Footwear Maintenance

How To Protect Suede Shoes

products to protect suede shoes

There is nothing worse than investing in a nice pair of suede desert boots or tasselled loafers, only to spill water on them. Take it from someone who had done this in the past those unsightly water marks are not coming out easily.

What every man should do when they purchase a pair of suede shoes is take the necessary steps to protect them against all weather conditions. General ongoing cleaning will make sure your shoes will last as long as possible without looking dog-eared and tired.


To adequately waterproof your shoes, use a silicone based clear spray to protect the delicate nature of the material. Some spays may take a couple of applications to get right. If you can’t find a clear option pick one as close to the colour of your suede.

Please note that typical sprays have a lifetime of around two months from application dependent on footwear use.

Colour Block

Adding a colour block to your cleaning kit will soon become a valuable asset. It is near on impossible to avoid getting your suede shoes splattered with some kind of stain. The colour block will help to non-abrasively remove stains when used in a circular motion on the offending area.


A suede brush includes a small wire amongst the bristles to remove stains without damaging the natural nap of the suede. Ideally using the brush after each use will keep the suede material in the best condition possible.

Rule of thumb is the longer the suede than the softer the brush.


Allow the suede to breathe. Unlike leather shoes that can be stored away in boxes, suede will thrive if wrapped in natural, breathable cotton. Some shoes will come with a protective sleeve but a good cheat is a cotton pillowcase. Store the shoes away in your wardrobe inside a cotton pillowcase to prolong the life of the suede.

Final Thought

Remember if the above steps haven’t helped you avoid the summer stain then seek a professional to help you get the suede as close to original glory as possible. Do some research, read reviews and find a professional that has experienced in caring for shoes.


Sam Brady is a menswear expert, having worked in or around the field for the past 14 years. He has built up a keen eye for detail when it comes to the production of clothing, and is happy showcasing the craftsmanship of Savile Row and Jermyn St. But he understands the need for an interchangeable modern man’s wardrobe that mixes high street and luxury clothing.

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