Watching your leather shoes crack after you spent a premium amount of money on them is disappointing. Since anything made of leather cracks, it’s a typical issue to deal with no matter what kind you buy. But the worst one to own is patent leather because they are not authentic.
Before figuring out how to handle this problem, the first step is knowing why your leather shoes crack.
There are a few reasons, but the most typical is that the leather becomes dry when it’s not moisturized daily. Some other reasons why cracks form is overuse, walking around in the snow or a rain shower, and dirt accumulation.
When cracks do appear on your shoes, it’s not a good look professionally. You also put yourself in danger because the leather could split while walking and cause you to fall.
If you take the time to care for your leather shoes, you decrease the chances of dealing with cracks in the first place. In this guide, we will teach you the necessary steps you need to take to make sure your leather footwear never cracks and is always looking fresh out of the store.
Top Tips on Preventing Leather Shoes From Cracking
1. Clean and Moisturize Leather Shoes Routinely
The easiest way to prevent your leather shoes from cracking is to wipe them clean 1 to 2 times per week.
The grime and dust accumulated after a long day will ruin their leather exterior by eating away at the surface. Initially, the cracks are small but will grow if you ignore your shoe’s cry for help.
A horsehair shoe brush is the best tool for leather shoe cleaning. If you are dealing with suede or nubuck, buy a suede brush or risk causing permanent damage. The heel counter and outsole are two areas of your shoe that pick up the most dirt so give each one extra attention.
If you can’t find a horsehair brush, you can’t go wrong using a soft cotton towel to get the same job done.
Once the dirt is cleaned correctly, the next step is to condition your shoe to protect against cracks.
A thick layer of moisturizer is enough to last for 1 to 2 weeks, depending on how often you wear them. To get started, use a microfiber towel to add the first layer of leather cream moving your fingers around in a circle, ensuring you don’t miss an inch.
Before putting your shoes on again, give the leather 1 hour to dry. You can use 2 other options if leather conditioner is unavailable: show cream or polish.
If you go online to buy leather conditioner, you’ll feel overwhelmed. Each is meant for different types of leather, so you must do your homework to figure out which one works for you.
Even after you buy the proper cream, experiment by applying it to a tiny area of your shoe. If you don’t see any stains form or damage, you can put it on the remainder of your shoe.
2. Remove Wrinkles As They Appear
Wrinkles make leather shoes look unattractive and, if left unattended, cause permanent damage.
These are hard to avoid since they form from normal wear and tear or when your foot is wide enough to stretch them out. After a few months, those wrinkles transform into full-blown cracks.
Our best advice is to tackle wrinkles the moment you identify them without wasting a single day. The best tools to tackle this task are heat guns, isopropyl alcohol, and iron.
3. Make Laces Lose Before Putting On and Taking Off Shoes
The ideal pair of leather shoes are supposed to feel comfortable while letting you slip them on and off your feet with minimal effort. But, unfortunately, you have to struggle every time with the wrong pair of shoes to get them on.
The result of this exertion is wrinkles that lead to deep-seated cracks.
Besides ensuring you get the correct size, you can also unlace your shoes. Unlaced shoes are looser and give you the space to take them off. The best strategy for you is to take one hand to gain access to your shoe’s tongue and take the other to push down on the heel.
Next, you lift your foot to the ceiling while keeping your hands where you need them, and the shoes slip off.
We always recommend having a shoehorn around for extra-tight leather, so you don’t wear yourself out and apply too much pressure to your shoe’s heel counter. But, if you are serious about keeping your boots wrinkle-free, shoehorns make it more possible.
4. Don’t Expose Your Footwear to Direct Heat Sources
Leather generally cracks when placed near heaters, under sunlight in hot cities, and radiators. Eventually, your shoe’s leather exterior will lose its natural oils from the heat, and wrinkles will start to form once completely dry.
We know it’s impossible to keep your leather shoes away from all heat sources, so if this does happen, apply conditioning moisturizer with a towel immediately. The wrinkles will disappear once the rehydration process begins, and you will see results within a few hours.
Anyone with dark leather shoes needs to be extra cautious. This is because dark colors absorb more heat than lighter ones, so they crack quickly with even a little heat nearby. After enough heat, even the rich colors start to fade.
5. Keep Leather Shoes Away From Moisture
Leather can absorb liquids fast, leading to severe cracks and wrinkles. Most people think of rain or dropping a drink on your shoes, but sweat from walking often is another culprit that causes these cracks over time.
In addition, these liquids remove all organic oils from the leather, leaving it with no protection.
All you can do to avoid this is to do your best to keep your leather shoes away from water. If it’s raining, wear your sneakers and when they get wet, find a towel or tissue as soon as possible to wipe the water dry.
Following these precautions decreases the chances of cracks appearing by more than half.
An extra tip to consider is only wearing thick socks with leather shoes. The thick pair of wool socks will absorb all the moisture from your sweat, so your shoes don’t have to.