Clean your leather shoes after every few wears, whenever they look dirty, or at least once a month. Knock off dirt, mud, and salt using a dry, soft cloth or a horsehair brush. If your shoes are excessively dirty, dampen a soft cloth and lather some leather-specific soap on the shoes. We recommend Saphir products, as they are highly regarded in the high-end shoe industry, though any high quality cleaner will do. After lathering the leather soap, let your shoes air dry.
If necessary, clean your laces by removing them from the shoes and hand washing them in a bin of warm water and laundry detergent. Air dry them before replacing them on your shoes.
Once your shoes are dry after a cleaning, rub them with a leather conditioner and a clean rag, using a circular motion to apply the conditioner. This restores the natural moisture of the leather, and it can cover small scuffs and scratches. Again, while any high quality conditioner will do, Saphir makes a great product called Renovateur Medaille d'Or, which has worked very well for us. Let the conditioner sit for a few minutes, then buff the leather lightly with a horsehair brush or a clean, soft cloth.How often should you condition? The aim of conditioning is to prevent the leather from cracking from being too dry. Depending on your climate, condition every 5–20 wears, once a month, or after any soap cleaning.
After you condition your shoes, adding some polish can really make them pop. Spread a high quality shoe cream over the leather, and let it sit for a few minutes. Then, polish the leather with a shine brush. Repeat until you reach the desired level of shine.
Between wears, your shoes need to rest. The leather absorbs sweat and moisture in the air. It needs to dry. We recommend letting your shoes breathe after taking them off at the end of the day for 15-20 minutes. Once your shoes have had a chance to breathe, and the moisture has evaporated, insert a shoe tree in each shoe to help them stay in their best shape. Otherwise, any ambient moisture on the leather can cause it to deform. As you can see, caring for leather shoes is not as intimidating as it first may seem --- It just takes getting into the habit. Are you ready to enjoy the classic look and feel of Goodyear welted leather shoes?
May we suggest trying a pair of George Lyon Shoes, which come with a complimentary, perfectly matching belt. Using the leather care tips in this post, your Lyons could stay in your shoe rotation for years to come.
Great shoes have a great story behind them. See the problems solved by George Lyon shoes—and our story—on our website.