How to Care For Your Leather Sneakers - COMUNITYmade
How to Care For Your Leather Sneakers

How to Care For Your Leather Sneakers

by Sean Scott December 01, 2020

When you invest a lot of money in shoes, it stands to reason that you want them to last. In most cases, wiping them down when you get home and storing them in the closet until you are ready to use them again is sufficient. However, if you’ve invested in leather sneakers, a gentle wipe down will help but may not be enough to keep them looking like they did on the first day you’ve got them.

Because sneakers generally do the heavy lifting when it comes to footwear, knowing how to care for them is key to making sure they keep their appearance for longer than usual. Whether they are expected to brave the elements, or they are being used to navigate a busy shopping center, or you’re using them for a workout in the gym, you can expect that they will come home with more dirt and grime than any other pair of shoes you wear.

When you wear leather sneakers, you have to care for them differently than you would any other type of shoe. To keep them in good condition, it is important to know exactly how to care for leather shoes. Surprisingly enough, this starts from the moment you make your purchase. 

Buy the Right Size

Size is not just about comfort, there is another important reason why you need to purchase the right size. If you get a pair that is too small, the shoe will suffer from the stress of wearing them. Over time, the pressure from your feet will cause them to lose their shape. If you purchase the right size though, you cut back on a great deal of the wear and tear they would have to endure.

Avoid storing them on the floor of your closet. Instead, invest in a nice shoe tree so that they can keep their shape for longer. This will allow the shoe to contract and dry back into its natural shape. You can get one made of cedar, which can be very effective in absorbing moisture and reducing the offensive foot odor that often accompanies athletic shoes. 

How to Clean Them

To properly clean your leather sneakers, they will need to be thoroughly cleaned from time to time. Unlike other sneakers, it is not a good idea to drop them in your washing machine and give them a good soaking. If by some chance you are caught in a sudden downpour and your sneakers are soaked through and through, get home as soon as possible so you can start the drying process. One way to ruin a good pair of leather shoes is to expose them to too much water. If this happens too often, they will begin to deteriorate and will lose their shape.

Water causes the natural lubricants in the shoe to disperse, and when one part of the shoe loses its lubricant, it can dry out, become stiff, and eventually deteriorate into dust. Since you don’t want that to happen, here are a few suggestions that will help you to maintain them for a longer period of time:

  • Dry thoroughly with a clean cloth
  • Lean them against a wall – upside down
  • Stuff them with newspapers, which will help to draw out more of the moisture
  • Do NOT apply artificial heat (hair dryers, ovens, etc.) and keep them out of the sun

As for the cleaning, it will depend on the type of leather you own. If it is an unfinished leather (suede for example), these are more susceptible to certain types of cleaning treatments. Lighter colored leather could darken with some treatments, and discoloration of many leathers my result. 

Otherwise, take the following steps to ensure they are cleaned properly:

  • Brush off any surface dirt with a soft brush
  • Dip a slightly dampened cloth in white vinegar or mild dish soap and water to gently clean the shoes
  • Brush the vinegar or dish soap solution across the leather in thin and even layers
  • Dry off any excess with a separate cloth
  • Place shoes in a cool indoor area away from sunlight and heat

Every now and then, your leather sneakers will need to have an oily reconditioning. This will not only give them that shine that leather is known for, but it will also make them stronger and cover up the surface marks that you get from constant wear. The more often you give them an oil bath, the longer they will last. For suede sneakers, weatherproofing them every 2-3 months will keep them looking fresh - just follow the instructions on the packaging.

Caring for leather shoes does not necessarily mean it is a time consuming project, but it does require more attention than any other type of shoe. We buy leather shoes because we know they are strong and durable, but it will take just a little more effort to make sure they all stay that way.  For a great selection of suede and full grain leather shoes, you can visit that will be a great addition to your wardrobe.

Sean Scott
Sean Scott


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Find Your Perfect Size

We want to help make sure that your new shoes have the best fit possible.  

We have created a separate fit for men and women to provide the ultimate foot hugging comfort.  Our sockliner and upper materials will naturally mold to your foot and stretch out after a short period of time, so do allow for this when trying our shoes on initially.


 In general, our shoes are running closer to an everyday shoe fit vs. an athletic shoe fit and can be worn with or without socks - but the socks have to be eye catching for best results.


Any variances from this chart will be noted on each individual product page.