How to Protect Leather Shoes From Peeling

Leather shoes have been a staple of the fashion world for centuries. They come in many colors, styles, and brands for all budgets. Besides being durable and comfortable, leather shoes are also stylish and go with just about any outfit.

What causes leather shoes to peel?

Sadly, leather shoes peel after 3 to 4 years due to wear and tear and poor maintenance. The drying of leather is also a key factor that causes peeling. Peeling compromises the appearance of your shoes and can permanently damage the leather.

Faux leather and bonded leather are more prone to peeling than real leather. Fortunately, there are a few ways to prevent shoes from peeling. In this article, we will share five tips on how to protect leather shoes from peeling.

How to protect leather shoes from peeling infographic.

Apply Shoe Polish on a Regular Basis

Applying polish on faux leather shoes.

The most effective way to protect leather shoes from peeling is to apply a leather shoe polish on a regular basis. Leather polish moisturizes the leather preventing it from peeling and drying out.

The leather polish also forms a protective barrier against moisture and dirt. In addition, it helps restore the natural luster of the leather and makes them look new again.

The best way to apply leather polish is by using a clean cloth and rubbing the polish in circles until the entire surface of the leather has been covered. Allow an extra few minutes for the polish to dry before putting your shoes on.

Tip – Always clean your shoes with a soft cloth before applying polish.

Polish comes in a variety of colors and brands, so you can find one to match the color of your shoes.

Before you use a polish on the entire shoe, please test it out in an inconspicuous spot. Many of these polishes contain harsh chemicals like turpentine that will dry out the leather over time which can lead to peeling. So, make sure that you use a shoe polish that doesn’t contain any harsh chemicals.

We recommend applying shoe polish at least once a week to protect your shoes from peeling.

Alternatives to Shoe Polish

Bonded leather shoes with wax polish.

If you don’t want to use leather shoe polish, then you can use other products such as – 

  1. Leather conditioner
  2. Leather wax polish
  3. Shoe shinner (use daily)
  4. Shoe cream

Most people only think to use these products once per season, but they can actually prolong the life of your footwear. To maximize their benefits, you should apply leather shoe care products every other week.

Avoid using wax-based products on faux leather. Wax will stain the leather.

Store Your Shoes Away From Direct Sunlight

Shoes stored in a dark environment.

One of the best ways to protect the leather from peeling is by keeping it out of direct sunlight. When you’re not wearing your shoes, make sure that you store them in a cool, dry area. Direct sunlight can cause the leather to dry and peel over time. 

If you don’t intend to wear your shoes for an extended period of time, a fabric shoe bag is the most suitable option for storing them. These bags have small holes on the sides and bottom to allow air to circulate around your shoes. In addition, they prevent mold and mildew from growing.

Avoid Putting Your Shoes in Extreme Temperatures

Faux leather shoes placed in the sunlight.

Natural materials such as leather can be affected by high temperatures. When leather is exposed to high temperatures, it can cause it to crack and peel. Faux leather is highly affected by high temperatures.

To prevent your shoes from peeling, don’t leave them near a heat source such as a fireplace or radiator. If you have wet shoes, do not use a hairdryer or heat gun to dry them. A heat source can permanently damage the leather, as well as alter its color.

Avoid Using Harsh Chemicals on Your Shoes

Old faux leather shoes with wrinkles on it.

You should not use harsh chemicals to clean or shine your shoes. Chemicals such as alcohol, acetone, bleach, or ammonia will dry out the leather and cause them to peel over time. 

If your shoes get dirty, we recommend using a damp cloth to clean them. Please do not drench the soft cloth with water, as this will result in water stains.

Alternatively, you can use mild detergent or soap to remove stubborn stains, such as salt stains. After cleaning them with soap or detergent, make sure to polish your shoes with a conditioner once they are dried.

If you live in a snow cover area and are tired of salt stains, check our guide on how to protect leather shoes from snow and salt.

Keep Your Shoes Separately From Other Shoes

Bonded leather and faux leather shoes stored separately.

If your shoes are stacked up at the bottom of a closet or under your bed, they will probably scratch and scuff each other. These scratches and scuffs will eventually cause the leather to peel. 

To prevent this, we recommend keeping your leather shoes in a separate shoebox or in a shoe rack. By doing this, they will not be scratched and scuffed.

A pair of cedar shoe tree.

When you’re not wearing your leather shoes, insert a cedar shoe tree before you store them. This will fill up the space inside your leather shoes and keep them in shape.

Cedar shoe trees prevent the stretching or shrinking of leather that leads to scuffs and peeling. In addition, it absorbs moisture and prevents the growth of mildew.

A cedar shoe tree is not the only way to protect your leather shoes from scuffs. Check out our guide on how to protect leather shoes from scuffs.

The Bottom Line

There are many different ways to protect leather shoes, but the most important thing is that you take care of them. If you follow these simple tips, your leather shoes will last much longer.

To maximize the longevity of your footwear, it is highly recommended that you apply these leather shoe care products to your shoes regularly. You should never use abrasive materials like rubbing alcohol to clean or shine leather shoes.

Lastly, it is essential to store your leather shoes away from direct sunlight or other heat sources to prevent the leather from drying out or peeling. You need to be cautious not to stack leather shoes on top of other footwear to avoid scuffs and scratches.

We hope this article has provided you with enough insight into how to protect your leather shoes from peeling.

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