The best way to care for a pair of leather shoes is to keep them polished and give them ample rest. Polish protects the leather from water and from scuffing. To clean leather, use a cream to lift the dirt and then follow with a wax to protect and polish the shoe.
Many men buy new shoes and are so eager to wear them that they forget to rub on a first coat of polish. This pre- conditioning of the leather will increase the shoe’s resistance to dirt and water and is perhaps the most important first step in preventative maintenance.
Leather absorbs moisture. This is what allows it to stretch and why it is so important for shoes to be given time to rest. Never wear a pair of shoes for more than one day at a time. Leather breathes like cotton or wool. It needs at least a day or two to dry out, in order to release trapped moisture (if your shoes do get wet, be sure and keep them away from sources of excessive heat, such as a radiator), and to return to its original shape. By alternating shoes and keeping shoe trees in them, there is no limit on the years they can last. But if shoes are worn day after day and especially if they have not been adequately polished, the skin becomes moldy and attenuated until finally the suppleness disappears and the leather begins to crack. Leather is a skin. Treat it with the same respect and care you give your own.
If you have suede shoes, they can best be cleaned with a suede brush or artist’s gum eraser. However, you should be careful not to over-rub, as this will destroy the nap of the suede.
It is best to keep shoes in constant repair. Worn heels will throw one’s whole body out of alignment and cause the shoe to stretch out of shape. Shoes should be reheeled and resoled as soon as this appears to be required.