your boots and leave to rest, then polish your boots using another cloth. If you spray you’re walking boots (with Meindl Sport Wax/Oakwood Conditioner, for example) it is best to do so when the boot is NOT completely dry as it allows the spray to soak into the pores. Meindl conditioner and proofer Don’t forget to clean and protect the metal eyelets of your boots using Vaseline.
Nubuck: To clean nubuck boots dip a clean cloth in warm water with a little soap and rub over the boot, then leave them to dry before waxing. Waxing may change their appearance slightly making them smoother and darker but this is a perfectly natural and harmless process.
Suede: Suede uppers will look their best when brushed using suede brush preferably, if not a soft bristled brush will work too. It is important to use a re-proofer on your suede walking boots as they do not have a natural water-repellence but are coated during production.
Wellies: Spray cleaning spray directly onto clean boots Use silicon spray on rubber boots and then using a clean dry cloth buff the clean boot. Silicon spray is also used on the zip to improve and maintain movement. If you look after your shoes, they might just last longer than you. With proper maintenance and attention, your shoes will retain their excellent appearance and comfort in wear for years to come.
Soles and Resoling
You know that your shoe is ready for repair when a soft spot in the sole can be felt on the ball of your foot. To test your shoes you can push this part of the sole with your finger or thumb it is very soft it is about ready to go, if it feels only a little soft to the touch then it probably has a couple of months of life left in it.
Leather: Your new leather soled shoes may be ‘slippy’ for your first couple of wears. Leather soles are designed for the comfort of your feet; therefore attaching rubber additions to the sole or heel can affect the balance and comfort of the shoe putting excessive strain on the construction and thus leading to a less comfortable and less durable shoe.
Goodyear welted: It is possible to re-sole Goodyear Welted shoes or boots by stitching new soles to the existing welts, thereby increasing their life expectancy.
Anatomic Gel: Unfortunately Anatomic Gel boots and shoes cannot be re-soled with the same Anatomic® sole, however an alternative rubber sole can be used to replace a worn out Anatomic® sole.
Alfred Sargent: Alfred Sargent shoemakers offer a full repair service to help extend the life of your shoes, including a full re-sole, re-welt and upper restoration.
Shoe trees help maintain the shape of the shoe, which can help to prolong their life. Shoe trees also allow shoes, boots and walking boots to dry efficiently while keeping their shape.
Using a shoe horn when putting on your shoes will keep the backs strong and sturdy.
Leather Shoes: Leather shoes are not generally considered to be waterproof, therefore it is best to avoid excessive wetting. Should your leather shoes get wet, allow them to dry naturally in a well-ventilated area and away from any direct heat source as this may damage both the leather upper and the sole. Inserting newspaper or shoe trees can be used to help the leather to dry out. Natural perspiration can also cause shoes to become damp therefore allowing between 24-48 hours for them to rest and dry, allowing the leather to recover between wears will have a significant impact on their lifespan.
Walking Boots: Even though some walking boots are considered waterproof, and even GORE-TEX® lined they will last longer if properly cared for. Allow your walking boots to dry out. When drying your boots remove the footbed and allow it to dry separately. Dry boots away from direct heat sources, as wet leather is sensitive and will ‘burn’ easily, causing the leather to crack as it becomes brittle and hard. Like with any shoe, newspaper can be used to help your boots to dry naturally or alternatively shoe trees are also recommended.