How to clean, care & protect leather shoes

For shoes various types of leather are processed. Often it’s difficult to distinguish the different leather types. The main groups are pigmented leather (coloured surface coating), aniline leather (porous smooth leather), pull up, suede and nubuck.
How to distinguish the smooth leather types? The easiest way to find out is by rubbing a drop of water in a hidden area. If the leather is porous, water will penetrate and darken the surface. If water stays on the surface, there is a protective coating (pigmented leather) on the leather. Pull up leather is a leather with an oil or grease based coating on the surface (waxed leather, oiled leather). Light lines can easily be scratched on such surfaces and can easily be wiped away again. Nubuck and suede have a velvet-like surface. Nubuck is much finer. Some shoes have leather soles which require a special care treatment.


Pigmented smooth leather uppers are the most common and the easiest to clean and maintain. For the care of smooth leather uppers of shoes and boots, we recommend COLOURLOCK Elephant Leather Preserver. It makes especially hiking and hunting shoes water repellent which is important in wet weather.

All kind of dirt can be cleaned with LEDER FEIN Leather Shoe Cleaner . Mix Washing Agent 1:1 with water and brush off the dirt. Always clean the complete surface and both shoes. Leave to dry in shoe trees. The detergent also acts as a disinfectant, pH-regulating and odour-reducing.
For minor surface damage, which cannot be removed with shoe polish, ask a local shoemaker for help. A change of the colour can be done with the Spray Can Colour for coated leather. Please refer to the appropriate manual for the colour spray.


Aniline leather is porous smooth leather. Liquids easily penetrate into the surface and can cause permanent stains. Such leather is very sensitive and unsuitable for bad weather.

Protect such leather with COLOURLOCK Waterproofing for Leather & Textiles. This protection will not last forever and hence regular preventive care is the best protection! Avoid wearing shoes with such leather on rainy days.

Certain stains can be removed but they are rarely removeable using standard cleaning products. Depending on the cause of the stain and the type of leather, varying products and solutions may be available. Please contact us with photos and as much possible information about how the stain was caused so we can assist you. Wipe fresh stains carefully with little pressure and without smudging them. Fresh oil stains can be removed with COLOURLOCK Grease Absorber Spray. Please refer to the appropriate manual.

Renewing the colour or colour changes are difficult on aniline leather. This would mean a pigment coating on the leather which destroys the character of aniline leather. But the colour can be refreshed with coloured shoe polish.


Suede and nubuck leather are sensitive. This is the natural characteristic of this type of leather. Particularly in lighter coloured leathers you can immediately see stains, dust or abrasion. Therefore, such leather has to be protected. Despite all the protection it is best not to use these type of leathers during wet weather.

Suede and nubuck shoes should be regularly brushed with the COLOURLOCK Leather Cleaning Brush. Protect such leather types with COLOURLOCK Waterproofing for Leather & Textiles. Old and dry leather should be nourished with COLOURLOCK Aniline Protector Spray.

Stains and dust can be brushed off. More stubborn dirt can be removed with the COLOURLOCK Leather Sanding Pad. However, if it doesn’t lead to the desired result it is important to stop in time to avoid bigger damages! Remove heavy soiling with COLOURLOCK Leather Shoe Cleaner. Mix Washing Agent 1:1 with water and brush off the dirt. Clean the complete surface of both shoes. Rinsing the cleaning residues is not necessary. The cleaner contains oils to keep the leather soft. Leave to dry in shoe trees. The detergent also acts as a disinfectant, pH-regulating and odour-reducing. Brush the leather in the end.

Fresh oil stains can be removed with COLOURLOCK Grease Absorber Spray. Please refer to the appropriate manual.

It is rarely possible to refresh colours successfully on Suede & Nubuck leathers. Colour changes are impossible. Ask experienced shoemakers for help.


Waxed or oiled leathers are prone to traces of use, but in most cases they can easily be removed. Brush such areas with Elephant Leather Preserver. This treatment removes the scratches and makes the leather water repellent.

 Remove heavy soiling with LEDER FEIN Leather Shoe Cleaner. Mix Shoe Cleaner 1:1 with water and brush off the dirt. Clean the complete surface of both shoes. Rinsing the cleaning residues is not necessary. The cleaner contains oils to keep the leather soft. Leave to dry in shoe trees. The detergent also acts as a disinfectant, pH-regulating and odour-reducing. A change of colour is not possible in waxed or oiled leather. But the colour can be refreshed with coloured shoe polish.


