How To | Cleaning Leather & Suede Shoes

I made an "Adulting To-Do List" this week full of things like finding a new doctor, preparing documents for filing my taxes, and looking into refinancing my student loans.

Near the bottom of that list was "Clean and polish all shoes", so in the name of procrastination, that's what I did first.

If you own any kind of leather or suede shoes, you should be giving them a thorough cleaning once every few months. You and I both know these kinds of shoes ain't cheap, so giving them a little attention every now and again will go a long way.

So follow the steps below and thank me in 5 years when you're still rocking those sick Chelsea boots you bough last month.


  1. Remove laces and insert shoe tree
  2. Use a soft brush to remove stains or dirt
  3. Wipe the shoe with a soft, dry cloth
  4. Dampen cloth slightly and wipe entire shoe
  5. Let the shoe air dry completely before moving on
  6. With a soft cloth, apply a cream polish that matches the color of the shoe
  7. Let the shoe sit for a couple minutes
  8. Buff to a shine with a soft brush or cloth
  9. Last but not least, apply a leather protector to help repel water


  1. Remove laces and insert shoe tree
  2. Use a rubber pencil eraser to remove scuffs
  3. Use a suede brush to remove stains or dirt (brushing in one direction)
  4. Apply suede protector to help protect your shoes against potential water damage



  • Buy all the cedar shoe trees you can. These things not only absorb any moisture inside the shoes, but also help maintain the shape of your shoes when you're not wearing them.
  • For any marks or damage that can't be cleaned or buffed out, take your shoes to a cobbler for repair. Most cobblers are usually not too expensive and totally worth it.


Boots in picture by Aldo Shoes