It is not uncommon for us to get questions about how to take care of suede. You might think that suede is a material for dry, sunny days and that water should never be added to the mix. Fortunately for all suede lovers, thanks to modern, high-quality shoe care products and well-sourced suede, this is a myth.
How to clean, care and protect your suede shoes
Suede is way easier to take care of than people think. With the proper process in place, you’ll find that the material will age gracefully over time and be a great companion, especially during rainy days.
In this blog article, we’ll show you precisely what to do to give life back and restore your suede shoes.
Start the process by brushing your shoes with a regular shoe brush to remove all surface particles and dirt. Our preferred choice here is to use a horse hair brush.
Next, use a suede brush to lift the fibres before deep cleaning. Here, you can use a crepe or brass brush — whatever you prefer.
Next up: deep cleaning. Here, we recommend using Saphir Medaille d'Or Omni'Nettoyant.
Pour a small amount of the cleaner into a bowl or cup. Add some water if you want an even milder wash.
Use the brush that comes included with the Saphir packaging to apply the cleaner all over the shoe in circular motions, creating a lather.
Next, wet the brush and work the applied cleaner into the suede with water. Add more water with the brush as you work around the whole shoe.
This might be scary, but the last step is to thoroughly rinse the shoe under running water.
While you're at it, cleaning your outsole is also a good idea. Here, you can use a rougher brush with water and, if needed, some leather cleaner. We recommend using Saphir's Plant Based Cleaner. Make sure to also clean the sole edges with some leather cleaner on a cloth.
Finally, it's time to let the shoes rest and dry up. Fill the shoes with some old newspaper sheets and let them dry overnight on the side.
Now that you've let the shoes rest for a day or so, they should be dry. Remove the wet papers and put your shoe trees in. Now, it's time to nurture the shoes to revive them and keep the colour vibrant.
Brush them with the suede brush to, again, lift the fibres.
For care, light protection and recolouring, we are using the Saphir Medaille d'Or Renovateur Spray. This is the holy grail product to revive your shoes and give them the care they deserve.
Add some new newspaper sheets to the opening of the shoe to protect the insides. Spray the Renovateur on all sides of the shoes and let them rest for at least 10 minutes.
Once you've allowed them to rest, brush them with the suede brush again to lift the fibres.
Get your can of Saphir Super Invulner out; it's time to impregnate and protect your shoes from water, dust and anything in between. The Saphir Medaille d'Or Super Invulner is the Rolls-Royce of suede protection and is the key to wearing your suede shoes on those rainy days with a worry-free mind.
Let the shoes relax for at least 30 minutes.
Finally, brush the shoes with your suede brush again.
Congratulations, you just restored and gave life back to suede.
The final step: the outsole
The final step is to make your outsole look brand new as well. Use a cloth to apply some shoe cream on the edges of the outsoles to nurture the leather and restore colour. A pro tip here is to add shoe cream about half an inch into the bottom of the outsole to make the edges crisp.
Let the cream sit for a few minutes, and brush the sole edges with a horse hair brush.
If you want, add shoe wax to the edges like above and work the wax with a shoe brush to create a protective and shiny surface.
Use Saphir Sole Guard on the outsole for next-level fix-up to protect them and enhance their life span.
We hope this step-by-step guide will help you better care for your suede shoes and make you feel comfortable wearing them all year round.