Shoe care starts with the actual purchase of a shoe. When choosing a particular shoe you should take your time as well as advice, as this could in turn enhance the overall experience. Not only do your feet but also your shoes suffer if the incorrect last is chosen. A shoe that is too tight or loose can cause the leather to stretch and fold, putting the shoe under excessive strain.
The choice of the leather upper should be made considering the intended usage of the shoe. Soft calf leather is elegant but sensitive to water and mechanical damage. Horse leather tends to crease and can swell through water drops and the owner tends to perspire more in such shoes. Stamped leather can lose its structure and two-color tone through over-polishing.
Again, you also need to choose the soles of you shoes carefully. Leather soles are breathable, but they do slip and are never totally waterproof. Rubber soles are waterproof and skid-resistant depending on the profile but can leave a residue behind, and are not breathable which can lead to excessive sweating, which lets the shoe wear out faster.
Feet and shoes need to get accustomed with each other. Good leather and the built-in cork layer located under the insole require time to adapt to the shape of your foot. Welted shoes can be quite hard and cause pressure in the beginning. They develop their comfort with time. Therefore it is recommended to wear new shoes in stages, starting with 1 hour a day, then 2, then half a day etc.
When putting on a shoe one should loosen the laces and use a shoehorn. Otherwise you risk damaging the counter and heel lining.
Shoes with a new leather sole should only be worn on dry days in the beginning, to avoid the leather from swelling and causing premature damage. The vegetable tanned leather can harden on the outer surface through pressure and moisture, giving it a natural shield against friction and moisture with time.
Do not wear the same pair of shoes for two consecutive days. Ideally you should swap the new shoes during the course of the day, allowing them to ideally rest twice as long as they were worn and aerate properly. Foot sweat is very aggressive and can cause the leather to crack.
Always store the shoes in a dry, aerated and non-humid area. For keeping your shoes in original shape, use an unvarnished and absorbent wooden shoetree. Primarily the shoetree should prevent the sole of the shoe from bending up and is not necessarily supposed to fill out the entire shoe. Under no circumstances should the shoe tree over stretch the shoe!
If the shoes are soaked or sweaty, let them dry out thoroughly before inserting the shoe tree. One can speed up the drying process by inserting newspaper into the shoe but never place your shoe under or in proximity of a heater.
The upper leather should be treated with shoe paste at least once a month. This lends itself not only to the shine but also to durability and smoothness of the leather. A horsehair brush or a cleaning cloth can be used to give your shoe a good polish. When the leather is too dry, marks can appear on the surface after applying shoe paste. To avoid this it is recommended to lightly moisten the leather before applying the shoe paste. Apply sparingly and distribute it immediately over the entire area before the paste is absorbed by the leather. Excessive amounts of shoe paste can cause the leather to become crusted and therefore prevent it from breathing.
It is not recommended to use high-gloss care products on a good leather shoe as they usually contain aggressive solvents that will affect the leather. By using such products the leather is covered with a varnish that cannot be removed once applied.
Dirty or crusted shoes can be cleaned with a dirt brush, if necessary with water and saddle soap. Neglect may cause long-term damage to the leather.
Mechanical damage to the exterior of elegant leather shoes is not a material defect. Small damages can be treated with shoe paste. One must not fret over the visible wear of a shoe, as long as it’s cleaned thoroughly.
Leather soles and seams should occasionally be treated with leather grease or dubbing. This keeps them water-resistant and smooth. Please note that the freshly applied leather grease or dubbing may leave a residue on the floor.
Soles, heels and wear parts, which have been subjected to stress, are parts of the shoes that should be replaced every two to three years. A craftsman can separate the old sole from the seam of the welted shoe and replace it with a new sole, making it as good as new.
Improper repairs should be avoided, in particular with welted shoes whose functionality can be influenced. In any case: if inappropriate materials and other than original lasts were to be used, the actual shape of the shoe could seriously be altered. This could then cause extreme folds and cracks in the leather.