Herring Shoes

Brush up on your suede knowledge

March 31, 2021
Purcell II

Last week, we celebrated spring and our penchant for suede as the weather begins to warm up a little. It struck us that there is a lot to know about suede and it may help if we shared some of our knowledge to help you decide whether suede is for you or to maybe help you look after your existing suede footwear.

Welcome to our Suede Bootcamp!

What is suede?
In simple terms, suede is the underside side of the leather. It has a shaggy texture and without the exterior layer is more pliable, so it is popular for clothing, gloves, bags and shoes, of course. In fact, the term ‘suede’ comes from the French terms, gants de Suède, which literally means “gloves from Sweden”. Who knew? Well, you do now!

The comfort of suede
Suede’s malleability provides extra comfort. If you have wider feet, for example, suede will shape to your feet quicker than a calf leather, so suede shoes or boots will feel like slippers sooner rather than later!

Is suede too delicate for footwear?
No…otherwise no-one would make them, and all the leading UK shoe manufacturers do! They will need care, like your calf leather shoes, but they are resilient enough for winter, autumn and spring weather. We often get asked ‘Is suede a bad idea in winter?’, ‘Does suede get ruined in the rain?’, ‘Can I get stains out of suede?’, and other similar questions and it all comes down to the care.

How do I clean suede shoes or boots?
It’s easier than you think. Just as suede is not as fragile as you may think.

Step 1: Remove the laces (if you have any), so you do not get cleaner on them and can treat the area around the eyelet area.

Step 2: Brush off any loose dirt. We recommend a crepe or brass suede brush to brush out any dirt or marks. Simply brush against the pile lightly and work your way around the suede to focus on any dirty areas. 

Step 3: Now you want to give your suede a good pampering, starting with a deep clean using something like Saphir suede cleaner. This cleaner doesn’t only cleanse, it brings life back into the suede and also helps to protect the suede from staining.

Get a bowl of warm water and add the suede cleaner. Use 50/50 water and cleaner. You really do not need much. Use the brush provided and apply it against the pile. Once your suede has darkened down due to being wet, you have put enough on.

Step 4: You need to rinse the cleaner off for 5-10 minutes later with clean warm water. Just dip the brush into the clean water and brush the suede. Try and brush from lots of different angles to get the suede cleaner off. Do not worry if the suede looks darker; it’s because it is still wet. Once done, 

Step 5: Leave your shoes or boots to dry. This takes around 20-30 minutes. You can put a cloth over the front to help soak up the excess moisture but DO NOT rub the suede with a cloth as any loose bits will come off and go onto the suede and ruin your good work.

Step 6: Once the suede has dried, it will look cleaner and more vibrant. Remove your shoe trees and re-lace your shoes. You are now finished! You will have a sense of satisfaction as you sit back and admire your hard work, also expect lots of compliments from friends and colleagues admiring your wonderfully cared for shoes.

Why choose suede?
In short, it looks good and it’s comfortable, but it’s no pushover! If you missed it, see our guide from last week – Get into suede for spring – to see some of the styles available.