The beauty of premium leather is in its ability to evolve.
When properly cared for, leather retains its strength and durability. As it ages, a leather shoe will mould to fit your foot and the leather will soften. Premium leather is also breathable, thus eliminating sweaty or smelly feet.
Protecting your shoes
Before wearing your footwear outdoors for the first time, we recommend spraying them with a water resistant spray to help prevent water damage. While this will protect against the elements, it does not make the shoes waterproof. Leather is a natural and porous material, and should never be worn in excessive rain, slush, or snow.
Increasing your shoes’ longevity
To keep your leather looking its best, we recommend caring for your shoes and boots every 8-10 wears. A proper routine for smooth or pebbled leathers combines four key steps:
- Cleaning away dirt, salt or dust.
- Conditioning to moisturize the material and keep it supple.
- Polishing for a high shine and colour maintenance.
- Protecting to shield the leather from the elements.
It’s a common misconception that Nubucks and Suedes require more care than smooth leathers. To properly care for Nubuck, simply spray the shoe and sole with a Leather/Nubuck protectant. No conditioning or shining necessary!
Accessories don’t typically face as much wear or tear, but they still need care and attention to keep them looking their best.
To maintain the lustre and allure of the material, we recommend using an all-purpose leather protector, and regularly treating your Poppy Barley accessories with a leather conditioner or lotion. You can also shine your accessories with a soft, dry cloth. Keep your Nubuck looking great by delicately brushing it with a Nubuck brush.
Water Resistant Leather
Our Water-Resistant Leather can withstand the elements better than our traditional leathers, suedes, and nubucks. This is due to the special water-resistant coating applied to the leather to make it water resistant. To keep this material in its ideal condition, we recommend not using any abrasive solvents or materials during cleaning. Vigorous scrubbing and abrasive cleaners can remove the water-resistant coating, making the leather susceptible to damage caused by water, snow, and other environmental factors.
After you have cleaned your footwear with a non-abrasive cleaner, let them dry before buffing with a Soft Saddle Brush.
It’s important to remove salt stains as soon as possible. Once salt stains dry and set, it’s very difficult to get rid of them. Use a mixture of warm water and lemon juice or vinegar to dab away salt stains (do not use this solution on suedes or nubucks). Allow the leather to dry on its own. Do not use heat to accelerate the drying process.
Poppy Barley offers some ankle boots and flats in water-resistant leather. Our Black Water-Resistant leather has been made with a protective coating on the leather. This means that they do not need to be sprayed with a water protective spray before use, and the leather offers more resistance to exposure to water than regular leather. However they are not waterproof so we still recommend avoiding heavy rain or wet snow.
Excessive water exposure will permanently alter the look and feel of your shoes, so it’s important to treat water damage as soon as it happens. Because leather is porous, it’s best to dry out your shoes slowly. Speed drying will change the structure of the leather, and make your shoes stiff and crinkled. Always dry your water damaged footwear at room-temperature. For more severe cases of water exposure, towel dry the outside of the shoes immediately, then place newspaper or towels inside of the shoe to draw out excess moisture from the inside.
Much like our hair and skin, leather needs to be moisturized regularly to keep the material looking new and refreshed. Use a cream conditioner like our Créme de Luxe to restore hydration, and to keep them soft, supple and looking their best.
The first step is to use a soft damp cloth to remove any dirt or dust. If needed, use a leather shampoo to clean off any stubborn dirt or stains. Next, use a soft, lint-free cloth to apply the Créme de Luxe (or other leather conditioner*). After the conditioner has dried, use a shoe buffing brush to buff your shoes and add shine. If desired, you can add a leather polish with a polishing cloth, before removing excess polish with a shoe brush once it has dried. The final step is to spray the shoes with 2-3 coats of Waterstop Spray (wait 20 mins between coats) or other Leather Protectant to help protect from moisture and dirt.
*Note: if using the leather care for the first time on the shoes test a small area and allow it to try before treating the entire shoe.
Nubuck is similar to suede in that it has a soft nap, and doesn’t have the same shine as a smooth or pebbled leather. However, it is more resilient than suede, and can be treated similarly. Before you treat your shoes or accessories, you should first remove any dirt or dust by gently brushing the surface with a Nubuck brush. To remove more stubborn stains or dirt, use a Nubuck safe leather shampoo (such as Shampoo Direct, found in our Premium Leather Care Kit) and allow the product to dry completely. Once dry, use the soft side of your Nubuck brush to add nap (texture) back into leather. Finally, spray the Nubuck with 2-3 coats of Waterstop Spray (wait 20 mins between coats) or other Leather Protectant to help protect shoes from moisture and dirt.
Note: Do not use cream/oil based products on Nubuck leathers as it will change the colour and texture of the leather.
All leather shoes can (and should) be re-soled before there is wear or damage past the sole of the shoe or protective rubber heel cap. This will help extend the life of your shoes, and can easily be done by your local cobbler. With our leather soled flats, we recommend adding a protective topy (thin rubber sole saver) to your shoes after the decorative floral pattern is no longer visible, or if you see excessive wear to the point of the sole. This will help prevent the leather from scuffing or wearing through.