There’s no doubt that leather shoes have stood the test of time. This style of footwear has stayed in trend for centuries due to its versatility and has been adapted with the times to suit every style that has come and gone.
The History of Leather Shoes
It’s impossible to say who invented leather shoes or when they were invented, but what we do know is that their first recorded use is during the upper Palaeolithic period in Armenia (approx. 10,000 – 50,000 years ago). They were made from wraparound leather, resembling sandals. The Assyrians (2500 BC – 6 BC) also chose this material for their footwear of choice and it has been used by almost every era in history since however its purpose transitioned from practicality to fashion around the 16th Century Baroque period in Europe. As civilisations progressed, as did the growth of producing leather footwear; primarily due to the accessibility of materials and the introduction of mass production.
The Benefits of Leather Shoes
There are so many reasons as to why leather shoes are good, and it’s no surprise that they have become so popular. Are leather shoes durable? Yes, undoubtedly so, and with a reputation of being long-lasting with the correct protection in place, and a longer lifespan than many man-made alternatives, you can be sure to get great value, from even a pricey pair! However, you have to be careful not to mistake synthetic leather for the real deal; as a leather shoe is a far better quality than a synthetic one, not just in terms of durability, but also for comfort, style and fit.
There are many other benefits to wearing leather shoes; here are a few to show you why they’re a great choice:
Breathability: With advancements in technology, they are now manufactured with features that allow your feet to breathe, perfect for those occasions where you find yourself in a pair for a long period of time.
Style: There’s a reason that this style of footwear has cemented its position as a top fashion option; so, whether you’re in a suit and tie, or jeans and a shirt, you can’t go wrong with a pair of men’s leather shoes. Or, if you’re in a smart dress, or jeans and a blouse, you’re sure to find a pair of women’s leather shoes to compliment your style.
Fit: One advantage that leather footwear has over other alternatives is that the nature of the material means that it will eventually mold to the shape of your foot. This means that they will actually get more comfortable the more you wear them!
Easy to clean: They are easy to maintain which means you can keep your favourite pair for a lot longer than many man-made styles of footwear. You can use either a specific leather cleaning product or rubbing alcohol on a rag for a quick clean, or for a more in-depth clean, read our tips below.
Protecting Leather Shoes
What makes leather shoes crack? What causes leather shoes to peel? What makes leather shoes soft? The answer to all of the above…failing to look after your footwear! The basics of protecting your shoes (including leather boots) are making sure you clean them regularly, this will prevent a build-up of dirt and other substances that can damage your shoes over time. Here’s the most effective way to clean your pair:
Remove the laces
Use a soft brush to remove dust and dirt
With your hand inside the shoe pressing against the surface, apply your selected choice of cleaning product & apply the cleaner to all of the visible leather using the same brush.
If you want to take your shoe care to the next level then here are a few more tips to help you protect your shoes:
Conditioning your shoes
This tip can help to repair cracked leather shoes and keep them from creasing. This is a very simple process, all you need to do is place conditioner on a cloth and rub onto all areas of the leather material. An extra tip for you, rub saddle soap into any cracks on the leather, using minimal amounts of water to help repair your shoes!
Polish your shoes
Once you have cleaned your shoes, wait 30 minutes, and then apply your chosen polish with a soft cloth covering the surface of the shoe. This will help prevent your shoe from flaking and cracking and can extend its life.
How to Stretch Leather Shoes
If you’ve ever bought a pair of shoes that looked perfect but weren’t quite the right size and wondered “how can I stretch out these leather shoes fast?”, then you’re in the right place; we have looked into the best methods to stretch your shoes and compiled a list of ways that you can do this at home:
For this simple solution, grab your thickest pair of socks and put your shoes on. Then, grab your hairdryer and apply heat to the areas of your foot that are feeling tight. This is a great trick to stretch your leather shoe width ways.
Freeze the shoes with a bag of water inside
Did you know that you can widen leather shoes with water? Fill a resealable bag with water and place it inside your shoes. Then, place your shoes in the freezer and leave them overnight; once you remove them in the morning and the ice has melted, you will have successfully stretched your shoe. Be careful not to overstretch your shoes though, test them first and gauge how much water you think you will need.
Use a shoe stretcher
This method requires you to use the shoe stretcher tool. You place this inside your shoe and crank it, this expands the tool both length and width ways. Make sure you are careful when using this tool, if you stretch the shoe too far it will be difficult (if not impossible) to regain its shape. This method can also be used for stretching out leather sandals.
How to Shine Leather Shoes
If your shoes are looking a bit dull and lacking that sparkle, and you’re not sure how to restore them back to their original beauty, let us show you what can make your leather shoes shine once again. The best way to do this is to grab the following items: good quality shoe brush, leather shoe polish, and a soft cloth. First, you will want to use the shoe brush to remove any debris on the surface, then apply a small amount of shoe polish onto the cloth and apply the polish gently to the leather in small circles. Then grab your brush again and remove any excess polish from the shoe. Finally, take your cloth and buff the rest of the leather; and that’s how to polish your shoes to a mirror shine!
If you’ve run out of shoe polish and don’t have time to grab some, don’t worry – here’s how to shine shoes without polish. Apply a small drop of oil (vegetable or olive) to a clean cloth and wipe down the leather, or alternatively, you can use the inside of a banana peel to bring back that shine (trust us, it works!).
So, there you have it, everything you need to know to maintain a pair of leather shoes. Remember, if you’re lucky enough to find the perfect pair, look after them! That way you can enjoy them for years to come.