Leather soles become dry and brittle with the time. They get wet on rainy days. Therefore, soles should be maintained from the start! The LEDER FEIN Leather Sole Oil significantly increases the lifetime, reduces friction and makes the sole waterproof. The first application with a sponge or cloth should be intensive to fill the leather. Later treatments can be done more sparingly.


OPPRESSIVE SHOES: Unfortunately, there is no sure solution for tight shoes or bruises in shoes. Such shoes can be treated with LEDER FEIN Leather Shoe Cleaner. Mix Washing Agent 1:1 with water and wet such areas from inside and wear and use the shoes. As a result, the leather will yield slightly. If stains get visible on the surface, immediately dry them with cold air of a hair dryer. Also experienced shoemaker can be asked for help. They have more tricks to solve such problems. But also they cannot perform any miracles.

MARKING SHOES: It occurs that shoes colour socks and skin. This is caused by insufficiently fixed dyes of the materials inside the shoe. Unfortunately there is no easy solution. In case of very strong discolouration, you should try to claim the shoes in the store. Tips like the use of hair spray or water repellents to reduce the effect don’t work. However, strong discolouration is a clear deficiency and should not be accepted.

When there is no possibility to claim such shoes, you can try to reduce the effect with LEDER FEIN Leather Fixative. Wear gloves using the Fixative. Wet a cloth with Fixative and wipe over the affected surfaces. Let dry and repeat. Repeat until no further improvement can be achieved. As result, the discolouration should at least be reduced. But wear dark socks the first weeks to avoid further damage.

Recommended products for cleaning and protecting leather shoes

Leather Cleaning Brush normal
The Leather Cleaning Brush is ideal for:  Using with the Mild or Strong Leather Cleaner to remove ingrained dirt Using with the COLOURLOCK Cleaner for Artificial Leather to remove ingrained dirt from vinyl or plastics Brushing up nubuck and suede Polishing shoes and boots with COLOURLOCK Elephant Leather Preserver Amount: 1 piece. One brush is usually sufficient for cleaning a car interior or a set of furniture multiple times.With its durable bristles and high-quality wooden handle, the Colourlock Leather Cleaning Brush is great for removing dirt and stains effectively and gently from leather car seats, sofas, chairs, clothing and handbags. It can also be used to clean Alcantara and other Textile materials as long as it is used gently.
Brush Size

Leather Sanding Pad
The Leather Sanding Pad is ideal for:  Smoothing rough areas before applying COLOURLOCK Leather Fresh or COLOURLOCK Liquid Leather. Cleaning greasy areas on nubuck and suede. Careful sanding during professional colouring in the workshop. Amount: 1 piece. One pad is sufficient for a complete set of furniture or car interior.; Pack of 5 Application Rub the leather gently with the pad in a circular motion. Avoid gouging and deep scratches. Both faces of the pad can be used. It can be washed out with water.  Before colouring nappa leather, the surfaces should be sanded carefully. Our Leather Sanding Pad is ideal for this step.

Variants from £5.03*
Elephant Leather Preserver 125 ml
Ideal for the care of leather which is exposed to the weather, or for conserving extremely dry or antique leather.Designed for treating genuine "Pull Up" furniture leather (oiled leather). Do not use on Bycast or polyurethane-coated (PU) leather.ApplicationAlways test any products first on a hidden area in case they affect the colour.Rub some preserver onto a clean, soft piece of cloth and apply to the leather. If required, use the cloth to give a final polish. The fat is difficult to use when it’s cold, so be sure to work at room temperature or warm it slightly with a hair dryer.COLOURLOCK Elephant Leather Preserver protects and waterproofs all types of nappa leather.

Aniline Protector Spray Pump
The Aniline & Suede Protector is a care product with a complex UV-filters and antioxidants. It protects absorbent leather (Nubuck, Suede, Buffalo and Aniline Leather) from fading by sun and drying out. Regular care increases the gloss and lifespan of your leather.Amount: 200 ml

Waterproofing Leather & Textile, 200 ml, Aerosol Spray
The Waterproofing Spray is a gentle anti-stain protection for sensitive nubuck and suede leather as well as textiles. Available in 200 ml and 500 ml cans. Areas of application: Garments, shoes, cushions, bags, saddles, tents etc.ApplicationAlways test any products first on a hidden area in case they affect the colour.Spray on a clean and dry surface horizontally, from a distance of approx. 40 cm, thinly and evenly. Allow to dry. For heavily strained surfaces repeat as necessary. It should also be reapplied after cleaning. Apply according to instructions and warnings on the label.Important: The waterproofing will not make absorbent leather fully water-resistant. It increases protection, but the surfaces nevertheless have to be treated gently.
Available Sizes

