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HOW TO CARE FOR SOFT LEATHER

TRICKS OF THE TRADE

As gorgeous as soft leather is, it can be prone to scuff marks. If your favourite soft leather shoes have seen better days, then read on. A deep and dark scuff can't be totally repaired, but you can save your shoes so that the look of it is not too dramatic.

Firstly, you'll need to make sure you have all the tools you'll need. They are:

  • leather cleaner;
  • clean white cloth;
  • a well-ventilated area;
  • an area that you've either covered or won't matter if it gets a little dirty (don't try this on carpet!); and
  • refinishing spray; and
  • leather preparer, if your refinishing spray says you require one.

THE STEPS

Step 1: buying the products

When you buy the leather cleaner, check that it is appropriate for the leather your shoes are made out of. Do a patch test on a discreet part of the shoes to ensure that it won't damage your shoes. When you buy the finishing spray make sure you take your shoes with you because you will need to match it to the colour of your shoes. Again, a very small patch test on a discreet part of the shoes is recommended.

Step 2: setting up your workspace

When you get home, set up the area you are going to work in, making sure that you have a sort of drop-sheet to catch any of the colour that may drip.

Step 3: cleaning and preparing the shoes

Following the instructions on the leather cleaner you have purchased, clean the pair of shoes. Then apply the leather preparer as per the instructions and let them dry.

Step 4: applying the refinishing spray

Once they are completely dry, masking tape the shoes except for the areas that are scuffed. Evenly spray the area with the refinishing spray. You may need more than one layer, in which case let the first layer dry, then apply the next. Once you've finished and the refinishing spray is completely dry, remove the masking tape from the shoes and polish the shoes.

A SHORTCUT

If the scuff is just on the surface and you need a quicker solution, you can try simply using some shoe polish or cream leather conditioner.

GENERAL CARE TIPS

In terms of more general care for soft leather, generally speaking, creams, oils, beeswax (that you rub into shoes with a clean, dry, soft white cloth) are great for conditioning and waterproofing soft leather - so visit your local cobbler or department store to pick up some of these products to keep your heels looking fabulous.