If they’re very lucky, a good pair of shoes may go its entire life without encountering a puddle, rainstorm, or spill. But dirt and scuffs? The only way to avoid these is to leave your shoes in the box forever. But where’s the fun in that?
When it comes to smooth leather, dirt often isn’t much of a problem. This is especially true if you’ve been properly using a good silicone based water repellant, as this helps keep dirt from sticking in the first place. But if not, a good brush and eraser can work wonders. Basic leather cleaning kits often contain both, but a firm toothbrush and common pencil eraser can work just as well (just make sure they’re both clean – it’s no good rubbing an eraser on your shoes just to deposit leftover ink and pencil marks.)
The brush is great for removing loose dirt, while the eraser gets more of the ground-in stuff. In both cases, begin gently and slowly work in to those troublesome spots. With the brush a longer back and forth motion is best, while small circles focused on ground-in-dirt work well for the eraser.
You can see from our images that these quick steps alone have already improved the white backs of our demo shoes considerably. Just remember that the eraser is bound to create eraser dust, so best to do this over an empty surface rather than, say, hovering above your laptop.
Scuffs are different matter. Since they usually involve small scratches in the surface of the shoe, simple cleaning often doesn’t do the job. Most drug stores carry some basic scuff repair products which actually work pretty great – so long as your shoes are white, black, or a select few shades of brown. In the case of our white leather, you can see we were able to bring our banged up shoes to pretty near full restoration by simply applying two small coats of Kiwi Scuff Repair. It was simple as anything, and the results were fantastic.
If you have closet full of shoes in a much larger color variety (and I suspect you do) then scuff repair doesn’t come so easily. Your best bet is to find a specialty colored leather lotion, such as Tarrago Shoe Creams. Consider it like makeup for your shoe, helping to cover any unsightly blemishes. Just be sure to match the color as closely as possible, start with small doses and work your way up, and – as always – test a small, out of sight area of the shoe before full use.