These helpful articles are full of practical tips and advice about caring for your leather shoes. We want to help you get more from Samuel Windsor shoes.
Prolong the life of your men's leather shoes with our handy tips.
Unsure what shoes to wear for the occasion? Our guide below can help you pick the right ones.
Formal shoe styles for men
Styles of formal shoes for men vary almost as much as the gents that wear them. Some can be worn with almost anything, whilst others need to be matched with the right clothing. Here are some of the most common formal shoe styles available today.
The great all-rounder; Oxfords are a style of leather shoe with enclosed lacing. Traditionally constructed of leather, these men's shoes originated in Scotland and Ireland where they were known as Balmorals.
The shoe design is often plain but some include small perforations or ornamentation. Classic black Oxford shoes, polished to perfection, are ideal for formal occasions. For the office and semi-formal events, black or brown Oxfords are suitable.
Brogues are low-heeled shoes notable for their patterned perforations. Traditionally they are made from leather, though today suede brogues are very popular. Brogues are considered traditional country shoes for gentlemen and look great with casual or semi-formal outfits.
Deck shoes are a smart casual style, originally designed for wear on a boat. They often feature rubber soles and leather uppers. Deck shoes are also known as 'boat shoes', and are known for their comfort and timeless summer style.
Loafers are laceless, slip-on shoes. The most common style has a moccasin-like construction, but variations are common, such as the penny loafer. Increasingly, loafers are becoming acceptable when worn with suits in the office and semi-formal occasions.
Monk shoes are laceless and closed by a buckle and strap. This is a moderately formal shoe, less so than an Oxford but more than a loafer, and as such is more suitable for formal occasions.
Ankle-high and tight fitting, Chelsea boots first came to prominence during the Victorian era when they were worn for horse riding. Once fashionable amongst the mods of the 1960s, today Chelsea boots are as popular and stylish as ever. Both leather and suede Chelsea boots are common and suitable for semi-formal occasions.
Caring for your shoes
Taking good care of your footwear from day one will ensure their longevity, and remember – prevention is always better than cure. The best way to keep your leather shoes in tip-top condition is to prevent them from getting wet!
Do not polish a damp shoe. Dry them first by stuffing them with newspaper. Do not leave near a radiator or any heat to speed this up. Be sure to let the soles get some air so they can dry properly. Once they’re nearly dry, replace the newspaper with a shoe tree to help further maintain their shape. For salt stains mix one cup of water and one tablespoon of white vinegar. Soak a cotton ball with the mixture and wipe it over the stains. This works on leather, suede, fabric and faux leather shoe.
The soles on our Goodyear Welted shoes can be replaced if they start to wear over time. To prolong the life of your shoes try to action this before the sole has worn through to the cork membrane, as this can cause long-lasting damage to the shoe. You should allow a rest day between wearing your shoes and alternate with other shoes which will give time for the leather to recover from the elements and the effects of perspiration. On the rest days use a shoe tree to maintain the shape of the shoe.
Formal leather shoes
To polish a formal leather shoe, wipe your shoes down with a damp cloth to remove superficial dirt and stains, then wet a welt brush and scrub out the entire welt strip. If the shoes need it, carefully apply sole-edge dressing (available from any reputable cobbler). If you get it on the uppers, it will stain them permanently. Let edge dressing dry before going any further. Apply polish, using a circular rubbing motion. Don’t put too much on – you’ll only have to remove it later! Work the polish into the leather, the more you rub, the better. Let the polish dry. It should take about ten minutes. Buff the entire shoe with a polishing brush. For extra gleam, hold the shoe between your knees and buff the toe vigorously with a lint-free cloth.
Suede can be cleaned with a clean soft brush (like a toothbrush), or you can buy special erasers (rubber suede brush) to remove stains and dirt. Raise the nap on suede by applying steam from a steam iron from about 10 inches away. Also special brass-bristle brushes are available or a rubber bristled brush, to raise the nap after cleaning. A protective non-silicone finish (like Scotchgard or Meltonian Water and Stain Protector, Nubuck spray) sprayed on new suede shoes will help repel water and stains.
To clean nubuck (brushed leather similar to suede, but with a finer nap) treat the shoes with water repellent, Nubuck Spray – use rubber-bristle brush (not nylon) or a suede bar. Use the bar damp to clean and condition, and use the brush to lift the nap. Apply the spray liberally once the shoe is cleaned and leave to absorb into the suede before wear.
For oily casual leather we suggest an oiled leather cream from Woly (Ref. 1478). Apply after cleaning the shoe (as Nubuck) removing any loose dirt. Use a sponge or rubber brush to loosen the leather before applying.
Samuel Windsor now stock a superb range of British made shoe care products including polish, creams, cleaners and sprays for superior protection. For more information on how to take care of men's leather shoes, and an encyclopedic collection of shoe knowledge, visit the Samuel Windsor blog.