Caring for Your Dress Shoes

caring for your dress shoes

Shoes have the ability to make or break an outfit and how others perceive you – so keeping them in pristine condition is a must.

We’ve all been there. You purchase a new pair of shoes, and at first, you clean off every little smudge – until your busy schedule gets in the way and you forget to care for the shoes that get you from A to B.

In this guide, Anatomic & Co discuss a number of easy ways to care for your leather and suede dress shoes.

Caring for and cleaning your dress shoes

caring for your dress shoes

Shoe Polish – a good shoe polish will prolong the lifespan of your leather shoes, ensuring that they always look new.

Waterproofing – when it rains, salt can penetrate your leather or suede shoes and cause permanent stains. This may also lead to cracking if exposed to excessive moisture. So if you live in a rainy climate, we highly recommend that you waterproof your dress shoes. Once a month should do the trick, but if you notice that water stops running off the surface, then it’s time for a new coat.

Brushing – gently brushing your shoes will remove debris and dirt off of the surface.

Shoe Trees – placing a shoe tree inside your dress shoe will help preserve their shape and lengthen the lifespan.

Shoe Horn – dress shoes are usually stiff, which is where a shoe horn will come in handy. This will help prevent the back of your shoes getting bent when you put them on.

Leather dress shoes

cleaning and caring for your dress shoes

If cared for correctly, leather shoes can last a lifetime. Leather shoes are most likely your trusted going out, work and special occasion shoes, which means that are subject to so much wear and tear. That’s why you need to show them some love. Here’s a quick step by step guide to caring for your leather dress shoes:

  1. Gently brush your leather shoes with a horsehair brush to remove any dust or debris
  2. Wipe the shoes with a warm sponge to make the leather more porous
  3. Apply a waterproofing compound
  4. Lastly, apply shoe polish in a circular motion until you get a shine

Additionally, condition your shoes once a month to moisten the leather and prevent cracking.

Suede shoes

cleaning and caring for your dress shoes

Despite what you may think, keeping your suede shoes clean and crisp doesn’t require all that much effort. With a bit of regular upkeep, you can keep them looking box-fresh. Here’s how to take care of your suede shoes:

  1. Use a suede protector to protect your shoes from stains (suede stains easily, so clean any spills on them immediately)
  2. Use a suede brush to gently clean off any dirt and stains
  3. Spray the shoes monthly with a waterproofing solution (suede shoes do not like water)

For stains that have already set in, try using a solution of two parts water and one part vinegar to try and reverse the damage.


cleaning and caring for your dress shoes 2

On that note

Even the most expensive shoes in the world won’t do anything for you in the long run if they are neglected. Always pay more attention to your dress shoes, because everyone else is.


Are your shoes in need of a little TLC? What’s the secret to keeping your shoes looking fit for a king? And how do you get rid of stains and scuffs on suede boots?

Here are our answers to some commonly asked questions on how to keep your Anatomic shoes and boots as perfect as the day you bought them.


Q. Wax or cream: what’s the best way to shine my leather shoes?

A. We’re quite traditional in our shoe care maintenance and both will come in handy. But a quick spit and polish simply won’t do the trick! We recommend plenty of elbow grease and the following steps:

  1. Remove any shoelaces first then remove loose dirt from your Anatomic leather shoes with a brush. Dirt too dried on? Then gently scrape off with the back of a knife or else use a moist cloth. Leave shoes to dry completely.
  2. True shoe cleaning aficionados will then remove the old polish with nail varnish remover on cotton wool. You have to be very careful that you don’t damage the leather finish, so do use sparingly if you follow this step.
  3. Shoe-polishNourish the leather to prevent it from drying out by applying a good leather conditioner, such as mink oil, with a cloth. Mink oil is renowned for making leather boots and shoes water resistant and keeping them in excellent condition. (If your shoes are brown, the mink oil may darken the leather so it’s a good idea to try out a small area first.) Work in the mink oil evenly and sparingly then leave the shoes for ten minutes before buffing off the excess with a clean cloth.
  4. Next step is to shine the shoes to a virtual mirror polish by using an oiled wax. Although many people resort to applying this with a cloth, we always recommend a welt brush as it’s so much easier to work the wax into the stitching and any brogue detailing (if applicable). Apply the wax all over the shoe – and don’t forget the sides and heels. Leave for ten minutes so that the shoe can fully absorb the wax.
  5. Lastly, buff your shoes well with a brush and then a cloth, taking care to get rid of any excess wax on the stitching.


Q. How can I keep my suede shoes as good as new?

Suede-brushA. For suede shoes, simply use a special suede brush to get rid of any dirt. To ensure a thorough clean, use a bespoke suede cleaner or shampoo and apply in a circular motion. Leave your suede leather shoes in a cool place to dry thoroughly (in other words, do not leave on top of the radiator) then use a hard bristle suede brush again to straighten or fluff up the suede pile.

Finally, evenly apply a waterproofing suede protector spray to protect your suede shoes and boots from rain and from dirt penetrating through. It’s a good idea to do this once or twice a month – always follow the instructions on the spray.


Q. I’ve heard you can steam suede shoes to remove any stains. Is that true?

A. Yes, you can easily use a kettle or iron on a stain as this opens up the pores and makes the suede easier to clean. You can also buy a special suede eraser to get rid of marks or gently scrub away a recent stain with an emery board or fine grit sandpaper.


Q. Is it an old wives’ tale that you should never wear the same pair of shoes on consecutive days?

A. It’s always advisable to leave a day in between wearing the same pair of shoes as leather takes about a day to dry out from rain or foot perspiration. (If you really love a style, why not invest in two pairs!)


