How to take care of your Leather Shoes

Posted by Lee Fleming on

leather shoe care by Barker

The majority of men’s shoe collections are made from leather whether it’s a calf, full grain or split suede and like all tanned hides they will age gracefully over time providing they are cared for. Investing in a pair of Barker Goodyear welted shoes is in our eyes only the start of the commitment made to your shoes no matter the style. All Barker shoes, brogues, boots and sneakers require a certain level of care to guarantee longevity.

How often you wear your leather shoes should be taken into consideration as it’s recommended to wear your Barker shoes on a rotation to give them enough time to dry following wear therefore avoiding excessive wear wherever possible.  

Environmental factors such as gravity, humidity and aridity may have a detrimental effect on your leather shoes therefore opting to store them in a dry space will prevent any possibility of dampness and will allow adequate time to dry fully. Should your leather shoes become exceptionally wet it may take several days to ensure they are completely dry prior to wearing them next.  

Shoe trees by Barker

Over time, wearing your leather shoes will result in folds and creases naturally appearing in the leather uppers and if not treated they may become permanent deformations. A pair of well made shoe trees will prevent the shoe from miss shaping when being stored and aromatic cedar wood in particular helps absorb moisture while naturally deodorize your shoes when not being worn. Taking the time to loosen the lacing system on your leather shoes when putting on will avoid damage to the leather uppers and it’s wise to invest in a shoe horn to use every time to protect the leather, in particular the heels. 

To clean your shoes it's worth investing in high quality leather shampoo or soap to give a deep clean and ensure all residing shoe cream and polish is removed prior to polishing your shoes. Cleaning your shoes should include removing the shoe laces fully unless it’s a time restricted standard everyday routine. Once cleaned leave the shoes to dry completely with crinkled newspaper inserted inside the shoes to keep the shoes shape until your shoe trees can be used.

shoe polish by Barkershoe polish by Barker

If completed regularly polishing shouldn’t take up too much of your time and won’t seem to be a monotonous  task. Ensure your leather shoes are dry before polishing before inserting  shoe trees and removing the laces to give them a thorough once over with a premium horsehair brush to remove any unwanted dirt. It’s important there’s no dirt or dust on the leather before apply any polishing products as it will affect the end result and overall shine.

Horsehair brush by BarkerHorsehair brush by Barker


Owning good quality aftercare is a must, leather is a natural product and will respond well to being well looked after. To start polishing your shoes take a cotton cloth (old t-shirts also work well) and use it to apply the polish over the entire shoe upper in small circular movements. A little goes a long way when polishing so be careful on how much you apply to the shoe but don’t forget to polish the sides of the soles and heels as these get dirty when making contact with the ground.

 Leave the polish to work anywhere between twenty minutes to overnight before buffing your shoes with a fine horse hair brush to remove any excess polish from  the leather while the friction from brushing causes heat bringing out the shine. If you feel your shoes need shining more repeat the polish stage again until you’re content with the finish?