Care for Suede Shoes

The worst enemy of suede shoes is, without a doubt, water. Water can stain suede easily, and in the case of coloured fabrics it can be a permanent mark that makes the shoes worthless. This makes it a challenging fabric if you live somewhere where rain is common. To protect your new shoes you can buy suede protector sprays or creams from most shoe stores and even supermarkets. Those sprays are silicon based products that give your suede boots a degree of protection against water splashes. Keep in mind, though, that they won’t clean already stained fabrics, and most definitely they won’t make your new boots waterproof. Apply it on a well-ventilated place and leave it to dry overnight, as excess heat from a hairdryer or a radiator can also damage the shoes.

After applying the suede protection, your boots should be safe from watermarks but that doesn’t mean you can wear them on the snow or to walk under the rain. If your water dries on your suede boots you may be able to use a special suede brush to get it back to looking almost new. Those brushes are made of brass or steel, and you need to use them to brush carefully against the grain of the suede until the nap is restored. However, this won’t remove big watermarks, so prevention is definitely your best friend if you want to keep your suede boots looking new.

Suede boots come in a variety of colours, but those dyes are only surface deep. This means that using harsh chemicals or even shoe cleaning products that work with normal shoes is out of the question. If you find yourself with grease stain on your suede shoes, your best bet is to have them professionally cleaner. If you don’t want to spend money you may be able to buy an off-the-shelf dry cleaning product for suede from your local shoe store, but doing that to brightly coloured suede shoes can make the colour fade or become uneven. Do not try to clean suede boots with the same wet cleaning methods that you’d use for smooth leather, as suede needs to stay dry. If suede gets wet it will crack and become damaged. At most you can hold the shoes above a vapour source, like a boiling pan, and brush right afterwards with a suede brush in order to remove surface dirt, but by no means allow it to become wet.