How to Care for Suede Shoes

Guides & Information

The common myth is that suede shoes are notoriously difficult to keep looking their best. However, don’t be put off as this really isn’t the case; whether it’s a new pair or you need to rejuvenate an old, at Cheaney, we’ve created a definitive guide on how to care for and protect suede shoes to ensure they remain in excellent condition for many more years of wear.

How to clean suede shoes

Whether it’s mud, rain damage or scuff marks, suede shoes can be susceptible to damage just like any other raw material. But knowing how to clean suede is essential to keeping them in good condition and we have a list (because who doesn’t love a list?!) of tools and tricks to guide you.

A suede brush

Investing in a good quality suede brush is one of the most important tools when it comes to how to cleaning suede shoes effectively, as it is excellent for brushing off dried stains such as mud. Ensuring your shoes are completely dry, use your suede brush to gently brush away the dirt and grime in small motions with a light hand. If necessary, brush against the nap of the suede but always finish brushing in the direction the natural grain to maintain its smooth finish.

Suede Eraser

For hard-to-tackle stains such as watermarks, oil and grease, a suede eraser can be an effective spot-cleaning tool. Simply rub the eraser as you would a standard one on any marks, making sure to only use a moderate amount of pressure.

Suede Cleaner

If brushing and spot-cleaning your suede shoes hasn’t worked, the next step is to use a suede cleaner

Suede cleaner works like a shampoo to remove any tough stains. After brushing your shoes down, sponge them with a slightly damp cloth before spraying your suede cleaner from a distance of at least 20cm. Then, use your suede brush to very gently rub the product into your shoes and wipe them down again with a cloth. When your shoes are dry, brush them in the direction of the grain in order to smooth out the nap.

Remember, whatever your method of cleaning, never heat your suede shoes, as this will damage the material. Always allow them to dry naturally and brush the suede down to keep them looking smooth.

**Please note before using any Suede cleaner we recommend you try it on a small part of the material first, allow it to dry and if all ok apply to the rest of the upper**

Garforth EF | Chukka Boot in Bitter Chocolate Calf Suede

How to protect suede shoes

Now you know how to clean suede shoes, how do you prevent future damage? When it comes to how to protect suede shoes, there are a couple of simple and effective methods.

Suede protector

The number one way to protect suede shoes is to preempt any daily wear and tear they will encounter and cover the uppers with a high-quality suede protector. As soon as you invest in a pair of new suede shoes, treat them with a waterproof protective spray before wearing them outside. This will act as a barrier against rain, puddle splashes and mud, will help prevent the colour from fading and reduce the chances of staining.
**Please note before using a Suede protector we recommend you try it on a small part of the suede first, allow it to dry and if all ok apply to the rest of the upper **

Avoid wet weather

Although suede has a seasonal aesthetic and works brilliantly paired with autumn and winter attire, the easiest way to protect your suede boots and shoes from stains is to avoid wearing them on days when you are likely to come into contact with wet weather conditions such as rain and snow.

Use Shoe Trees. 

As soon as you take your shoes off, place shoe trees snugly inside them to help maintain their shape and prevent the suede wrinkling. Wooden shoe trees made from cedar will also help to eliminate odour from perspiration and soak up any residual moisture in the suede. 

Cedar Wood Shoe Tree 

How to store suede shoes

Finally, the last factor in caring for your suede shoes is knowing how to store them and there are a few golden rules to abide by:

  1. Always keep them out of direct sunlight to avoid fading.
  2. Keep them away from heat such as radiators.
  3. Allow them to air dry if they get wet and insert shoe trees to maintain their shape.
  4. Store them away in quality shoe bags when out of use.

Follow these steps on how to care for your suede shoes and you can ensure yours are kept in the best possible condition, whatever the weather. Favourite leather pairs in need of upkeep, too? Our Cheaney Guide to Caring for Leather Shoes will ensure you know how to polish and protect them properly this season.