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Shoe care, what products do you use?

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    Shoe care, what products do you use?

    I recently purchased these dark brown shoes from Sebago:

    Very comfortable, and I'd like to wear them for a long time. To me, this means I should do something to treat them before I start wearing them. I haven't found any leather conditioners or other products that I really like, yet. So basically, I'm looking for recommendations. What should I get to treat these shoes so that I can start wearing them regularly?


    I just bought some Allen Edmonds (Strand model) and I bought pretty much all of their proprietary brand treatments and conditioners. I'll let you know how it goes once I get a chance to use them. If you are looking for some shoes to make an investment in, look into some Allen Edmonds.



      My waxes and creams vary from shoe to shoe, but one thing that never changes is this:

      I use this conditioner, before I polish, on every single shoe I own. For soft leather or hard leather, It's great.



        Lexol also makes a really great leather cleaner, as well. Both the cleaner and conditioner I can only find at auto parts stores.



          I got mine at a local cobbler. They recommended it. For the price it seems to work well, but I've never tried the Saphir Renovateur stuff. That's a bit expensive for my blood.



            Currently use:

            Cleaner: Lexol leather cleaner (~$8 for a large bottle)

            Conditioner: Lexol leather conditioner (same)

            Shoe cream: Meltonian (~$4)

            All were relatively inexpensive. I need to pick up some brown/burgundy shoe cream next, though.

            I also picked up some suede cleaner for my chukkas and sneakers, but really felt ripped off paying $7.50 for a tiny little bottle. Any better solutions?



              Oh, I should mention that I also picked up my Lexol at an auto parts store. I think I did it at Advance Auto when they ran one of their 30-40% off coupons.



                @zerostyle and Davelli - Can you describe how you use the Lexol in both cases



                  Cleaner - spray it on a clean cloth then wipe the shoe down with it. Test it on an inconspicuous area of your shoe to make sure it doesn't pull off any of the finish. If you're good to go, then simply wipe the entire shoe down with it. The cleaner might suds up a little, this is fine. Then wipe the shoe down again with a clean cloth.

                  Conditioner, same as above. Just apply it to a cloth, then wipe the shoe down with it. Let it air dry as the conditioner soaks into the leather of the shoe.



                    Basics that you need(read:want, nice to have, useful, if you will actually clean your shoes)
                    <ul>--Saddle/Leather Soap

                    --Leather Conditioner

                    --Black, Brown, and Neutral Wax Polish[/list]
                    (I only use black and Neutral, will explain later)
                    <ul>--old t-shirt cut up into about 1' x 1' rags

                    --Saddle Brush from horsehair

                    --Shoe Trees

                    --Cheap tooth brush[/list]

                    Any time my shoes get rained on, stepped in mud, dirty of any sort, I brush them down with a tooth brush and some water to get excess dirt off. Wash them with the saddle soap, follow directions. I brush after every single application of anything with the saddle brush, this helps all the layers lay down, and smooth out. Then conditioner, then polish, then get my applicator (aka, t-shirt, I use it to apply everything) a little damp and a little polish, rub it around real good, let it set, and then brush like crazy.

                    If they just need a good polish, I just brush them off, and follow the final two steps.



                      Jared mentions shoe trees, and those are really important. Cedar shoe trees (my preference) ought to go into your shoes when you take them off at home. Even the 'one size' shoe trees at (they may be carried elsewhere too, but this is where I picked them up) are fine.

                      Right now I'm using Meltonian all-purpose cleaner & conditioner for distressed/non-polished leather, and alternate between Meltonian cream polish and Kiwi wax polish. Sometimes a little Armor All on sole edges if the soles are rubber.



                        I use Doc Martens balsam.




                          I have a cobbler put a rubber half-sole on all my dress shoes. The sole will last longer and I get better traction.

                          I use Angelus shoe polish, but honestly I don't think the polish brand makes much difference.

                          I get my cedar shoe trees at Nordstrom Rack for $13 each (regular price). They seem to hold up fine with regular use and are dirt cheap.



                            I have a cobbler put a rubber half-sole on all my dress shoes. The sole will last longer and I get better traction.</blockquote>

                            This is a really great idea, especially if you live in a relatively rainy area or for shoes to wear during inclement weather. Also, some higher-end shoe makers (Allen Edmonds, Alden) will re-sole your shoes.




                              I'm assuming you only use black and neutral since brown leather shoes can come in a variety of shades? I recently polished a pair with the Kiwi Brown polish and they came out quite a bit darker than I had anticipated. As time goes on they are lightening back up, but it sure worried me that I had ruined them.