Taking care of our handmade Italian footwear is a breeze because high-quality footwear doesn't require excessive attention—just a light touch of maintenance to maintain an effortlessly natural and classic look. When I get a new pair, there’s no need for conditioning or polishing, they’re ready to wear out of the box. Sure, I treat myself to a professional shoeshine every once in a blue moon, but with the right weapons in my shoe care arsenal it’s not a major part of my routine.
Shoe Trees –
I always store my Paul Evans leather shoes with shoetrees to wick away moisture and maintain their handcrafted shape. Since I never wear the same pair of shoes two days in a row (and neither do you, right?), my shoes get a few days off to rest which means they need less maintenance. I really like Woodlore Adjustable Men’s Shoe Trees. Made from high quality cedar, they have an aromatic quality that adds to their utility. Learn more about why you need shoetrees here.
Heel and Toe Protectors—
Whenever I get a new pair of Paul Evans handcrafted shoes, I stop by my cobbler’s shop and pick up heel and toe protectors for them. These simple pieces of plastic extend the life of your soles significantly. They wear down themselves after a few months, but replacing them ensures the two major wear spots on your shoes—the toe where you push off and the corner of the heel where you foot initially hits the ground—stay intact. You don’t have to hike all the way to your cobbler to get these nifty sole savers. Kiwi makes Heel Savers that are available online and work just fine.
When I’ve had a rough day and my shoes look worse for wear, I take the time to give them a quick polish. There are two types of polishes: cream and wax. If you choose cream polish, apply to the shoe dry before brushing it off vigorously. I find this method is best when I want a matte finish to my shoes. If I want a shiny finish, I use wax polish. Simply apply, brush, and rub with a clean towel. The longer I spend on this process, the shinier the finish.
One thing about shoe polish to keep in mind is that it can affect the color of your shoes over time. For instance, after polishing my Marrone Cagney Cap-Toe Oxfords with brown polish four or five times, I noticed that the leather had become darker. You can burnish the toes of your leather shoes this way—just use black or a very dark brown polish on the toe and spread it up with a clean towel until you have the desired look.
If your shoes are…
Oxblood, try Saphir Mahogany
Cognac, pick Saphir Cognac or Light Brown
Nero, obviously go for Saphir Black
Marrone, choose Saphir Light Brown or Medium Brown.
Since we’re in the depths of winter, it’s important to mention the extra care your shoes need during these colder months. A weather protectant can help keep moisture away from your leather shoes when it snows or rains. Spray your shoes a couple times throughout the season with Tarrago Nano Protector and you’ll be fine. If your shoes have dirt or salt on them when you come home, be sure to wipe it off completely with a damp cloth rag before storing them. If it’s more than just a little dirt, I recommend adding Saphir Reno'Mat Leather Cleaner to your rub down. It helps remove buildup of silicons, resins, and dirt but is still kind to your Italian calfskin. After cleaning, condition with Saphir Crème Delicate to keep the leather healthy.
Of course, suede shoes require a different approach. If your suede Paul Evans shoes are in need of a cleaning, follow these steps:
- Brush vigorously in both directions using a horsehair brush to remove dirt and stains.
- Rub the surface of your shoes with a damp towel. This brings up the nap.
- Stains may also be rubbed off with a damp towel and some white vinegar. Allow the leather to dry before assessing your success. After drying, the garment will reek of vinegar for a while – but it will eventually fade.
- If there are lumps of dirt or dry scuffmarks that won’t come off this way, try rubbing them off with a fingernail file. Be gentle.
- Keep the suede protected using a weather protector.
Easy, right? Now you have the know-how to keep your Paul Evans shoes in tip-top shape for years to come. Just remember: when it comes to quality Italian leather shoes, it takes a light touch to care for them. You may be excited to wax and polish them right out of the box, but resist. These beauties are hand painted by our craftsmen in Italy; show you appreciation for their work by letting it be until a good cleaning is needed.