Looking for a project?  With so many staying home and closet transitioning occurring as we speak, this is a great time to talk DIY leather care.  When I transition my closet from Winter to Spring I carefully box up boots and shoes I won’t wear during the Summer for storage.  I often send them to the cobbler for cleaning and polishing before boxing.  #CurrentlyClosed   My point? I lovingly care for my shoes as if they will be with me for a lifetime – because that is my plan for them.  And I want them looking gorgeous for every minute of that lifetime.  #GORGEOUS

Which brings me to today’s rant.

Today’s Rant

I spent six hours during my last conference annoyed by shoes (clearly this was awhile ago).

Boots actually.

One pair of boots.

These were not the boots but you get the idea …

The boots I saw were beautiful, brown, square toe boots.  And the wearer had great style.  She had paired them with black denim, a chevron print blazer and a bright pink blouse.  The look was nearly perfect.  #Nearly

The problem?  Those poor beautiful boots hadn’t been polished or cared for in years.  Years!!  The toes were worn to a light tan with cracks and sadness all over the vamp.  The heels were scuffed and creased.  #IWantedToCry

Invest in your shoes and they will love you for life.  Seriously.  Leather is meant to be loved (okay, conditioned and polished – but you get the idea).  You know those shoe polish stands at the airports or malls?  (When we could go to the malls and the airports).  Yeah, them.  Use them (when they are open again).  Or make friends with a cobbler and use them.  Or DIY.  It isn’t hard.  #SoEasy

Since my cobbler is currently closed, I am in the process of caring for my winter boots and packing them away.  Learn my process below.  Need some tips on Suede care too – check out this old Newsletter.

DIY Leather Care

I actually got a lesson from the Nordstrom cobbler not long ago.

Clean and Condition

Start by using a buffing brush to dislodge dirt from the shoe. If the shoes are very dirty use leather cleaner on them – otherwise, simply wipe the shoe using a soft, water-dampened cloth.  To the clean shoes, you’ll first apply a thin layer of leather conditioner using a soft cloth.  This keeps the leather soft and supple (here is the brand the Nordstrom cobbler recommended and what I use).  It might be tempting (especially if your shoes are very dry) to use a lot of conditioner but a little goes a long way.   Coat the shoes and then be sure to remove any excess.  Let the product absorb for 10-20 minutes.  Buff lightly to finish.


Next the shoes are ready for some polish.  (This kit has everything you need for black leather).  Shoe polish is going to restore the color and/or shine to the shoes. Note:  cream polishes are for color and wax polishes create shine.  Choose a color that closely matches your shoe and a fresh soft cloth (I use old T-shirts), then apply a bit of polish to the shoe in a circular motion. Just like with the leather conditioner, use the polish sparingly, especially when it comes to lighter colored leathers. Allow the polish to dry for 10-20 minutes.


The final step is to buff.  This is what makes them shine.  Brush the shoe vigorously using a brush, which will help to work the polish into the leather and remove any excess, as well as create a bit of a shine.  If you want super shiny shoes buff them again with a clean soft cloth.

It really is that easy.

So please people, for the love of beautiful shoes – care for them!!


I don’t rant very often but it does happen.  Curious what the topic of my last rant was?  Find it here.

Happy Shoesday!!