Popularly used in the construction of shoes, suede is highly susceptible to damage caused by water, dirt, and debris. As such, this delicate material requires regular protecting and cleaning to maintain its appearance.
Protecting Suede Shoes
Prior to wear and after each cleaning, apply suede protector to the suede shoes; this includes any design details. Doing so helps safeguard the shoes from inclement weather and accidental spills. Suede protector spray simplifies the application process. Spray liberally until the suede appears wet and let dry completely before wear, as the use of heat, sunlight, or a fan can compromise the suede and cause it to crack. Note that suede spray tends to wear off with use and over time. Therefore, reapply every few weeks to maximise protection.
Buffing Suede Shoes
Buffing the suede's nap restores the material's texture. To do so, use a soft suede brush or a dry towel as soon as the suede protector has thoroughly dried. For the best results, lightly buff the surface in a circular motion until the nap has been fully lifted and returned to its original state. Afterwards, lightly brush it in a uniform direction according to the natural grain of the nap for a consistent look.
Cleaning Suede Shoes
While dirt can penetrate the suede's nap and cause discolouration, water can generate irreparable marks on the surface. First, remove all excess dirt before cleaning. For stains, consider using a wool detergent; simply wet the suede with warm water and apply diluted detergent in soft, circular motions. Rinse with cold water and allow the shoes to dry naturally before buffing and wearing. Suede erasers and suede shoe brushes can also help lift up dirt and restore the surface of soiled suede shoes. Only use these items on dry suede. Lastly, avoid chemical detergents, as they may remove the dye from suede.
Storing Suede Shoes
Properly store both men's and women's suede shoes when not worn. Keep them in a cool, dry place to reduce the chances of mildew or mould formation. Still, it is recommended that individuals store their shoes in cotton bags or pillowcases, as the air exposure allows the suede material to breathe. Doing so also protects the suede shoes from accumulating dust.