The Ultimate Guide to Shoe Care and Maintenance


Shoes are not just accessories: they’re investments in comfort, style, and confidence.  

Whether you’re a sneakerhead, a fashion enthusiast, or someone who simply wants to make their footwear last, proper shoe care and maintenance are essential. Your shoes can last longer, look better, and even feel more comfortable if you follow a few key steps in their care.  

Why Shoe Care Matters 

Shoe care is not just about preserving appearances – it’s about maintaining the integrity of your footwear.  

Regular care can extend the life of your shoes, preventing premature wear and tear and helping you avoid the need for frequent replacements. Moreover, well-cared-for shoes look better and feel more comfortable, which can have a positive impact on your overall style and confidence. 

Cleaning Different Types of Shoes 

Each type of shoe material requires a specific cleaning approach: 

  • Sneakers: Remove dirt and stains gently with a soft brush and a mixture of mild soap and water. Be cautious with abrasive materials to avoid damaging delicate fabrics. 
  • Leather Shoes: Clean with a damp cloth to remove dirt and dust, then apply a leather conditioner to keep the leather soft and supple. 
  • Suede: Use a suede brush to remove dirt and stains, and consider using a waterproofing spray to protect against moisture. 
  • Canvas: Hand-wash with a mild detergent or use a soft brush to scrub away dirt. Avoid machine washing, as it can damage the shoes’ structure. 
  • Athletic Shoes: Remove the insoles and laces, then hand wash or machine wash them on a gentle cycle. Air dry to prevent deformation. 

Maintaining Shoe Shape 

To preserve the shape of your shoes: 

  • Using Shoe Trees: Insert cedar or plastic shoe trees to maintain the shoe’s natural form and absorb moisture. 
  • Avoiding Overuse: Rotate your shoes to allow them to breathe and recover between wears. This prevents excessive wear on specific areas and extends their lifespan. 

Protecting Against the Elements 

  • Waterproofing: Apply a waterproof spray to leather, suede, and fabric shoes to shield them from rain and spills. 
  • Dealing with Salt and Stains: Wipe off salt stains promptly with a mixture of water and vinegar. For stubborn stains, consult a professional cleaner. 

Storage Solutions 

  • Shoe Racks: Keep your shoes organized and off the floor to prevent dirt and damage. 
  • Proper Storage Techniques: Store your shoes in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight. Consider using dust bags for extra protection. 

Repair and Restoration 

  • DIY Fixes: Repair scuffs and scratches with appropriate shoe polish or markers. Glue loose soles and stitching if necessary. 
  • Professional Cobblers: For extensive damage or intricate repairs, consult a professional cobbler to ensure proper restoration. 

Choosing the Right Shoe Care Products 

Not all shoe care products are created equal, and choosing the right products for your specific shoe materials can make a significant difference in the longevity and appearance of your footwear: 

  • Polishes and Conditioners: For leather shoes, select high-quality leather polishes and conditioners that match the colour of your shoes. These products not only restore shine but also replenish natural oils, preventing leather from becoming dry and cracked. 
  • Suede Brushes and Erasers: Invest in a suede brush with soft bristles to remove dirt and restore the nap of suede shoes. Suede erasers can also be used to gently rub away stains and scuffs. 
  • Waterproof Sprays: Look for reputable waterproof sprays designed for various shoe materials. These sprays create a protective barrier against moisture, extending the life of your shoes and preventing water damage. 

