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.
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).
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.