How not knowing leather care destroys your shoes

Make kings, queens, explorers and witches jealous of your leather shoes as you dunk them into the Fountain of Youth which is the juicy substances of leather care products. It’s finally time to step up our game and love our leather.

If you came from the previous post “7 Ways To Immortalize Your Shoes” you saw the Aquila’s that I absolutely used and abused on a daily basis for a year. I used plastic bristle brushes and a wax-cream blended product that further ruined and cracked the shoes in the long run.

leather care shoes worn out

The most important thing that to reflect back on is that I often did take care of them. I wax polished them once a month. But after seeing how they ended up after one year of wear I’ve learnt that it simply wasn’t enough.

What I’ve done in this post is created a detailed step-by-step guide on how to care for your leather. Every fundamental thing that you need to know about leather care to prevent a poor investment like I made on these poor-old Aquila’s.

“The following images are recommendations of products. I am not endorsed by any of the brands listed but I believe they're great products


Three basic ingredients that you will need to apply:

  • Conditioner – moisturiser for your shoes to feed it nutrients
leather care conditioner
Conditioner – The Shoe Snob
  • Cream – another layer placed on top conditioner for colour rejuvenation and moisture
leather care cream
Cream – Meltonian
  • Wax – the final coat applied to the shoe to give it a healthy shine
leather care wax
Wax – Kiwi

Three apparatus that you will use to apply above substances:

  • Shoe brush (horse hair) – used to buff and clean the shoe
shoe brush leather
Shoe Brush – Alden
  • Welt brush (horse hair) – used to apply substances, clean shoe and rejuvenate colour
welt brush leather care
Welt Brush – The Shoe Snob
  • Used cloth (thin cotton) – applying substances (conditioner & wax) and to create layers of wax to create a “mirror” shine

old rag or old cloth for leather care


Leather Shoe Care 6 Simple Steps:

1. Clean with shoe brush and welt brush

The first step is to clean the shoes with your shoe brush for general cleaning and your welt brush for the little nooks and crannies. It’s so crucial that one cleans their shoes before applying any substances as it enables the real surface and pores of the shoes to be exposed and penetrated by the care substances. 

Additionally, having not cleaned the dust and dirt accumulated on the shoe will cause the dirt to be trapped into the leather and attempting to clean it on a later time when the dirt has already been trapped will cause damage.

2. Apply leather conditioner using your old rag in circular motions 

Leather is essentially a skin which needs to be fed nutrients. Just like your face needs care with face cleansers, moisturisers and water, your leather needs a conditioner (moisturiser) to keep lively and to be fed it’s nutrients into it’s pores.

Wrap the old rag around your index and middle fingers, dip a considerable amount of conditioner and apply evenly and generously starting with the toe of the shoe. 

3. Wait 10 minutes 

To let the nutrients settle into the pores of the leather

4. Use your welt brush and old rag (unused section) to apply cream

The cream is another layer added on top of the conditioner. It can ultimately be viewed as a mixture of a conditioner and a wax that provides colour rejuvenation, moisture, flexibility for leather and a nutritious sheen. 

If using your old rag, apply the cream just like you did with the conditioner. Use the welt brush to apply the cream into the nooks and crannies of the shoes. In particularly; in-between the holes (brogue shoe), between the upper and sole stitching.

5. Wait another 10 minutes for the cream to settle in.

Now you have two options. You can create more a of a shine and a mirror effect by adding wax polish OR leave it be and buff.

Buffing is really quite simple. once you’ve let the conditioner settle-in for 10 minutes you can give your shoe a healthy sheen to bring more life to it. Use your shoe brush and physically brush back and forth. Make sure to use one with a high density of horsehair to ensure no damage caused to the shoe and maximum effect. 

6. Apply layer coats of wax polish using your old rag in circular motions to produce a healthy shine 

If you’d like to further cover up the rest of the damage that the conditioner has filled in, a wax polish will do the trick. Applying a wax polish to finish the shoe provides a classic look creating a mirror shine by applying a final layer on top of the shoe. 

You can apply wax polish by wrapping the old cloth around your fingers and dabbing the wax onto the cloth. In circular motions apply the wax onto the shoe starting from the toe in circular motions. Make sure to apply in thin layers as to not completely shield the shoe from future nourishment and care. If you’d prefer a “mirror” shine apply a small amount of water after dabbing wax onto the cloth and proceed to apply in circular motions. 

In Conclusion

Committing to this 6 step procedure weekly/fortnightly if done right will guarantee additionally years of use for your leather shoes. If you’ve already invested $150 or more into a pair of leather shoes it’s definitely a good idea to maximise those dollars by instilling longevity through care for the shoe. I hope this helped you guys.


Raising The Collar Standard,



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