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How do you care for suede?

August 27, 2019 2 min read

It looks a bit more fancy than your average leather, and it feels just like velvet: two good reasons to investigate suede this fall. Here’s what every guy needs to know about suede shoes, and how to look after them.

Is suede a type of leather?

suede leatherEver wondered what leather looks like on the inside? That’s suede. The underside of your regular animal hide, it has a soft feel and a fuzzy texture, with what we in the industry like to call a ‘nap’. 

You can use suede to create a softer, more upscale version everything that might otherwise be made out of leather: jackets, bags, and, of course, shoes. And it doesn’t necessarily need to appear all over; suede works great as part of a mixed material shoe for a little added texture. Find it in the heel panel of our Murray and Maxwell Oxfords, as well as on the back of the Dockers Moore for a cool contrast.

How to care for your suede shoes

OK, so it’s not quite as hardy as leather. But taking care of suede is really not that onerous.

Suede doesn’t like to get wet, so a little preventative work will pay off handsomely. At the beginning of each season, spritz your shoes gently with a water-repellent spray from a specialist brand like Scotchgard or (the sneaker head’s favorite) Jason Markk, taking care to do a small patch test first. Then wait for your shoes to dry thoroughly before stepping out.

JM suede brush
The other piece of kit you’ll need is a good suede brush to restore the nap. With wear, the suede fibers will inevitably start to lie down flat and look a bit sad, but regular brushing will have them sitting up nice and fluffy again.

And if you do get caught in the rain? It doesn’t have to spell disaster. First, blot your suede shoes and brush them gently while they’re still damp to revive the nap. If, after air drying, you’re left with any water stains, remove them carefully with a suede cleaner (white vinegar can work well too), and brush your shoes again once they’re dry.

All it takes is a little TLC to keep that lush, velvety feel intact. Get your suede on parade!

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