How to Care for Suede Shoes or Products?

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Love suede but hate the mould that grows on it over time? In this post, I’ll be sharing about how you can prolong the life of your suede shoes with proper care tips!

I love the luxurious texture of suede – especially high quality suede but I must admit Suede is relatively higher maintenance compared to full grain leather. To know how to care for our suede products, first we must understand more about this material.

What is Suede?

Suede is the underside of an animal’s skin i.e. the inner part directly on top of the flesh. It can come from a variety of animals – cows, goats, sheep, calves (baby of cow), kid (baby of goat), lamb (baby of sheep) and so on.

Because suede is the underside of the skin, the uneven and more porous texture of the material makes it easier for mould and mildew to cling onto.

The most luxurious type of suede is the kid suede and is most commonly used in women’s gloves because of its softness.

How to Care for Suede?

  1. Use a suede brush to brush off any dirt and stains

Use a specific suede brush instead of a normal garment brush. The bristles of a suede brush are stiffer than a normal garment brush and would be able to remove the stains better. Do avoid any wire bristled brushes too as this may scratch and ruin your suede shoes.

If the shoe is muddy, let the mud dry on the shoe first before brushing off the dirt.

Suede brush from Timberland

2. Remove any moisture near the shoes

Suede hates dampness! Any moisture in the air or on the shoe itself would speed up the process of mould and mildew growing on it. Especially in a country like Singapore where it is highly humid, all the more you will need to air your shoes after use (before putting them back in the shoe cabinet) and also use a dehumidifier in your shoe cabinet.

Image result for thirsty hippo singapore
One of my favourite, highly effective dehumidifiers. Sold at most supermarkets and online too

Sweat that comes from our foot may also attract mould and mildew to grow so use desiccants in the shoes itself or shoe trees to maintain not just the shape but also to soak up any moisture left behind from our foot.

shoetree
Shoe trees for flat shoes can be bought at Shoe Tree Singapore. So far I haven’t found shoe trees for heels yet. Do let me know if you come across one!

3. Waterproof your shoes by using a protective spray or beeswax

Since suede hates water so much, one trick could be to waterproof your shoes by using a protective spray or beeswax. These sprays repel water and oil from suede and are not supposed to alter the softness and feeling of the suede material. Try to spray as evenly as possible and not soak any one area too much.

Suede & Nubuck Protector from 3M. Sold on Lazada here
Kiwi Suede Protector, 4.25 Oz.
Kiwi Suede Protector can be bought online here

Alternatively, a cheaper and more DIY way is to apply beeswax and melt it on with a hairdryer. DO NOT use the hairdryer directly on the suede – this will spoil the leather. Always cover the leather with a piece of cloth and use the hairdryer on top. Do note using a layer of beeswax on your shoe might cause the suede to be stiffer because of the protective layer.

Always do a patch test on an inconspicuous part of your shoe first just to make sure the product you use does not discolour your shoe! You definitely wanna make sure your Louboutins or Ferragamos still look the same after the protective layer 😉

My recommendation is to just try and avoid water as much as possible – if it rains, wait at a nearby cafe and grab a coffee before heading out again and do everything you can to avoid puddles!

BUT WHAT IF IT WAS RAINING SO HEAVILY AND YOU JUST COULDN’T AVOID IT?

4. Always allow wet suede shoes to air dry naturally

When suede is wet, it becomes very prone to damage. You absolutely want to avoid wiping, rubbing or brushing your suede shoes during this time.

You can blot the surface of the shoe with some soft tissue. Also, scrunch up some old newspaper  and stuff them to the inside of the shoe. Then, allow the suede shoe to AIR DRY naturally before scrubbing off any dirt with your suede brush. Simple!

I hope you found this post useful. With these tips, you’ll still be able to buy those lovely suede shoes and still keep them looking fresh for a long time! 🙂

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