Care Tips

Why do we offer advice on care products?

We like our customers to have trust and confidence in us.  

We want to give you our customer service.

Your shoes will look better and last longer.

By caring for your shoes you will have less problems.

The Chemical process by which animal skins are turned into pliable skin is known as tanning.  This takes approximately six weeks to complete and includes up to 120 steps.

Tanning includes curing, preserving, soaking and de-hairing the raw skins, cleaning the flesh side (suede side) by soaking in a salt solution, wringing to remove excess moisture, splitting, shaving, dyeing, drying, conditioning, buffing, finishing, measuring and grading the skin.

A variety of finishes are used to enhance the natural beauty of leather.  Aniline finish is like staining wood allowing the natural grain to shine through. Pigmenting is like painting – completely covering the natural surface.  Nubuck is the top or grain side of the leather which has been buffed with a fine sand paper to give it that velvety appearance.

The most common finishes are aniline, pigmented, patent, metallic, oily, waxy suede and nubuck.
The manufacturers select leather of a quality standard.  When leather is cut, special precautions are taken to minimise damage and waste.  The leather is then assembled and all the pieces are again inspected for quality.

Leather permits the free flow of air and moisture, making it an ideal material for footwear.  Because of the special nature of leather, it is of the utmost importance that your customer receive product care information when making their purchase.

Types Of Leather

Animal hides have natural marking or flaws which are a guarantee that the leather is genuine.

When leather has been cleaned and treated it is split in half:

  • Top Grain
  • Split Leather

Top Grain Leather

Outside layer, the best and strongest section which shows the natural leather surface, often referred to as full grain.

Split Leather

Split Leather

Inside section of hide, it does not have the durability of top grain and less expensive.


Cow Hide

A heavy leather tanned from cow.  Used in men’s working shoes and industrial footwear.



Leather from a small bovine animal.  Fairly thin, high quality leather with a fine grain appearance: light weight and supple for better class shoes.



Buffalo Leather has a distinctive rough grain.



Young goat leather from the skin of a young goat.  Fine grain, firm texture and elegant appearance.



Kangaroo leather is soft, light and strong: Very durable and flexible.


Sheep - 2 Groups

  • Wool Sheep leather.
  • ‘Grease sheep’ – spongy and less durable.


Has a distinctive look and shows the grain of strong pig bristles.


Leather FInishes & Suggested Care


Full Grain leather needs to be cleaned and nourished.  It also needs to have it colour restored.



Flesh side of leather it is buffed and brushed.  Can be made from any of the leathers.  Has  the nap raised by a scraping process to bring up a fine velvety like finish.



Grain or smooth side of leather, buffed with an abrasive action giving a velvety surface finish.  Suede and nubuck are similar so we treat them in the same ways.

Care – To help look after suede and nubuck we must waterproof first.  By doing this You will prevent water and stain marks, making the shoe water repellent.  It is recommended to repeat this procedure every clean which should occur every seventh wear.

To remove dirt or stubborn marks from nhubuck or suede, use a leather stick or wire suede brush.  This will help nubuck retain its velvety appearance.

When a nubuck or suede shoe has been neglected or is really dirty you can use a suede/nubuck shampoo.  The whole shoe must be shampooed.  Firstly, wet the shoe all over.  Apply the shampoo or soap lightly onto the surface and using a soft shoe brush in a circular movement work in the shampoo,  then rinse well.  Let the shoe dry naturally, away from direct sunlight or heat.  When the shoe is dry, brush with a suede/nubuck brush then apply either water & stain protector or waterproofer.

When suede/Nubuck shoes need revitalising add colour or re dye the article.  Then waterproof and or stain protect.



Aniline Leathers treated with a clear aniline dye and wax finish to allow the colour and natural appearance to high grade shoes.


Semi Aniline

Transparent dyeing with additional fine spraying with pigment colour to equalise any irregularities.

Care – Aniline treated leathers need to be cleaned and conditioned as well have their colour restored.  The final treatment would be to water and stain protection of the leather.



The skins of other animals and reptiles are used in minor quantities.

Care – Reptile skin should be treated with specific reptile skin cleaner or should be related to the surface finish of aniline and semi aniline leather as described above.


Corrected Grain

Leather of inferior skin quality buffed and covered with thick coats of pigment and urethane to give a high shine.

Care – Liquid renovating polish and a polishing sponge can also be used to add shine.



Raised pattern printed on to full grain or nubuck leather.