Elevating Your Shoe Care Routine 

Taking your shoe care routine to the next level can yield remarkable results: 

  • Regular Cleaning Schedule: Establish a routine for cleaning your shoes after each wear, especially if they’ve been exposed to dirt, dust, or moisture. 
  • Deep Cleaning: Periodically, give your shoes a more thorough cleaning. Remove laces, insoles, and inserts, and clean them separately. Use a soft brush and appropriate cleaners for each shoe material. 
  • Polishing and Buffing: Polish your leather shoes to maintain their shine and suppleness. Buff them with a clean, soft cloth to achieve a polished finish. 
  • Seasonal Checkups: Before each season, inspect your shoes for any damage, loose stitching, or worn-out soles. Addressing these issues promptly can prevent further deterioration. 
  • Professional Maintenance: Consider a professional cleaning and maintenance service for your most cherished shoes. Cobblers can perform intricate repairs and restorations that you might not be able to achieve at home. 

How Often Should I Clean My Shoes?  

The frequency of shoe cleaning is influenced by various factors including how often you wear them and the environments they’re exposed to.  

For casual wear, a general rule is to wipe down or brush your shoes after every use. This prevents dirt and dust from accumulating and makes deeper cleaning sessions less frequent. As for thorough cleaning, aim for every few weeks or when you notice visible dirt buildup. High-quality leather shoes might require more meticulous attention. 

Can I Use the Same Products on Different Shoe Materials?  

It’s essential to use products that are formulated specifically for the material of your shoes.  

Leather, suede, canvas, and other materials each have distinct properties and care needs, and using the wrong product can result in damage, discolouration, or altered texture. Always check the labels on your shoe care products to ensure they are suitable for the material you are treating. Investing in material-specific products might seem like an added expense, but it ultimately preserves the integrity and appearance of your shoes in the long run. 

Are Shoe Repair Kits a Good Idea for DIY Fixes?  

Shoe repair kits can be valuable for minor fixes and quick touch-ups, as they often include adhesives for reattaching loose soles, patches for covering scuffs, and tools for minor stitching repairs. However, their effectiveness depends on the complexity of your issue and the quality of the kit.  

For more intricate repairs, such as extensive sole replacement or complex stitching, it’s advisable to consult a professional cobbler. A cobbler has the expertise and experience to ensure the repair is done correctly, preventing further damage and extending the shoe’s life. 

How Can I Prevent Shoes from Smelling Bad?  

Combatting unpleasant shoe odours requires a proactive approach.  

Start by rotating between multiple pairs of shoes to allow each pair to air out between wears. Moisture is a breeding ground for odours, so consider using moisture-wicking insoles that help keep your feet dry.  

For added prevention, place odour-absorbing products such as baking soda or cedar shoe inserts inside your shoes when they are not in use. These natural solutions can effectively neutralize odours and keep your shoes smelling fresh. Additionally, always make sure your shoes are completely dry before storing them, as dampness can contribute to odour development. 

Can I Use a Washing Machine To Clean My Shoes?  

While some modern sneakers and canvas shoes are designed to withstand machine washing, it’s generally not recommended for most types of shoes, as machine washing can damage the shoe’s structure, adhesives, and materials. Instead, opt for hand-cleaning methods using appropriate products and techniques based on the shoe’s material.  

Always refer to the manufacturer’s care instructions before attempting to machine wash your shoes. 

At Walking on a Cloud, we understand the value of well-maintained shoes. Our commitment to quality and comfort is reflected in our wide range of footwear options. From stylish leather shoes to supportive athletic sneakers, our collection is designed to provide both style and function. By investing in shoes from Walking on a Cloud, you’re already on the right track to long-lasting footwear. 

At the end of the day, your shoes are a reflection of your personal style, and deserve the best care possible. Proper shoe care and maintenance can save you money, enhance your appearance, and keep you feeling comfortable all day long. By following the tips outlined in this guide, you’ll be well-equipped to take care of your shoes and make them last for years to come. Remember, a little effort goes a long way in preserving your beloved footwear. 

Ready to step up your shoe game? Explore Walking on a Cloud’s exquisite collection and experience the difference that quality footwear can make. Whether you’re into classic leather shoes or high-performance sneakers we have something for everyone. Visit our website and start your journey towards well-cared-for, comfortable, and stylish shoes today. Your feet will thank you!