Q. Wooden or foam shoe trees – which are best?

Shoe-treeA. Shoes that aren’t worn for a while will lose their shape so we always recommend investing in a well-made shoe tree. Wooden shoe trees speed up the shoe drying time because the wood helps to absorb the moisture. We also recommend foam shoe trees for travelling.

Insert the shoe tree as soon as you remove your shoes while the leather is still warm and moist from wear. A shoe tree will also stop the soles from bending upwards.


Q. Is it true that Anatomic will replace my worn out laces and insoles for free?

A. Absolutely! We want you to enjoy your Anatomic shoes and boots for as long as possible. If they need a new lease of life by replacing the laces and soles, we’ll send you some for free. Just call our customer services team on 0844 2258 222.

Just like your Anatomic shoes, quality matters. So always use the very best shoe care products you can buy. If you have a shoe care question, why not email us at and we’ll be happy to help.

Booted. But not necessarily suited

Boots and suits; the two may not be an obvious pairing, but this season they’re the style combo.

We’re not talking about clunky, chunky treads in rubber soles and endless lace holes. Those only work with clunky, chunky clothes. The informal boot has evolved into a formal choice that’s de rigeur. The secret lies in using soft yet durable leathers and boots with a host of secret weapons, such as sheepskin lining for softness, warmth and moisture absorption and antibacterial layers for foot hygiene. If a high quality thread is used for stitching, it will have a waxed coating to stop water penetrating.

Whether you work in an office or your job takes you outside, always look after your footwear during these wet and windy months and they’ll do you justice for years to come. Keep the leather nourished and waterproofed with polish as cold weather can quickly dry out the leather and create cracks. For suede, use a good quality waterproofing spray.


Pitch perfect

Having an all singing all dancing presentation isn’t the only way to win that juicy new piece of business. Chemistry counts and first impressions matter – in all business matters.

A well-cut suit is also an instant elevator to style and confidence. It speaks volumes about your business approach, your personality and your career. David Beckham and Benedict Cumberbatch, among other celebs, all prove that wearing a suit needn’t make you look stuffy. Boots can mean the business and this season, there’s no excuse not to wear them at an interview, presentation or simply every winter’s day to the office.


Think a boot lacks the finer points of an office work shoe? Think again. We’re not talking cowboy boots here. They really do work with tailored trousers and best, of all, with thicker materials such as flannel or a heavier wool.

Break out from the mould: you don’t have to stay conservative and only match black to black. Brown boots look great with a navy suit. If you really want to be bang up to date, go for shades of burgundy and oxblood.

Boots for business 

Panorama >


Colombo >


Dress down Friday (without dressing down at all)

Friday, and the promise of a glorious weekend lies ahead. And the appetiser to that is a more relaxed day at work, free of the constraints of tie and collar.

Yes, casual clothing should make you feel more comfortable but you still need to project a professional image. Keep a spare jacket to hand in case of last minute meetings. And make sure those boots are well polished.

For many, dress down Friday means dressing down in jeans, jeans, jeans. Where’s that spirit of adventure? Also, jeans can be anything but comfortable. How about cords or moleskin or flannel trousers? All of them are not only softer but warmer too. This is also the opportunity to inject colour into winter by staying away from black and opting for boots in chestnut or rich brown tones.

For some, dress down Friday still means a suit but with an open neck shirt and no tie. Casual yet classy and James Bond-suave.

Boots for casual but smart

Nova coffee >


Colorado burgundy >



In the media

The pavements of Shoreditch and Soho set the style dial when it comes to what a fashion-savvy media type should be sporting on their feet.

“But, what if I’m off on a photo shoot in deepest Wales at 5am?’ we hear you cry. If you’re job involves being on location or directing a film based on a Thomas Hardy novel, two words come to mind: warm, dry.


Marry practicality and comfort with a generous helping of sturdy and sure-of-foot sole, and you’re on to a winner. Soles need to be rubber not leather, with a robust tread that’s durable enough to brave all elements – but without making the boot so heavy that it’s uncomfortable to wear. Pair with jeans, and layer with t-shirt, shirt and jumper flannel shirts and an overcoat worthy of an Arctic adventure.

Putting up with rain and sleet is bad enough: the last thing you want is to have to break in a pair of new boots. They should feel like a pair of familiar friends from the first moment you put them on. Get twice the mileage out of your boots by choosing leather that you can polish to a sheen to wear if and when you need to be in the agency, office or at your premiere.

Boots for creative types

Parana >


Garibaldi >


Downtown or down time

If you’re lucky enough to work in a relaxed environment in town or from home, a great pair of boots can always be dressed up or dressed down for any occasion.

Whether commuting to work or getting some air for a change of scenery, the bleak mid-winter needn’t be bleak at all. Desert boots and Chelsea boots are cut higher up the ankle, affording greater protection. They’re perfect with straight leg jeans as the hem will cover the boot in a neat straight line.

Again, a beefy but lightweight sole will see you from home to train station to office, nimbly sidestepping puddles and without any slip ups en route. (In inclement weather, consider keeping more formal footwear in the office so that it’s free from the perils of rain spatters and slush marks, and commuting instead in smart leather trainers.)

Stay snug. Stay smug, knowing that the secret to warm toes lies in boots lined with soft sheepskin. Ankle padding will also make your ankles feel like they’re in an enveloping hug.

Boots for keeping out winter

Uberaba >


Santos >


You know how toboggans sell out at the first chance of snow? Or bags of logs are nowhere to be found at local petrol stations when you want a fire on a chilly nights? It’s the same with great winter boots. Don’t leave it too late to invest in a pair – or you may be left out in the cold.