Care – Full Grain: refer to the care products for nappa.
Nubuck: refer to care products for nubuck or use specially designed products for delicate leather treatments.


Glazed Finish

Leather surface that is polished to a high gloss finish.

Care – Refer to the suggested are treatment for corrected grain.



Coated Leather: a foil is pressed onto leather as in pewter, silver, gold and bronze.

Care – Metallic shoes do not like water and it is important to lightly waterproof the leather to make it water and stain resistant.  This procedure should be repeated regularly and to restore colour and rejuvenate use renovating polish.



Mainly calf skin, where oil is applied during manufacture.

Care – Water & Stain protector or just waterproofer with conditioner should be used.  A conditioner like leather dew or Zorbel should be used to re-oil.  Dubbin is also suitable buy may darken some leathers.


Oily Nubuck

The basic nubuck product with heavy oiling.

Care – Waterproofer or Water & Stain Protector.  Conditioner should be used to re oil the shoes.  (Do not buff footwear)  Use a suede and nubuck brush to lift pile.


Patent, Plastic, Prom Eric or “Wet Look” Uppers:

Patent Leather have a surface coating of PVC or Polyurethane to give a very high gloss finish.  The treatment is used for high fashion footwear, but has the disadvantage of reducing the ability of leather to breathe and release perspiration.

Care – Remove soiling by wiping with a damp cloth with a little glycerin soap.  To give added brightness apply patent dressing, quick shine.


Rubbed Leather

Leather that has been buffed with a sealing finish that give a natural rugged look.

Care – Water proofer or water & stain protector and clear conditioner to clean and condition.


Waxy Leather

A firmer burnished and polished leather, finished with waxes and protein.

Care – A Waxy oily & matte leather condition: renovating polish or shoe cream to restore colour:  Waterproofer or water & stain protector to waterproof.



The object  should be to build and maintain a continuous wax film over the shoe.  To achieve this a renovating polish, shoe cream or clear conditioner must be applied. Every 7th wear is a good philosophy to use and create the object of building and maintaining a continuous wax film.

  1. If only dusty or slightly dirty, clean with polishing cloth or by brush, by brushing  lightly, then apply clear conditioner or renovating polish as per instruction for Nappa Leather.
  2. If very dirty or muddy, remove lumps with a blunt knife, preferably as soon as shoes are taken off, then sponge down, using aminimum of water and saddle soap.  Wipe with a dry cloth.  Do not rub hard or gritty particles may damage the surface of the leather.
  3. When dry apply renovating polish or clear conditioner following any instructions given by the makers.


  • Renovation polish should match the colour of the shoes, a transparent neutral polish can also be used.
  • Remember however that excessive applications of polish or cream may change the shade of delicately coloured leathers.
  • It is most important that only good quality dressings made especially for footwear products are  used.
  1. Polish by brisk but gentle use of a soft brush or polishing cloth.  For a final polish use a soft clean cloth.  NOTE:  An accumulation of old polish may make shoes dark or shabby. They can be revived by the carful use of preparer, stripper of spot remover of removing grease spots.

White shoes with a smooth Leather Finish.

  • Normal dirt can be brushed off, but if necessary a minimum of water can be used with leather soap or shampoo.
  • Apply white shoe cleaners following the instructions given.

Heavy Leather Footwear.

For heavy walking and climbing footwear etc:
Dubbin can be applied to give extra water-proofing and flexibility.  It is best applied when the footwear is still wet, after use,  followed by a second application when the boots or shoes have dried out.  It is emphasised that the use of dubbin makes it very difficult subsequently to obtain a polished appearance.  It should also be noted the dubbin does NOT suit some leather, so in case of doubt advice should be obtained.



Such as linen, gro grain, canvas and satin are some of the textiles used in the manufacture of footwear uppers.
Care:   Water & Stain Protector or Water proofer to make the shoes water repellent.  This is important prior to the first wear.  When shoes become dirty use Fabric Shampoo or Glycerine Saddle Soap.


A natural product from the cork tree.
Care:   Cork Sealant for Birkenstock’s Water & Stain Protector to make shoes water repellent.  This is important prior to the first wear.

Polyurethane (PU):

A thin coating of polyurethane on a raised base gives an imitation leather appearance but is less durable than leather.
Care:   Clear Conditioner to clean and protect.

The service which shoes give and their appearance after months or years, depends very much on how they are looked after.  If shoes are cleaned REGULARLY the right way they will last longer look better, and keep their shape and resist water more effectively.

If shoes need drying, put them in a warm airy place,