Leather is nature’s ideal material for footwear. It breathes, flexes, is durable, and restorable in many cases. Proper care and treatment is very important to ensure your footwear’s long life and wearability. Here’s how to protect your investment:
- Rotate your shoes between wearings to allow moisture and perspiration to dissipate naturally.
- Shoe trees should be used to help footwear retain its shape. They are available in plastic or cedar. Although more expensive, uncoated cedar are better because they also absorb moisture and leave a fresh cedar aroma.
- Always use shoe horns when slipping on footwear. They help to protect the footwears’ heel counter, the support between the lining and the upper, from losing its stability.
- Clean off your footwear as soon as possible after wearing. With a soft cloth, gently remove surface dirt and residue from leather.
- Treat leather by polishing them periodically. Using a creme helps to nourish the leather, keeping it moist and supple.
- When traveling, be sure to pack your footwear in soft sturdy shoe bags.
- When footwear gets wet, allow them to partially dry at room temperature. While they are still damp, insert your cedar shoe trees and allow them to continue to air dry.
A new pair of shoes or boots should fit comfortably, while allowing sufficient room for movement. Your fit should not be so snug as to be constricting or too loose either. Heel slippage in new footwear is to expected until the leather softens and the sole flexes. In time your foot will develop a comfortable niche for itself.
The break-in period refers to the time necessary for new leather to soften and conform to the shape of your foot. Regular wear will generate body heat and moisture allowing supple leather to contour in response to your foot’s movement. A good leather conditioner will hasten this process.