How to Protect Your Suede Boots

Eek! The forecast said sunny and 65, so you thought it perfect to break out your suede boots. But, of course, the weather turned sour- and you got caught in a flash downpour. Now those boots are soaked. Are they ruined? Of course not. We're here to help. 

In this article, we're going to show you how to protect your suede kicks, and what to do if they get dirty or wet. 

What is Suede, Anyway? 

Before we talk about how to clean it, let's review what suede actually is. Smooth leather is on the outside of an animal's hide. Suede is the reverse side of an animal's hide, or side closest to the flesh. While both suede and smooth leather are tanned and treated, suede is rubbed to give it a fuzzy, napped finish. 

Goat (kid) or deer suede are most commonly used for gloves, bags, and shoes. Here at Idrese, we offer both a fine, short-napped kid suede and an extra nappy lux suede on all of our custom shoes.  Have a look over at our designer to see what you can make!

With that out of the way, here are three ways to keep your shoes looking their best. 

Prevention First

The best way to protect your shoes is to create a barrier between them and the elements. This means investing in a quality suede spray, like this one from Jason Markk

Hold the can 10-12 inches away from your shoe and gently spray. The idea is spraying the product from up above allows for wider, more even coverage-using less product. 

The product gently settles on your shoes and creates an impervious "membrane" between the leather and rain, sleet, hot sauce, or whatever else may fall on them. 

My Suede Shoes Got Dirty. Now What?

So, you took your suede shoes to that outdoor summer music festival. It's dry, there's dust and mud everywhere. Of course, it's all over your shoes. How to get it off? 

Here, we'd recommend a suede brush. Ideally, you'd get a multi-tool like this one. But, if you're really in a pinch, an unused toothbrush will work well too. 

Shacke Suede & Nubuck 4-Way Leather Brush Cleaner

Before starting, we'd recommend allowing any mud to dry completely. It'll be easier to remove, and less a chance of you pushing any moisture into the nap of the upper. 

Then, use your brush to gently scrub in the direction of the nap until the dirt has gone from the shoe. Once it's gone, you can apply the suede protectant (that you should have done before going to the festival!) to prevent future damage. 

If the dirt residue still lingers, you can safety moisten the shoes with a little steam. Then, dab them with a cloth wet with some distilled white vinegar. Once you've done that, allow it briefly to dry and then repeat the brushing process. 

My Suede Shoes Got Soaked. Now What?!

If you find yourself with drenched shoes after a downpour, you can still salvage them in a few simple steps. Speed is key, though. 

First, use an absorbent cloth or paper towel to mop up as much moisture as possible from the inside of your shoe. This will prevent mold from forming.Then, insert some shoe trees (ideally) or a few more wads of paper towel. This will help your shoes keep their shape. 

Second, gently dab the upper of the shoe to remove as much moisture as possible. It's vital your shoes are dry!  

Third, run a cool hairdryer over the shoes to continue to remove moisture. If you don't have one, fanning with a book or piece of paper works just fine. 

Fourth, brush vigorously (but lightly) across the upper. It's okay to go back and forth a few times here, but do generally try to stay in the direction of the nap. 

Fifth, once you've dried and brush, apply the protectant we've recommended above. 

Wrapping Up

Ideally, you'll have looked at the forecast and chosen some of our other shoes for the days with snow, sleet and rain. 

But, if you must, we'd certainly recommend preventing damage by applying suede protectant. 

If your shoes end up with mud and dirt on them, allow to dry and then brush gently. 

If they are wet, act quickly to soak up as much moisture as possible and use shoe trees or paper towels to help the footwear retain shape. 

Thanks for reading, and we hope you found this useful. 

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