Caring for your shoes will not only preserve them, but will contribute to your overall “polish“. Different types of shoes require different types of care. Over the years, I’ve learnt a few tricks:

  • Tidy storage – putting shoes away neatly in your closet helps to maintain them. It’s when we fling them into a cupboard or forget about them outside that they suffer.
  • Leather – leather shoes are best waterproofed with a waxed leather protector and then polished from time to time. If you can’t find polish to match your shoe colour, opt for colourless shoe shine – this will also do the trick.
  • Suede – suede shoes are the most difficult to maintain. No matter what they tell you when you buy them, they will never look the same again despite what you do to them.  However, prevention is better then cure. Start off by spraying suede shoes with a suede protector. If they get scuffed after that, try rubbing the mark out with an eraser, or brushing it off with a relatively hard bristle brush. Never wear suede shoes in the rain – you will ruin them.
  • Canvas and vinyl – sneakers are easier to clean than you might expect. Wash the laces like you would launder your clothes. There are a variety of athletic shoe shampoos on the market these days that work really well. I’ve also found that scrubbing with washing detergent and a dishwashing brush works wonders too.
  • Metallic and patent – metallic and patent shoes will unfortunately not clean well. Soapy water works if the dirt is removable. Colourless shoe shine will work up to a point on metallic leather, but not as well as you would have hoped. I have been disappointed with gold sandals that I have not been able to maintain. However, it does take a lot for then to get scuffed in the first place.
  • Boots – long boots need to be kept upright. If you can’t find proper upright supporters, then rolled up newspaper secured with a few rubber bands will work just as well at a fraction of the price.
  • Odour – “tissue sheets” (scented tissue sheets that you pop into the dryer with your washing for extra sweet smelling laundry) will help eliminate shoes with unsavoury odours. Scrunch a scented sheet or two up and pop them into your shoes when you’re not wearing them. I recently received this tip from a friend – thank you Joey for sharing!
  • Share the wear – you need to have enough shoes in your closet to “share their wear”. The more we wear our shoes, the shabbier they become. This is especially a point to consider for gents and elderly people who often do not have enough shoes.    

If you give your shoes the attention that they deserve, there is no doubt that they will look nicer for longer.


Suede and leather care products from Kiwi (available at