Shoes are quite literally the foundation of an outfit. So no gentleman should go without one or more pairs of quality leather shoes. They don’t come cheap, but quite often cheap can be expensive. If you’re not willing to invest, your shoes will be made of rubber, glue and low quality leather. And that’s where it all begins: good shoes are made of good leather. It is as simple as that. And you must be prepared to pay for that. But once you’ve invested in a quality pair, put some time and effort in their maintenance and your shoes will last longer than five pairs of cheap ones. We always go back to the classic Allen Edmonds for shoes that are basically heirloom quality—and never go unnoticed.

Taking proper care of your shoes isn’t too complicated, but there are some important basics. Long-term care starts with cedar shoe trees – they are crucial to the maintenance of your shoes. Unvarnished cedar protects the leather, fabric, stitching and soles by absorbing moisture, salts and acid. The trees smooth out creases, linings and wrinkles, and when used properly, will make the shoe last longer and look better.shoe treeRegular care of your shoes will not only keep them looking pristine, but also increases the lifespan. The key is nourishment. Like with your shoes, it’s the quality of the products that counts. When choosing a shoe cream, always pick one that is beeswax based. If you want the best, go for Saphir Médaille d’Or – the number one shoe care products in the world. Their shoe cream doesn’t just have beeswax, but is completed with seven other nourishing ingredients. Like a spa day for your footwear.

Before treating your shoes to a new layer of shoe polish, it is essential to clean them. Brush them with a shine brush – preferably made out of horsehair – and use a cleanser, such as Saphir Lotion. With a cotton cloth you can rub the lotion into the leather of the shoes. When finished, wipe them quickly with a dry cloth and let them dry.shoes shinedAfter this it is time to restore dried out leather to its original state – the cleaning enabled the pores of the leather to open up, preparing the leather to absorb all nourishing and needed oils. There are several products on the market to thoroughly nourish your shoes, but a renovating cream, such as the popular and rich Saphir Renovateur, is perfect for bringing the leather back to life. Apply the cream, using either an applicator brush or cloth, and let it soak into the leather for about 5 minutes. Shoes that had lost their lustre will suddenly come back to life, fully rejuvenated.

To finish it off, let them shine. In order to do this, you need a matt gloss shoe cream and, if desired, a high gloss shoe wax. The difference between a cream and a wax is that cream is soft, which means it doesn’t require any special proceedings before applying, and has a great nourishing quality. A wax is a bit more demanding, but it offers extra protection and a very glossy shine.

Besides quality products, technique plays an important role in shoe care. To make sure you make the most of it, shoe care fanatics, such as The ShoeCare-Shop, have tutorials online – explaining the process step by step. Ideal for both beginners, professionals, and obsessive shoe-care hobbyists (like you might become).shoe kitIf you’re serious about keeping your shoes in shape, consider buying a valet with all the bare essentials. It doesn’t only make the process of caring for your shoes easier, but also a bit more fun. There’s a whimsy to the way we used to care about quality and protect wardrobe staples, instead of waiting for them to inevitably wear out in one season and find their way to the trash. It’s a tradition that we should hold on to and treasure.

There are some beautiful valets that will provide for all the needed top-notch products, but also keep them organized. Go for the Distinctivo valet by Distinctly Different if you want shoe care at its best: this luxurious and elegant valet combines functionality with beauty. It comes with all the quality creams, waxes, brushes and tools to clean, nourish and protect your shoes.

Fine leather shoes might be one of the savviest style investments you can make, and with some tender loving care, you will get extra mileage out of your quality kicks. With some polish and luck, they might even last you a lifetime.