Suede & Nubuck

Suede is simply the reverse side of a calfskin hide. It's soft and durable and, if cared for properly, will potentially last for decades. With the right products, suede shoes are actually easier to maintain than calf leather.

Nubuck has a texture similar to suede, but a little smoother. Rather than being the reverse side of the hide, nubuck is created by finely sanding the top (smooth) side of the calfskin.

Basic Care

Materials

Suede is simply the reverse side of a calfskin hide. It is soft and durable and, if cared for properly, will potentially last for decades. With the right products (think Saphir), suede shoes are actually easier to maintain than calf leather.

 

  1. The most important part of maintaining your suede shoes is to brush them regularly with a proper suede brush. This is ideally done before and after every wear.
  2. Insert shoe trees into your shoes. Taking each shoe, brush firmly with the stiff-bristled suede brush; keep in mind that the objective is both to remove impurities such as dust and dirt, as well as to fluff up the nap of the suede.
  3. When you are not wearing your suede shoes it is useful to keep them in their cloth bag so as to avoid a build-up of dust.
 

Most people think that water ruins suede, this is not true. Water only ruins cheap suede, which is thin material that has been split from the full thickness hide.  High quality suede, like leather, is just skin, so it can dry out. Water can remove some of the oils in suede, so it is especially important to nourish your suede if it has recently been wet. Saphir Renovateur Spray, which is almond oil based, is the perfect product to keep your suede shoes well nourished. This will also provide some water resistance, but for extra protection Super Invulner works a treat.

 

  1. Insert shoe trees into your shoes and brush vigorously with your suede brush, ensuring that the nap is well fluffed.
  2. Taking your Saphir Renovateur Spray, hold 10-15cm away from your shoe and apply an even coat, taking care not to completely saturate the suede.
  3. Allow the shoes 24 hours to dry, then brush firmly once more with your suede brush.
  4. The Renovateur Spray has almond oil as one of its key ingredients and will waterproof your shoes. However if you are worried about inclement weather you can also apply a coat of Saphir Invulner.
  5. Hold the Invulner 20-30cm away from your shoes and apply an even coat. Allow 30 mins for the spray to dry.
 

Cleaning and restoration: Every so often your suede will need a full overhaul. Scuffs and marks are an inevitable result of wearing your shoes as they should be worn, so fortunately there are ways of restoring suede to its former glory. Saphir Omni'Nettoyant is a specially-formulated shampoo that will clean up the suede, getting rid of general dirt as well as most marks and stains. Remember to always spray your suede shoes with the Renovateur Spray after shampooing them, because many of the oils will have been removed in the cleaning process.

 

  1. If there are any particularly troubling dry stains on your shoes, use the Gommadin Suede Eraser to work them out. Hold the eraser firmly and rub the stain as you would with a normal eraser. Don’t worry about it crumbling, this is normal; you can simply brush the shavings away when you are done.
  2. Pour the Omni'Nettoyant into a small bowl and dip the product's accompanying brush into the liquid.
  3. Using your dauber brush, work the solution into each of your shoes. Use a circular motion, much as you would when polishing your calfskin shoes. Work up a generous lather.
  4. Next refill the bowl with warm water and, with a clean brush, go over each shoe using the warm water until a lather is no longer being produced. Pat dry with a towel, then leave to dry completely overnight.
  5. Once the shoes are completely dry, insert your shoe trees and, taking your suede brush, brush firmly to fluff up the nap.
  6. Follow steps 2-5 of the Monthly Care section
  7. Finally, give your shoes one last brush in order to restore a silky fluff to the nap.
 

Nubuck has a texture similar, though finer, than suede. Rather than being the reverse side of the hide, nubuck is created by finely sanding the top (smooth) side of the calfskin until a fine nap is produced. Nubuck has a far more delicate surface than suede. Using a suede brush on nubuck will damage the fine surface, you should use a crepe brush to care for your nubuck shoes.

Other than using a crepe brush instead of a suede brush, you can care for nubuck by following the suede care guide. Take note that it is particularly important for you to protect your nubuck shoes with Saphir Super Invulner.