8 STEPS TO A PROPER SHOE CARE REGIME
Step 1: Always use a shoehorn
Between the leather upper and leather lining at the heel, there is a heel counter. The heel counter is designed to cup the heel of your foot, and it prevents your heel from lifting out of the shoe while you walk. In order not to damage the heel counter and top line of your shoes, using a shoehorn is a must. Place the shoehorn against the counter of the shoe, insert the tip of your foot into the shoe, and slide your heel down against the shoehorn.
Step 2: Always use shoe trees, preferably made of wood.
Natural, untreated wooden shoetrees are the single most important item to keep help your shoes maintain their original shape. Immediately after wear, the trees absorb the excess moisture inside the shoe, helping the shoes to dry from the inside out. Other than this, wooden shoetrees straighten out the insole, outsole and leather upper, preventing it from cracks and creasing.
Step 3: Keep your shoes clean.
Keeping your shoes free from dirt in between wears is done by brushing the upper and the welt area (the area between the shoe upper, and the sole). A shoe dirt brush should not be the most expensive one of the lot, but nor should it be too coarse. It is also a good idea to give the soles a quick brushing, so that the leather can breath and moisture can be wicked away through the sole.
Step 4: Properly condition the leather.
Regular application of a leather conditioner is recommended to keep leather supple and hydrated. A general rule here is that it is important to restore the moisture and oil content the leather had after tanning. Regular calf leather requires moisture, while oily leather requires oil. Often overlooked, the welt area is one of the most vulnerable parts of a Goodyear welted shoe. The welt should be moisturised together with the rest of the shoe.
Step 5: Restore colour with natural shoe cream.
Probably the step we are all most acquainted with, is to restore the colour of the shoe with shoe cream. When using a natural based shoe cream (the only one that should be used), this also helps to nourish and moisture the leather further.Using a brush applicator or cotton cloth apply a small amount of cream to the entire upper, working it into the leather with circular movements. A slightly damp cloth can help spread out the cream.
Step 6: Apply natural wax for high shine.
For those that prefer a high shine, take a cotton rag, and twist it over one or two fingers. Make sure you create an even surface. Lightly swipe your cloth across the wax, and apply a first layer to the shoes. Again, work the wax in circular and very light movements. When you start to see clouds appear in the wax, moisten your cloth every so lightly, swipe across the wax, and start over. Repeat these steps until a high shine appears.
Step 7: The final touch.
Step 7 is optional, but desirable if you want to look your best. After the shoes have been conditioned, creamed and waxed, walk in them for only a few seconds. Then take a soft cotton cloth or brush, and give them a final swipe to remove any excess cream or wax. Especially on the vamp area, where creases start to form more easily, excess wax should be removed.
Step 8: Rotate, rotate, rotate.
Together with the use of shoetrees, rotating your shoes daily will extend the life of your shoes the most. Everyone transpires through his or her feet, even if you do not notice it. This causes the shoes to get moist on the inside, and the leather to warp. Also, why would you want to wear the same pair of shoes every day?