How to Keep Leather Shoes From Cracking - Easy to Follow Guide
Cracking is common in all leather goods, from bags, furniture, and wallets to leather boots. This natural material requires extra care to maintain its quality and prolong its lifespan.
Unlike suede shoes, leather shoes are prone to crease and scuff, which can lead to cracked leather if not adequately cared for. In fact, even the most minor scuffs can escalate into significant cracks over time, drastically diminishing the aesthetic appeal and durability of your shoes.
Thus, understanding how to keep your leather boots from cracking is essential.
Here, we'll specifically focus on leather shoes, providing a comprehensive guide on preventive measures to help you guard against cracking and ensure your footwear remains in top-notch condition.
What Causes Leather Shoes to Crack?
Before we go into the specifics of preventive measures, let's first understand the reasons behind the cracking of leather shoes. Leather, being animal skin by nature, tends to dry out and becomes susceptible to cracking much like our own skin.
When the surface of your leather shoes becomes dry, the densely packed fibres near the surface start to change and lose their elasticity, leading to visible cracks.
Several factors can contribute to this:
- Exposure to Rain: Leather shoes are not designed to endure excess moisture, which can seep into the fibres and cause them to expand. Over time, this can lead to the creation of cracks.
- Lack of Proper Care: Leather shoes require consistent cleaning and conditioning. Dirt and grime can settle into the creases, causing damage over time.
- Improper Storage: If you don't store leather shoes properly, it can lead to them drying out, especially if kept near heat sources.
- Frequent Wear: Work boots that are often worn in harsh conditions are more prone to cracking due to stress on the leather.
- Direct Damage: Leather cracks can also be due to direct damage, like scratches or cuts.
In order to extend the lifespan of your leather shoes and maintain their aesthetic appeal, regular and correct shoe care is essential.
You may want to check out Stone and Clark's Leather Shone Shine Kit which comes with leather conditioners and applicators to help protect your shoes from cracking while giving your footwear shine and proper care.
4 Different Ways to Protect Leather Shoes from Cracking
Now that we've discussed the causes of leather shoes cracking, it's time to delve into preventive measures.
Here are four effective ways to keep your leather shoes looking like new:
Clean your shoes regularly
As cliche as it may sound, the saying "prevention is better than cure" holds true even when it comes to the care of your favorite pair of shoes.
Cleaning your shoes regularly with a specific leather cleaner like saddle soap can make a significant difference. This product is designed to keep the leather hydrated and supple, helping to prevent cracking.
Saddle soap efficiently removes dirt, grime, and sweat while also conditioning the leather, ensuring it remains soft and flexible. By incorporating this into your shoe care routine, you can significantly extend the lifespan of your footwear, keeping that favorite pair looking pristine and polished for years to come.
Condition the leather
Just like our skin, leather shoes require moisturization to maintain their quality and sturdiness. Conditioning should be included in your leather care routine, particularly to prevent dryness and cracking. Conditioning agents, such as shoe cream and polish, are used for this purpose. It is recommended to condition your shoes every month, or whenever the leather starts looking dry or dull.
To condition your shoes, first, get your pair of leather shoes and apply a small amount of conditioner on a soft cloth, then gently rub it over the leather in circular motions, ensuring an even coat. Remember, the conditioner should not be used on patent leather as it can dull its shiny finish.
The conditioner permeates deep into the leather, replenishing the natural oils and keeping the fibers supple and resilient.
After conditioning, apply a layer of shoe cream and polish to give your shoes a shiny finish, and more importantly, to create a protective layer over the leather, shielding it from water, dirt, and other damaging factors.
Apply Oils and Waxes
Using oils and waxes can be incredibly beneficial for your leather footwear, particularly when it comes to preventing cracking. One of the most popular oils used for leather care is mink oil.
Mink oil has the capacity to penetrate deep into the leather, providing much-needed hydration, and effectively keeping your smooth leather shoes supple and crack-free. However, be careful as mink oil can darken some types of leather.
To apply mink oil, start by cleaning your pair of leather boots with a small amount of saddle soap and a clean cloth. Once your boots are clean and dry, take a small amount of mink oil and gently rub it into the leather, ensuring you cover all areas. This will help prevent any further cracking and maintain the boots' suppleness.
In cases where you already have cracked leather boots, a leather filler might be necessary. A leather filler can help mask the cracks and restore your boots' original appearance. Apply the filler using a clean cloth, filling in the cracked areas. After the filler has dried, feel free to reapply your mink oil or wax to ensure continued protection.
Store Your Leather Shoes Properly
Not only are leather shoes expensive, but they also hold an aesthetic appeal that makes them a cherished asset in our wardrobe. Proper storage of these shoes is vital to maintain their quality and longevity. Regardless of whether you're storing genuine leather or faux leather, there are some useful guidelines to follow.
One way to keep your boots from cracking is to store boots and shoes in a cool, dry place where they are protected from harsh elements. Leather needs an environment that is free from moisture, heat, and direct sunlight, all of which can significantly speed up the drying and cracking process.
Consider investing in a shoe rack or individual shoeboxes for optimal storage. These not only organize your footwear but also prevent the leather from being squashed or distorted, which could lead to creases and cracks.
For longer storage periods, you might want to stuff your boots with newspaper or shoe trees to help maintain their shape. Applying a good leather conditioner before storing the shoes can also help prevent cracking as the conditioner keeps the leather hydrated.
Lastly, never store dirty shoes. Always clean and dry your shoes before storing them, to avoid stains setting in and prevent leather cracking.
From leather Jordan shoes to designer brands like Gucci and Prada, all leather footwear needs a little extra love and care to maintain its quality and keep it from cracking. With these preventive measures, you can confidently rock your favorite pair of shoes without worrying about cracks, creases, or dullness.
Also, make sure to invest in a water & stain repel spray to protect your shoes from any external elements that could damage the leather.
Stone and Clark offers all-natural leather spray to keep your leather shoes waterproof, stain-resistant, and looking like new.
With proper leather shoe care, you can protect your leather shoes and boots from cracking, ensuring they remain in pristine condition for years to come.