Elvis sang, “Don’t you step on my blue suede shoes.” And for good reason, suede shoes are some of the most temperamental shoes you can own. They’re gorgeous – I’ve got a bit of a suede sneaker addiction and own tons of them myself – but you can’t treat them like a pair of hiking boots. You’ve got to handle them with a metaphorical velvet glove if you want to keep them in pristine condition.
This doesn’t mean you should skip over them when you’re sneaker shopping. Heaven holds a special place for suede. It’s classy but casual.
So how do you keep suede looking its best? Here are some pointers for keeping your suede swank:
1. Prevention is the Best Cure
Protect your assets. Before you slip on those shoes for the first time, spray them with a readily available suede protector. I repeat, Protection. Protection. Protection. This is the #1 tactic for keeping your suede looking its best.
2. Pick your Battles
Be smart. Suede is great for almost any occasion, yet it’s not an everyday wear. Seventy percent chance of rain? Then there’s a one hundred percent chance you should leave your suede sneakers at home. Helping your friend move? De-suade. If your shoes might get scuffed, wet, or otherwise mussed, then skip your favorite suede sneakers that day.
3. Light Maintenance
Like many things in life, suede needs some maintenance. You’ll find all kinds of kits and gadgets on the market. A suede brush is a great, cheap investment, as is a suede eraser. In a pinch, a toothbrush and pencil eraser can work too. Keep your maintenance “light” however. Suede on shoes is often thin, and overzealous cleaning can be too rough on your shoes. Use soft bristles, a toothbrush or even a towel for regular brushing. Hard bristles and erasers should be reserved for rarer, heavy duty cleans. And don’t forget to spray suede protector again after cleaning.
4. Shoe Surgery
Save the big procedures for when you really need them. (Otherwise you may actually make things worse.) Never try to rub out a still wet stain. Carefully blot liquids then let dry. Just let mud harden until it’s completely dry. Use a brush or eraser on the stain; in many cases this is all you need.
Tougher stains? Get professional help or use white vinegar or a suede cleaning solution. Test first on an inconspicuous area such as a concealed section of the tongue or a bit of a bottom edge of the shoe along the sole (inside facing; i.e. the left side of your right shoe).
Water stains? Try very lightly wetting the entire surface of the shoe and then letting it dry. In this way, you may be able to slightly darken the color of the entire shoe, bringing the overall appearance into closer harmony.
5. Age Gracefully
Sneakerheads sometimes become TOO possessive of their precious shoes. Listen guys, it’s a shoe. There are few things more off-putting then a man pitching a fit over a scuffed shoe. Man up and just consider a little wear part of the aging process. Age is character.
If you have to eventually retire your shoe, well, that’s pretty much what happens to 99% of the shoes that are produced. Faced with an abrupt premature retirement? Take it in stride. Style is as much about attitude as it is about physical appearances.
Looking for some new suede sneakers to love, fondle and flash around the town? Click this red link to check out the featured suede sneakers on Sneakoholic.