Caring for Your Shoes

Shoe Care

We want you to get the most out of your Softstar shoes. Follow the guide below for tips on keeping your shoes clean and maintained.

Click these links to jump to tips for specific materials:

 



Care Tips for Full Grain (smooth) Leather Shoes

Includes Sublime, Nova, Shiny, LITE, Plonge and Vegetable-Tanned Leathers

WHEN THEY FIRST ARRIVE:

Softstar Shoes are made from eco-friendly leathers tanned in the USA. Leather is a natural product and some variation in texture and hide markings is to be expected. Because we use leather colored with non-toxic food grade dyes, there will likely be some initial color transfer to your socks or skin if your shoes become damp. This will decrease with use, but we don't recommend wearing your new Softstars with your favorite white socks the first time you take them for a spin.

If your shoes are a little snug at first in the toe box area, you can gently stretch them by stuffing the toe box with a dry cloth. Push the cloth tightly into the front of the shoe and let sit stuffed overnight to stretch. Do not use a damp cloth as the water can stain the leather or innersole of some leather types, rendering it non-returnable.

MAINTENANCE:

Most full grain leather we use is naturally water resistant, but our special vegetable-tanned leather (available only by custom selection on some of our design-your-own shoes) is a "naked" leather and will stain from water alone. You can clean shoes as needed with water dampened cloth and let air dry, but please note if you do this on vegetable-tanned leather then you will need to wet/stain the entire shoe to avoid water marks. Condition the leather as often as desired with any quality leather dressing, but be careful to keep it away from the edges of your rubber soles. Do not use mink oil on your shoes, as it can degrade the adhesion on bonded soles and cause the sole to separate from your shoe over time. We highly recommend Bee Natural Amore for general conditioning or Rain & Snow or Nikwax Full Grain Waterproofing on smooth leather for enhanced water resistance. The color on shiny metallic shoes will eventually patina with use into an antique wear look, which can be accelerated with repeated use to water and high wear (e.g. scuffing toes).

WASHING:

We do not recommend frequent washing of any leather product as it strips the leather of it's natural oils and tends to dry stiffer. For all of our leathers (except vegetable-tanned) you can clean by hand with a damp cloth, or if needed you can hand wash your leather shoes using a gentle shampoo and cool water. Let them air dry. Do not attempt to dry your shoes by exposing them to high heat, such as a clothes dryer, a hair dryer or by leaving them on a radiator or next to a fire. Doing so may damage leather or rubber soles.

We are often asked if our shoes can be washed in a washing machine. While not recommended as a normal course of action, when in dire straits the Elves have been known to toss a pair of shoes in the machine and generally have had good results. Just don't mix them with any other item because of color bleeding. Shoes with sheepskin can take 3-4 days to air dry if fully submerged in water, but you can speed up the drying by stuffing with old newspapers and replacing the paper twice a day.

 



Care Tips for Suede and Nubuck Shoes

WHEN THEY FIRST ARRIVE:

Softstar Shoes are made from eco-friendly, tanned in USA leathers. Leather is a natural product and some variation in texture and markings is to be expected. Because we use natural food grade dyes in our leather, there will likely be some initial color transference to your socks or skin if your shoes become damp. This will decrease with use, but please do not wear your new Soft Stars with your favorite white socks the first time you take them for a spin!

If your shoes are a little snug at first across the top of the toes, you can gently stretch them by stuffing the toe box with a slightly damp rag. Push the cloth tightly into the front of the shoe (don't worry, you won't hurt it). Let the stuffing sit in the shoes overnight to stretch the leather.

MAINTENANCE:

Use a suede brush to remove dirt. You can also choose to use a suede/nubuck leathercare product to protect against stains and water absorbstion (we recommend Nikwas Nubuck & Suede Proof). While not necessary, it will help keep your shoes looking new over time. Do not use generic leather care products on suede, but only those specifically formulated for suede. Products for full grain or smooth leather will be too oily and may permanently darken and mat suede fibers. Please do not use mink oil on any Softstar shoes as it will mat the fibers of our natural leather and will break down the adhesive soling on styles that have bonded soles.

WASHING:

We do not recommend frequent washing of any leather product because it will strip the leather of it's natural oils and cause it to dry stiffer. When a suede brush is not enough, you can use a damp cloth or hand wash your suede shoes with a gentle shampoo and cool water, then let them air dry. Do not attempt to dry your shoes by exposing them to high heat, such as a clothes dryer, a hair dryer or by leaving them on a radiator or next to a fire. Doing so may damage leather or rubber soles.

We are often asked if our shoes can be washed in a washing machine. While not recommended as a normal course of action, when in dire straits the Elves have been known to toss a pair of shoes in the machine and generally have had good results—just don't mix them with any other item because of color bleeding. Be sure to give your wet shoes ample time to air dry. Shoes with sheepskin can take 3-4 days to air dry if fully submerged in water, but you can speed up the drying process by stuffing them with old newspapers and replacing the paper twice a day.

 



Care Tips for Sheepskin Boots

Softstar Phoenix boots are made from genuine, high quality sheepskin.

While genuine sheepskin is incredibly cozy and beautiful, it is also delicate and will stretch under strain. When wearing your Phoenix boots, use care to avoid stepping off the back or sides of your heels while you walk as doing so repeatedly can affect the shape of the boots and alter the way they fit. The best way to prevent this is by insuring you purchase the correct size. For adults, we recommend selecting a boot size that fits very snugly at first, as they will stretch over time. For children, growing room is important, so a little extra space is recommended. If possible, have your kids wear their boots the first few times on dryer days to give them time to form to their feet.

The boot uppers are made from eco-friendly leathers that are tanned in the USA. Our leather hides are natural products and some variation in texture and markings is to be expected. If you need to clean your boots, wash gently by hand with a damp cloth and let them air dry.

Condition the leather as often as desired with any quality leathercare product, but take care not to get any oils on the edges of the rubber soles. Mink oil, specifically, will degrade the sole adhesion and can lead to separation of soling over time—we do not recommend the use of mink oil anywhere on our boots, as it can eventually seep down to the sole. For general conditioning we recommend Bee Natural Amore, For enhanced moisture protectoin we recommend Bee Natural Rain and Snow or Nikwax Full Grain Waterproofing. Be careful to use these products only on the smooth leather portion of the shoes and not on the suede cuffs (leathercare products designed for the full grain leather uppers may permanently darken suede). It is not necessary to apply a suede protectant or waterproofer to the cuffs, but doing so may help keep that portion of the boot looking clean. If you do choose to add extra protection to the suede, be careful to use a product specifically made for suede leather.

Sheepskin boots can take 3-4 days to air dry if fully soaked with water. You can speed up the drying process by stuffing the boots with old newspapers and replacing the paper twice a day. If they become this wet, be very careful to avoid wearing them again until fully dry because the leather will be more susceptible to stretching and the fit may alter. Do not attempt to dry your shoes by exposing them to high heat, such as a clothes dryer, a hair dryer or by leaving them on a radiator or next to a fire. Doing so may damage leather or rubber soles.

 



Care Tips for Vegan Shoes

Softstar vegan shoes are made from Ultrasuede™ synthetic leather. All are very durable, made from recycled materials and are machine washable. Yes, that's right—you can throw your shoes in the washer whenever needed. We recommend air drying them, but if you have a drying rack that inserts in your dryer, then you can use it on light heat.