November 25, 2015 5 Comments
Once upon a time I had a beautiful pair of suede chelsea boots and because I loved them so much I wore them ALL the time!
Unfortunately suede is a little more sensitive than leather and after a year or so getting caught in the rain, encountering dog drool and pretty much anything toddler related they began to look downright terrible! Suede brushes and erasers helped to remove the stains and dirt for a time but eventually there comes a point of no return where it seems like nothing can possibly save your suede.
And that's when I tried a little experiment.
As you can see in the image above I recently reached this point with a pair of suede Chelsea boots. They served me well for over a year despite the fact I mistreated them something awful! Unwilling to retire my trustworthy suede shoes, I reached for the mink oil and gave them new life.
The end result is almost as good as a new pair of shoes! The suede looks refreshed - although it is a shade or two darker. The other benefit is that the mink oil protects the shoe from water, making your suede shoes a lot more versatile.
To do the same for your shoes you just need a couple of items:
To begin, clean all the excess dirt off your shoes with a suede brush (if you don't have one a cheap toothbrush will do just fine). Once the shoe is clean, remove the laces (if they have) and grab the mink oil.
Next, take a clean rag or sponge and gently dip it into the mink oil. The point of initial contact will receive the most oil and therefore end up darker than the rest of the shoe.
For this reason, I recommend strategically starting at the tip of the toe and lightly spreading the oil over the vamp (front of shoe). Spread it around by rubbing in a circular motion, taking care to get it in between any seams. At the back of the shoe, make the initial point of contact the heel a work your way forward along the sides of the shoe. Once you've completely oiled one shoe, move onto the next.
After both shoes have been oiled, take a suede brush and go over the shoe to raise the nap. This helps spread the oil a little deeper into the suede and will slightly lighten any areas that may have received a tad too much oil.
Once you've given your freshly oiled shoes about 30 mins to dry. Put them on and marvel at how much better they now look!
May 30, 2022
Suede shoes are a joke. I made the mistake of buying a pair on the net . Sure I live in Michigan a tuff State on shoes. But I had many fine leather shores and take religious care of them . Some over 25 years old. I did everything recommended for Suede . To no avail. They became my beater shoes. I was going through a lot of things and saw a great sale on Ropers , I ordered several pairs , of tan looking one. I had called the Company and was assured they were not suede but leather. Yes , suede is leather. They arrived with my other shoes. I was too busy , lost track of time and never returned them . I set out to wear these only in dry , weather . I cleaned them after every wearing . I again read every article on care of suede shoes. And soon even with restricted wear they looked horrible. That was 5 years ago. I wear them in the snow , rain, anywhere as my junk shoes. There still around just look like heck. I have two brand new pair in the box still. At some point when I retire , I will wear them maybe on a cruise . Or to a house party , put them on when I get in the car , take them off when I get bak into the car. The shoes come in many colors in leather and great , just not suede . Going to try the mink oil , still I doubt it will keep them in decent condition let alone pristine.
July 02, 2020
If part of the wear is from salt, rub that away with vinegar first. Apple cider is a bit more gentle, so I like it for suede or nubuck. I also prefer macadamia oil conditioner, but that’s because the suedes I have are all lighter than the ones here. Though if you’re looking for a mink-free alternative like earlier comment then it’ll probably do the trick.
May 14, 2020
I want a product to use on suede but seriously, I don’t like mink being slaughtered just for my shoes… could you have suggested some alternative? I am no bambi-lover and I know where leather comes from, of course… but if there’s a substitute product, which i’m guessing there is, why not mention it?
April 15, 2017
Try a damp magic eraser on the outsole! It’ll bring those back to white.
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August 27, 2022
Looks great. Do you have before pics?