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The Birdies Way To Care For Leather Shoes

Customers are loving how stylish and comfortable our slip-on sneakers are. But taking care of them is a bit different from your average sneaker that can go right in the wash. Our leather sneakers, slides, and sandals can’t be put in the washing machine and instead require a little extra attention. That’s why we’ve rounded up some tips and tricks about how to care for leather shoes so you can keep your Birdies feeling brand new for as long as possible. 

How To Keep Leather Shoes Clean

The keys to keeping leather shoes clean are pre-treating and polishing, which we’ll cover in more detail below. We also recommend occasionally sprinkling the insides with a small amount of baking soda. Leave the baking soda in overnight and then shake out any excess in the morning. You can also try wiping the insoles off with a lightly moistened soft cloth. Megan, our resident material and Birdies shoe care expert, stores her shoes with a dryer sheet inside to keep them fresh in between wears. 

Protecting Leather Shoes

The key to prolonging the life of your leather shoes is to pre-treat them with a protective spray. Make it a habit of doing this every time you purchase a pair of leather shoes. Do it as soon as you get them—that’s right, we’re talking about before you wear them out for the first time! Megan has experimented to test the best products for pre-treating leather shoes. Here’s what she recommends:

Megan recommends protecting leather shoes with the tried-and-true Kiwi Rain and Stain Protector. Before applying, test on a less visible spot of the shoe first to check for color stability. 

Most spray protectors will advise making sure your shoes are clean first. (You can use a soft, dry, lint-free cloth to remove any dirt or dust.) Then you simply shake the can, hold about 8 inches away from your shoes, and spray with two, even layers. Let dry for at least 30 minutes before wearing.  

Megan found that this spray protector resisted stains from oil, water, red wine, and tomato.

Moneysworth & Best black shoe polish

Polishing Leather

Polishing may sound old-school, but that’s because it works. Do this regularly, or at least once a season, to prolong the life of your shoes. As a general rule, use black polish on black leather and clear polish on any other color leather. This is because it’s next to impossible to get a perfect color match. Here are two products Megan recommends:

Moneysworth & Best Shoe Cream has a combination of natural oils and waxes that will finish your shoes off with a natural shine, so they don’t look overpolished. This cream is great if you want to restore your shoes, and it will help you bring them back to life. It works particularly well on black leather, is easy to use, and makes everything look new. 

Kiwi Color Shine Liquid Polish is a great, inexpensive product that has been around forever. Their black and clear polishes are widely available and will nourish, protect, and extend the life of your leather shoes. The long-lasting liquid polish contains natural Carnauba wax, giving your leather footwear a genuine shine without any need for buffing. 

Stain Removal on Leather

Chances are if you’ve protected and polished your leather shoes, you won’t get any major stains. If you do find a stain, try polishing first. The sooner the stain is treated, the better. Start by removing any surface dirt and dust with a soft, dry, lint-free cloth, and buff the leather with your go-to polish. If that doesn’t work or if you’re dealing with stubborn stains from mud or grass, use water and gentle dish soap. Combine 4 cups lukewarm water and 1/2 teaspoon mild dish soap. Dab at the stain using a cotton washcloth, then follow with plain water to remove any soap. Remember that any time you get leather wet, you have to let the whole shoe dry fully before doing anything else. Once dry, reapply your spray protectant. After that dries, polish to restore shine. 

Leather + Water

Unlike suede, it’s not the end of the world if your leather shoes get wet. And if you’ve already pre-treated them, you should be in safe territory. If your leather shoes do get wet, you might notice that the color of the leather changes. Don’t panic. This is completely normal. Just let your shoes dry completely and then give them a polish to pick up shine again. 

We hope you found this post helpful, and if we haven’t addressed your most pressing leather-care questions, please reach out and we’ll get right on it to find the best possible solutions. Email us anytime at Be sure to share your leather shoe care tips and tricks with @birdies on Instagram.

Have a pair of our velvet shoes? Learn How To Care For Velvet Shoes