How to Care for Suede Shoes - It's Surprisingly Easy

how to care for suede shoes

Unlike canvas or leather shoes, suede shoes and boots require a more exceptional level of care to keep them looking fresh and new. This guide to caring for your suede shoes will help you prevent nubuck scuffs, which can drastically shorten your shoes' lifespan.

One essential tool for maintaining suede footwear is a suede protector spray, a product specifically designed to keep your shoes looking their best. By following some simple steps and using the right products, you can prolong the life of your suede shoes and keep them looking as good as new.

Let's take a look at some tips for caring for suede shoes.

What You Need to Get Started

Invest in a Quality Suede Brush

crepe brush Stone and Clark

Get your crepe brush here!

A simple cloth is not enough when you clean suede shoes. This is where the crepe brush or suede brush comes into the picture. These brushes are specifically designed for handling suede's delicate fabric, helping to maintain its unique texture while removing dirt and debris.

It's crucial to brush your shoes regularly, ideally after each wear, to ensure they stay pristine.

A quality suede brush will not only help remove surface dirt but also restore the nap of the suede, giving it a refreshed look.

Use a Suede Eraser to Remove Stains

Stains are inevitable, especially when it comes to suede shoes. The good news is that most stains can be removed using a suede eraser, which is essentially a block of rubber designed for this exact purpose. To remove a stain, gently rub the eraser over the affected area in a circular motion while applying moderate pressure.

Once the stain is gone, use a soft cloth to brush off any remaining eraser bits. It is recommended to use an eraser specifically designed for suede shoes as it will be gentler on the fabric and less likely to cause damage.

Most cheap erasers are made with harsher materials, which can damage the delicate nap of suede. So make sure to look for a quality eraser as you don't want to spend more on repairing any damage caused by a cheap eraser.

Protect Your Shoes with Waterproof Spray

waterproof shoe spray

Get your waterproof spray here!

Another must-have in your suede shoe care kit is a water and stain-repellant spray. Working together with your suede cleaner, this spray plays an integral role in the care and attention of your footwear.

Unlike standard leather, the fibrous structure of suede can easily get wet and absorb stains. This is due to the velvety texture that comes from the upper layer of the leather being treated to produce a nap.

A water and stain-repellant spray acts as a protectant for this layer. After cleaning your shoes, spray them evenly with the protectant and let them dry naturally. 

The spray will create an invisible layer that repels water and stains, ensuring your suede shoes maintain their fresh, new look for longer.

Read related article: How to Waterproof Suede Shoes - Easy-to-Follow Guide

Use Shoe Trees to Maintain Shape

Use Shoe Trees to Maintain Shape

To properly take care of your suede shoes, it's imperative to maintain their shape. This is where wooden shoe trees come into play.

Wooden shoe trees are a staple in every shoemaker's arsenal and a must-have for anyone who regularly wears suede shoes.

What happens when you wear suede shoes and they happen to deform? The shoe loses its original form and will not fit properly, leading to uncomfortable wear and tear on the shoe.

Wooden shoe trees are designed to be inserted into your shoes when they're not being worn. They help to absorb moisture and ward off bad odors, and most importantly, they're excellent in keeping your suede shoes in shape. The shoe trees preserve the shape of your shoes, preventing creases and wrinkles from forming especially after extensive use.

Avoid Using Your Suede Shoes During a Wet Day

Avoid Using Your Suede Shoes During a Wet Day

Lastly, it's crucial to remember that suede is a very delicate material. The unique texture that we love so much in a new pair of suede boots comes from the treatment of the leather's upper layer to produce a nap, revealing the inner fibres.

This process makes suede softer and more pliable than standard leather, but it also makes it more susceptible to water damage. Therefore, it's best to avoid using your suede shoes during a wet day. Instead, reserve them for dry days to preserve their unique texture and prolong their lifespan.

Useful Tips When Cleaning Your Suede Shoes

Read related article: Suede Shoes Cleaning Tips

Here are some additional tips to keep in mind when caring for your suede shoes:

Test on a Small Area First

Before you use any new cleaning product or tool on your suede shoes, it's crucial to test on a small, inconspicuous area first. Some suede cleaners or brushes might be too harsh or cause discoloration. Testing in a small area will minimize the risk of ruining your shoes.

Regular Cleaning is Key

Every time you clean your suede shoes, ensure you use a suede brush to remove dirt and debris. But remember, when you brush the suede, do so gently and in one direction to maintain the nap's smooth texture.

Look at What Suede Really Is

To care for your shoes properly, it's helpful to look at what suede is. Understanding that it's a delicate material made from the underside of animal skin will remind you to handle it gently and with care.

Brush and Gently Clean Your Suede Shoes

Use a specialized suede brush to brush and gently clean your shoes. This helps to lift the nap and remove any surface dirt. If there are stains or spots, use a suede eraser to clean them away gently.

Keep Your Suede Shoes Away From Heat and Direct Sunlight

Suede can be damaged by excessive heat and prolonged exposure to direct sunlight. Always allow your shoes to dry naturally, away from heat sources like radiators or heaters. Drying suede too quickly can cause it to become stiff and crack, which could shorten its lifespan.

Proper Care Equals Years of Wear

With appropriate care and attention, your suede shoes can provide years of wear. The key is regular, gentle cleaning, and using the right products. By following this guide, you'll be able to maintain the look and feel of your suede shoes for many seasons to come.

Closing Thoughts

Brush away your worries about maintaining your suede shoes with these easy, helpful tips. With a little bit of effort and care, you can keep your suede shoes looking fresh and new for years to come.

Remember to use the right products, protect them from water and sunlight, and invest in shoe trees to maintain their shape. Your feet will thank you for it!

12PC Leather Shoe Shine & Care Kit for Men & Women

3.5 oz Mink Oil Leather Care Kit with Applicator

Subscribe Us
Subscribe to our newsletter and receive a selection of cool articles every weeks