Grease Absorber Spray 250 ml
When liquids, especially those containing oils and fats, sink into leather surfaces they can leave visible stains. Because these substances have soaked into the leather, normal surface cleaning will not remove the stains. It could actually make the damage worse.  TYPICAL APPLICATIONS Darkened areas on leather armrests, headrests and seats caused by contact with hair and skin. Where skin has been in contact with leather bags, particularly the handles. Greasy collars on leather clothing. Fresh oil or grease stains on porous leather. Successful stain removal depends on a number of factors: The fresher the stain, the easier it is to treat. Larger stains that have developed over several years are unlikely to be removed completely. The more the oils and fats are absorbed into the leather, the lower the chance of a successful cleaning treatment. A few sprinkled drops are easier to remove than a complete spilled bottle. Oils are less viscous than fats and are therefore more easily absorbed by the spray. Coloured or impure oils or fats (coloured lamp oil, waste oil, and grease from hinges or bicycle chains) or mixtures of various substances (sauces, ketchup, chocolate, cream, etc.) are more difficult to remove than pure oils or fats. Unsuccessful and incorrect cleaning can make the damage worse. If the Absorber Spray fails to solve the problem, please consult professional leather cleaning or repair companies. APPLICATION COLOURLOCK Grease Absorber Spray is a solvent-based spray mixed with an absorbent powder. The solvent dissolves oils and fats and the powder absorbs it. The spray can be used on all types of leather, but always test on a hidden area first.Apply the Absorber Spray on and around the stain and let dry completely. Remove the powder residue with a vacuum cleaner, brush or cloth. Repeat the process until the stain is eradicated or at least partially removed. Sometimes, after a few days, the spots can reappear because the oil was drawn deep into the leather and moved back to the surface. If this occurs, repeat the process.If any darkened areas remain, wait a few hours then stretch the surface to separate and open the leather fibres. Lightened areas can be darkened carefully by applying small amounts of care products. Always test first on a hidden area. Ask a specialist for advice if you are unsure.

Leather Shoe Cleaner
Dilute the washing agent with water 1:1. Apply the liquid with the Leather Cleaning Brush and brush off. Rinsing is not necessary. Let the shoes dry in a shoe tree. The washing agent has a disinfectant effect, regulates the pH value, and reduces smell.
Available Sizes

From £19.06*
Leather Fixative
Leather Fixative is used to fix colours on leather garments during washing. It can also be used for the removal of water stains on natural and aniline leather.Amount: 100 ml; 1 litre For leather-textile mixtures, multi-coloured garments, single-coloured garments in black, red, blue, bordeaux and green: Always pre-soak in a bath with Leather Fixative! Effect: Fixes tanning agents, colours and lipids inside the leather. Prevents the colours from washing out. Use preferably prior to washing.  Use in the bath, not in the washing machine. Add half a bottle to approx. 10 litres hand hot water, max. 30 °C until covered. Motorcycle suits: use a full bottle Soak the garment thoroughly for approx. 60 minutes, moving occasionally. Put it into the washing machine,without rinsing. Careful: The product contains natural volatile acids. Avoid skin contact, use rubber gloves. Wash off skin or eyes with generous amounts of water. Keep away from children.
Available Sizes

From £10.59*
Leather Sole Oil
The leather sole oil is the ideal leather care product for welted shoes with leather soles. Leather soles come in contact with moisture and must be maintained accordingly. The leather sole oil keeps the leather flexible, waterproofs it and increases the abrasion resistance of the sole.Amount: 150 ml. One bottle is sufficient to treat several pairs of shoes several times.APPLICATIONShake before use.Break-in new soles first so that the fiber structure of the outersole gets a bit rough and becomes receptive to the product. When using for the first time, apply the leather sole oil sparingly and evenly two to three times without completely soaking the leather. Apply with a cloth or brush until the sole is saturated. Repeat one-coat application two to four times a year. Caution: Leather oil can cause stains on porous upper leather.Attention!• If there are visible seams on the leather sole, please skip this area so that no oil gets into the shoe.• Do not overapply! Avoid oversaturating the sole, so that the oil does not go inside the shoe.• Do not treat the sole edge to avoid oil stains on the upper leather.• Porous leather soles are more sensitive to weather than rubber soles. Therefore wear weather-resistant footwear for snow and continuous rain instead of leather soled shoes.• This product is designed for outer shoe soles, it is not suitable for insoles.