Calf Leather and Cordovan Leather are exceptionally durable. However, you need to take care of your men’s calf leather and shell cordovan shoes! Read our guide to find the perfect polish.

Taking care of a leather shoe is not that difficult, you just need to follow the right steps and need to have the right tools with you. A good handcrafted shoe can last 10 years, but shoe care is key. Cleaning genuine calf leather shoes and cordovan shoes, especially if we talk about Made in Italy shoes, always conveys great anxiety: we are afraid of making a mistakes or of using some products that could damage them.

Let’s see how to proceed to clean mens cordovan shoes and calf leather shoes without making mistakes.

The steps to follow for shoe care are as follows:

  1. Remove laces to prevent getting polish on them. Fill your shoes with paper to have a firm surface. Take a soft dry horsehair brush to remove dust and dirt. Don’t forget to brush the welt, heel and any other hidden corners. 

2- Gently wipe the shoes off with a clean, soft and damp cloth. Dry completely away from heat for a couple of hours and moving air. Apply with circular motions a light haze of neutral cream or wax to moisturize the leather, even if this is not necessary. Make sure you spread the cream or wax evenly across the surface of shoe.

3- If the shoe has a uniform color (eg: it is all plain calf black) you can take a cloth and apply a wax polish, but make sure it is of the same color of the shoe. Use a toothbrush to polish the welt and the heel.

Very important tip: Don’t apply colored shoe polish to hand-colored leathers (eg: deco leathers, polished leathers): it will only make your leather shoes lose their original natural hand colored shades!

4- Allow the polish to dry for about 20 minutes. Once the shoes are completely dry, rub a dry and soft cloth over them and re-lace them. Once the polish dries perfectly, place cedar shoe trees in your shoes to maintain their shape between wearings.

Here are 6 tips to take care of your handmade leather shoes:

  • If they get wet, let them dry naturally. Don’t use hair dryers or other heat sources;
  • Mud and dust should be removed after each use;
  • NEVER machine wash;
  • Use the shoehorn to put on your shoes to prevent buttress bending;
  • Use specific products for cleaning;
  • If you only wear your dress shoes occasionally, shine them once a month or the night before you wear them.

How to remove oil stains from a leather shoe?

The worst stain is certainly the oil stain. It does not matter what type of oil it is, from olive oil to engine oil: the most important thing is to act quickly and through solutions capable of absorbing oils. Among the most effective solutions we recommend baking soda, cornstarch or talcum powder.

How do suede shoes get cleaned?

Due to its lightweight and tanning process, suede leather is a very delicate type of leather, therefore it requires a special care. Here’s a guide to clean suede shoes from various types of stains and some tip to take care of them. 

Suede leather tends to accumulate dust which over time can lead to the formation of some unsightly streaks. Therefore:

  • If suede shoes are discolored due to these streaks, gently remove them with a brush with rubber bristles
  • If suede shoes are ruined by time you can rely on the suede for shoes, use Fabric dye (eg: Dylon Suede). The spray format is very easy to use, just apply it on the shoe about 20 cm away.

How to remove oil stains on suede shoes?

Suede shoes, as mentioned before, are more delicate than calf leather ones, therefore their cleaning is different. 

First rule: never clean suede shoes with talcum powder (like we advised for calf leather shoes). 

Second Rule: don’t apply water on the stain. Suede leather is a porous skin which tends to absorb water: if you apply water on it, the stain will get  bigger. 

Third rule: to remove dirt, oil stains, grease, you should rub the area with a dry gum eraser until the stain is removed. Don’t worry if the area gets lighter after the rubbing. Then rub the the entire shoe with  the dry gum eraser to make a general cleaning. Once they are clean, spray a coat of suede protector spray on your shoes. This will help prevent further stains and marks. If you use a colored spray, make sure to choose the color closest to the suede leather. If you do not want to take risks, you can simply choose a neutral spray to give the shoe shine and protection. 

Do you still have doubts? Od you you simply want to get more tips to clean cordovan dress shoes and cordovan loafers? Contact the DIS team, we will be happy to give you more tips to take care of your leather shoes!