A few weeks ago we taught you about suede care, and now we're back with tips on maintaining everyone's go-to fall fabric: leather.
Everyone's mortal enemy. The best way to make sure your shoes aren't permanently damaged by street salt is by cleaning them off as soon as possible. This means a quick wipe down with a damp microfiber cloth once you get to work, and then a proper cleaning when you get home. A little high maintenance, but for a nice pair of boots, the extra few minutes are definitely worth it.
For more settled-in stains, wet a cloth with a mixture of 2 parts water and 1 part white vinegar, and use it to carefully rub out the salt marks out. Follow up by wiping the whole boot down again with a water-soaked cloth, and then try them with a clean towel.
Just like suede, leather needs to breathe. Shoe boxes can get humid after long periods of time, and the moisture can eventually damage the leather (which is why boxes in stores a filled with those little silica packs!). A shoe tree is ideal, as filling the shoes and boots will help them keep their shape, but storing them in cloth dustbags is a good alternative.
Patent leather is great in that it tends to be a lot easier to care for since it's glossy finish makes it much less prone to absorbing stains. Your best bet with patent is to just wipe off any spills with a soft cloth right away. Scuffs can usually be rubbed out with your finger, and any residue or salt stains can be polished away with diluted glass or mirror cleaner (yes, really).
All leather (except patent) needs to be conditioned. This isn't optional! Leather is just like our skin, and is therefore prone to drying out and cracking without proper care. Invest in a good quality, silicone-free leather conditioner and use it every few weeks to keep your shoes looking and feeling fresh.