How to Care for Leather Shoes (Protect Your Investment with these 7 Tips)4 min read

Investing in quality shoes is standard for all stylish men. And with quality shoes comes the requirement of proper shoe care and maintenance.

Leather Shoe Care Tips For Longer Lasting Shoes | GENTLEMAN WITHIN

It’s easy to forget to clean our shoes every now and then due to busy schedules or just laziness, but it’s inexcusable not to give our dress shoes the proper care they deserve.

Here are 8 things I’ve learned over the years about how to care for leather shoes to keep them looking good for the long haul.


7 Shoe Care Tips For Longer Lasting Shoes | How To Care For Leather Shoes

1. Invest in quality leather shoes

Quality Dress Shoes | GENTLEMAN WITHIN
SHOP THE SHOES—The Dean Oxford: Beckett Simonon | The Martin Wholecut: Paul Evans

Above all, it pays to invest in the best quality pair of leather dress shoes you can afford. Although price isn’t the only determining factor in what makes a high quality shoe, more often than not, a $350-$400 pair will be higher quality than shoes half the price. And with that comes better craftsmanship and attention to detail. When you invest in quality leather or suede then the longer your shoes have the potential to last.

2. Rotate your shoes daily

By giving your shoes (especially your favorite pairs) rest of at least a day, it can help to extend the life of your shoes. I usually don’t wear the same pair of shoes on consecutive days, especially if it’s the middle of summertime and I spent the whole day wearing them. Gotta give them time to breathe.

3. Utilize cedar shoe trees

Shoe Care Shoe Trees | GENTLEMAN WITHIN
SHOP THE SHOE TREES—Cedar Shoe Trees: Woodlore | Cedar Shoe Trees: Nordstrom

Here are three reasons to use cedar shoe trees:

  1. Helps leather shoes to regain and retain their shape after wear
  2. Absorbs moisture to protect the leather, fabric, stitching and soles
  3. The aroma of the cedar deodorizes your shoes, helping to combat odor and keep your shoes fresh

The bottom line is that shoe trees help keep your shoes in good standing for the long haul and are relatively inexpensive so it’s worth it to pick a few up for your high quality leather shoes.

4. Use a shoe horn

SHOP THE PRODUCTS—Dark Gray Herringbone Socks: Rampley & Co. | The Martin Wholecut & Shoe Horn: Paul Evans

This nifty little accessory assists in slipping on your leather shoes. It allows you to easily slide into your shoes without damaging the leather. I don’t have a long handle shoe horn and do just fine with a small, portable one. I like to place it inside the shoes when I’m not wearing them.

5. Avoid nasty weather conditions

This kind of goes without saying, but avoid wearing your good leather or suede shoes in bad weather, ie. snowy or rainy conditions.

If your shoes happen to get wet, don’t put them near direct heat as this can damage the leather. Instead stuff them with newspaper or paper towels so that it can absorb the moisture and let them dry naturally.

6. Maintain proper shoe maintenance

SHOP THE PRODUCTS—Leather Care Kit: Kiwi | Leather Cleaner: Bickmore | Leather Conditioner: Allen Edmonds | Suede & Nubuck 4-Way Brush & Eraser: Wind Wing

This goes a long way in keeping your leather shoes in tip top condition. It’s a good idea to pick up some sort of leather care kit.

Items to look for in a leather care kit include:

  • Leather cleaner
  • Horsehair shine brush
  • Leather conditioner
  • Shine cloth
  • Leather shoe polish and polish applicators

When giving your leather shoes that brilliant shine, remember the order is important here.

  1. First use a quality brand leather cleaner or mild soap and water to remove dirt, grime or any old layers of polish from the shoe. If the shoes don’t really need cleaning, it’s still a good idea to use a soft brush to remove any dust and grime you may not see.
  2. Condition your shoes to rehydrate the leather allowing for it to soften and replace the leather’s natural oils
  3. Apply a shoe polish that closely matches your shoes color

Make sure that you’re using a different rag or cloth for each step to avoid cross contamination of products

And for suede shoes you want to pick up some sort of suede and nubuck care kit. It should have a heavy brush as well as a soft one, an eraser for visible stains and a can of suede and nubuck protection spray to keep your shoes shielded from the elements.

Suede And Nubuck Protector | GENTLEMAN WITHIN
SHOP THE PRODUCT—Suede & Nubuck Protector | Scotchgard

7. Carry a dust bag when you travel

The last shoe care tip is to make use of dust bags while traveling to store your shoes, helps to protect leather from scuffs and keep your clothes form getting dirty.


Shoes can be an expensive investment which makes proper shoe care and protection of that investment important. Clean shoes are a sign of a man who pays attention to the little details and who doesn’t love a man of details.

I hope that these shoe care tips are helpful.


Let’s continue the discussion over in the Gentlemen Within Private Facebook Community.

Looking forward to seeing you in there.


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  1. Gilliankieft says

    Awesome post . I am old school. The first thing my dad taught me was how to polish my shoes !!!! I have a shoe care table set up .

    • Khoi Nguyen says

      Thanks Gillian! Glad you enjoyed the post. I think more people can benefit from an old school approach, tbh! I think I need a shoe care table for myself. 🤔

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