How to Care for Women’s Leather Shoes: Your Ultimate Guide

by | December 17, 2021

You have bought a beautiful pair of pumps that made you feel like a million dollars? But how do you care for your women’s leather shoes, and keep them looking as new as the day you first pulled them out of the box?   There is a lot of information on how to care for men’s leather shoes out there. But not when it comes to women’s sexy sandals and beautiful boots. In fact, tips on how to maintain their sparkling box-fresh appearance are sparse. That’s why Lux Commune has put together this guide on how to care for your women’s leather shoes. From business like brogues to skyscraper stilettos we’ve got you covered.

The Different Types of Leather Used in Women’s Shoes

Leather is still the go-to material for shoes due to its durability and flexibility. We started making leather shoes over five thousand years ago. Back then, shoes were made from deer and bearskin to combat the snow in the Italian Alps.  The term ‘leather’ is just a catchall – it covers skins, tanning methods, and treatments that include all sorts of types of leather for every occasion. 

Pigskin Leather

Pigskin leather is one of the most popular used in the manufacture of quality footwear. It’s also used to make footballs. Now machines can produce enough pigskin to be chrome tanned which makes it even more durable. The process uses a solution of chemicals, acids, and salts (including chromium sulfate) to tan the hide.  In a day you can produce a piece of tanned leather. Did you know all the hides then come out looking light blue? (Known as “wet blue). Another aspect of pigskin is that it readily accepts dyes which means it can be produced in the wide variety of colors used for women’s shoes.

Calfskin Leather 

As the name suggests, calfskin comes from young cattle usually younger than four weeks old. It’s almost exclusively used in higher-quality men’s and women’s dress shoes. This means it can also be more than twice as expensive as regular side leather.

Full Grain Side Leather 

The most versatile leather, full-grain side leather is used for the uppers of shoes. It’s very versatile, durable, and malleable. And as well as that, it’s very breathable.

Exotic Leather 

As the name suggests, this leather comes from the skins of creatures classed as exotic. Crocodile, Ostrich, Shark, and Lizard all fall into this category for you.  You must be careful you are buying shoes made from these kinds of leathers from reputable sources. For example, crocodile leather should come from animals legally farmed in The South Pacific and in South Africa. Ostrich also comes from farm-raised animals (Australia is a producer) and are generally soft and very easy to shape.  The leather from sharks is extremely resistant and resilient.

Brazilian Calfskin Leather

The leather used to make Lux Commune leather shoes comes from calves that are brought up in the kindest and most sustainable conditions in Brazil. Designer Emily Cunich wanted to guarantee Lux Commune suppliers didn’t get any product from sources that endanger the natural environment, including the Amazon rainforest, as well as the people in the supply chain. You can check out the latest styles HERE.

What You Need to Clean and Care for Women’s Leather Shoes Before you even get started, check what type of leather your shoes are made of. Treated and untreated leather is cleaned in different ways.  Here are some go-to items to help with the cleaning process.  *A soft, clean toothbrush *A soft cloth *Shoe polish: cream and/or wash When it comes to large spots of mud, your toothbrush and soft cloth are the best option.  Use a soft damp cloth to gently buff other dirt spots.  Always use the same colour shoe polish as your shoes. And work across the shoe in a circular motion. Then use another cloth to remove the polish.  Then buff your shoes with a cloth or a brush.

Tips on How to Care for Women’s Leather Shoes

Keep your shoes freshly polished every six wears

Leather is natural and has the capacity to dry out. If you use a shoe polish every six wears or so it can help moisturize the leather while adding a layer of protection to repel dust and water.  Polish will also add the pizazz back in the colour. Plus, it can hide scuffs and blemishes.  You have a choice of using wax or cream. The difference is cream adds more moisture than wax, plus gives a natural finish. Meanwhile, wax polish can give better protection and a higher level of shine. If you want to get the best of both worlds, start with cream then use some wax. The best way to apply it is with a microfiber cloth with a circular motion. To add some more care, use a pig hairbrush to work it in deeper. Then you can finish with a polishing glove. Or buff and brush the shoe to bring back the shine.  

Don’t wear leather shoes every day

Leather, like your own skin, must breathe. When it comes to how to care for women’s leather shoes, it’s important to give your shoes a break.  Your feet sweat throughout the day and your leather shoes will absorb the moisture. When they’re damp, your shoes are more likely to stretch, scuff, crease, and stain. Having a 24-hour break between wears gives them a chance to recover.

Avoid wearing your shoes in damp weather 

This seems obvious. But if you wear your shoes in rain or snow or you are going to get them covered in stains. The water will also permeate through the sole. And abrasive surfaces like concrete will do more damage.  If you do get your women’s leather shoes wet, don’t dry them near a radiator or window. Heat and sunlight can crack and damage the leather. Put a shoe tree in them and let them dry on their own for a few days out of direct sunlight and heat

Store your shoes in a dust bag

Dust, over time, can really work its way into leather. By putting them in a fabric dust bag you can allow them to breathe and protect your shoes from degeneration.  Lux Commune provides you with a cotton dust bag when you purchase our shoes.  

How to Clean Different Types of Women’s Leather Shoes

Patent leather

For all your dominatrixes out there, knowing how to care for patent leather footwear is a must!  The good news is patent leather is much easier to clean than leather. While you can use patent leather cleaner, soapy water and a soft cloth will also do the job. Or you can put a small dab of petroleum jelly onto a soft cloth. By buffing the shoes, you will get a high shine.  And if you have scuff marks, nail polish remover works wonders, you can wipe over the scuff mark and use it to remove any black marks. Getting rid of dirt is easy. Use a damp rag.

Leather Boots

To remove dirt, you can simply give them a wipe with a damp rag. Saddle soap is also good and is specifically made for cleaning and protecting leather. First, rub a wet cloth into the soap until lather forms. Then, rub the soap into the boot. After waiting a few minutes, just wipe off with a damp, clean cloth. Scuffs can be taken off by dampening the corner of a soft cloth and dip it into some baking soda. Then you gently rub the scuffs until they disappear.


Suede is one of the more delicate types of women’s leather shoes to clean.  First, you need to spray the material with a suede protector liquid before wearing them. And if you know there is going to be rain, don’t wear them! If you miss the weather memo, use a suede brush to remove dry mud or dirt. Make sure you brush in one direction. If you brush back and forth it will damage the material. When it comes to scuffs, use a clean pencil rubber to remove them.


If you liked reading this blog, then check out our blog post on How to wear Brazilian leather without destroying the Amazon.


Emily is the founder and senior creative of Lux Commune. She grew up in country Australia, where her family raised sheep and cattle, producing wool and beef.  Emily created Lux Commune to share her passion for high-quality design, beautiful raw materials, sustainability and world cultures.

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