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A shoe in: 5 tips to care for suede shoes

Caring for leather is a pain, especially when it is suede. One wrong step into a puddle, or complete sh*t luck and being caught in a storm in your suede kicks, and all hope and money seems painfully lost. There are also a ton of other environmental factors to consider when wearing and storing suede too, such as humidity, light intensity, and whether that three year-old with a sippy cup next to you is going to dump his dinner on your feet.

But suede is gorgeous. They’re the perfect fall shoes — just on the right side of preppy without coming across as too dressy, and are far easier to wear than velvet. They’ve even got Elvis Presley’s stamp of approval.

If you’re caught in the middle of this sartorial balancing act, keep the skin’s bad rep for being high maintenance at the back of your head. All you really need to do is to follow these simple care tips, and you’re good to flaunt your license to suede out the door and be safe from catastrophe, except when it comes to wine or blood stains (um…?). Only a cobbler can save you there.

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Get suede protection spray

Think of suede protection spray as Beowulf’s armour for your feet. While suede protection spray may not be able to ward off monsters, they’ll do wonders for keeping water out of infiltrating the especially-porous leather. There’s no such thing as spraying too much either as a good quality spray will not seal the pores of your shoes and damage the leather.

Photo credit: Fashion Beans

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Brush it out

Full suede shoes need to be brushed to remove dirt. The longer the suede, the softer the bristles should be. Dirt and dust tends to harden and create permanent blemishes on the surface of your shoes, so make the effort to brush your shoes on the regular to avoid such heartaches.

Photo credit: Jason Markk

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Storage tips

Keep suede away from sunlight, as that causes fading. Ideally, have them in a cool, dry place and avoid keeping them in airtight containers. Suede needs to breathe, so if you fear them suffering from contact damage with your other shoes, store them in a pillowcase or muslin bag.

Photo credit: Hanger Project

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Invest in a suede block

For heavier stains, try suede blocks. Use them like an eraser and rub away at the stain (with restraint, since suede is rather temperamental) until the stain is gone. If your suede shoes are made of nubuck leather, you can even opt for low-grain sandpaper.

Photo credit: Feit Design

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Never try to one up nature

With all your newly acquired suede care knowledge, it might be tempting to render your suede shoes invincible. That, unfortunately will never be the case. While sprays and regular care retains the integrity of your shoes, it’s never worth it to wear them out in a storm, no matter how much they complement your outfit that day.

Photo credit: DetraPel

Beatrice Bowers
Features Editor
Beatrice Bowers writes about beauty, drinks, and other nice things. When not bound to her keyboard, she moonlights as a Niffler for novels and can be found en route to bankruptcy at your nearest bookstore. Don't tell her boss.
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