How To Look After Your Favourite Leather Shoes

You’ve splurged a little on that beautiful pair of leather shoes that you’ve been eyeing for months this season. You’ve worn them for a while and have fallen more deeply in love with them with every wear. They’re everything you’ve ever wanted. Things are going swimmingly. You’re smitten. Until - they suddenly don’t look as schmick as they once did. Or are you seeing things? We’re here to tell you that you’re not. And that things aren't fizzling out between the two of you.

They say that love is blind. While this is an honourable sentiment, we also believe in the power of continuous improvement. If we can get these shoes looking slick again, then why not? 


Beauty always comes with a price. And the price for your beautiful leather shoes and the longevity they afford is upkeep. We think it’s a fair tradeoff considering everything you get with a good pair of leather shoes. Below, we’ve laid out our team’s best advice to look after your favourite pairs - and it’s simpler than you might think. 

Waterproofing Your Leather Shoes & Keeping Them Dry

Waterproofing your leather shoes is also key to ensuring liquids don’t penetrate the leather. Leather is porous and any moisture it absorbs will distort it. Invest in a good quality waterproofing agent and apply at least three coats to ensure your shoes are fully protected. You’ll need to top this up every six months or so, but make sure to follow any instructions on the packaging. 

Shop our Waproo Water and Stain Protector

Resting Your Shoes

As mentioned above, there is no love lost between leather and moisture. Sweat from your feet will distort and damage leather over time. Allowing your shoes time to dry out between each wear will help them keep their shape. Stuffing them with wooden shoe trees will also help absorb moisture while ensuring they retain their shape as they dry. Make sure to store them out of direct sunlight and direct heat sources as well. 

Conditioning the Leather

Polish vs Conditioner

While they may seem to do the same thing, leather polish and conditioner have two distinct functions. Almost every leather shoe will require conditioner, while not every shoe will require polish


Leather polish is made from a combination of either waxes or creams and will almost always contain dye or pigment to help restore colour and shine. It sits on the surface of the shoe and acts as a barrier against moisture and dirt. Polish will need to match the colour of the shoe it'll be used on. 


On the other hand, leather conditioner contains important oils that help keep leather supple. It works by penetrating the leather and moisturising it from within rather than just creating a surface-level barrier, as polish does. The conditioner will not give your shoes any shine but is crucial to maintaining the suppleness of the leather and therefore stopping it from cracking. 



Before applying either polish or conditioner, start by giving your shoes a good clean. If you’ve been maintaining regular upkeep and your shoes have no stains, a good brush with a soft-bristled brush will suffice. Otherwise, a good leather cleaner should be your starting point. 


Applying Conditioner

After cleaning the leather, rub a little bit of leather conditioner into the leather using a soft cloth. Give it a few minutes to dry before wiping away the excess with a clean cloth. How often you’ll need to do this will depend on how often you wear your shoes but that will most likely be once every 1-3 months.  

Shop our Zorbel Leather Conditioner here


Applying Polish  

After you’ve conditioned the leather, apply a small amount of polish to a soft clean cloth and rub it into the leather in a circular motion. Give it a few minutes to dry before buffing it with a fresh cloth or soft-bristled brush. Repeat this process once a week.

Shop our Waproo Renovating Polish Black here 




A visit to the shoe repair shop is an integral part of your shoe-care routine. Make sure you get some rubber half-soles fitted straight away to prolong the life of the soles and give you extra grip. 


Your local shoe repair shop is also the place to go if you’re looking to give your shoes a cosmetic refresh. Whether it’s fixing up some stitching, minor scratching, colour fading, worn-out toes or stilettos, your local cobbler will be able to sort it out.   

Well-maintained leather lives longer, looks better, feels better and is easily repaired or touched up. Meaning - many more happy days spent enjoying their giddy-smile-inducing company. Do also keep in mind that women’s shoes are often made from thinner leather and in colours that are harder to maintain with polish. Therefore, don’t skip regular cleaning, conditioning and maintenance visits to your local shoe repair shop.

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