Footwear Care - Leather & Suede
Once you've made the leap and purchased your new Ridgemonts (which you really ought to continue to make leaps in), you may be keen to keep them clean. After all, not everyone is down with the 'yeah I've been frolicking on muddy trails all weekend, what did you get up to' look. Truth be told, our shoes hold up damn well without any fuss. But for those that care to keep them in tip-top condition, we've put together a short list of ways to care for your suede or leather kicks.
All Ridgemonts come with a Durable Water Resistant (DWR) coating which should do a pretty good job of protecting your shoes for the first few months.
The best way to protect your suede shoes straight out of the box is to apply a protectant. As mentioned, Ridgemonts come with a DWR coating applied at the factory. It never hurts to apply another coating though.
There are plenty of good spray protectants on the market, and if you stop into a good shoe store or shoe repair place, they'll surely have a good suggestion for you. We like NanoProtector or Scotchgard. A quick, even coating when they're brand new is just about the quickest and easiest way to ensure that they'll be cleanable if they get mucked up. Reapply about every six months.
Suede's rough texture makes it easier to pick up dirt and other unwanted stuff than many other materials. No problem, we can always clean it up.
Got mud on your 'Monts during your last ascent? It's a good idea to wait until it dries up, then use a stiff brush to try to get it off. The idea here is to get as much off as you can while it's dry, because if it's still wet you may be working some of the mud deeper into the suede (a blowdryer can help speed things along). There are suede specific brushes that you can find at a shoe store which will would great for this purpose. You can always just use a nail brush or even a toothbrush. Brushing your teeth with this brush afterward is not recommended though. Don't try to brush your teeth with your suede shoes either. We've tried it, and it definitely didn't work out well. Once you've gotten as much of the dried mud off that you can, then don't hesitate to wet the suede and scrub a bit.
If you've got your shoe wet during this cleaning process, it's a good idea to put a shoe tree in, or wad up blank paper (don't use newspaper, the ink could bleed through) to hold the desired shape of the shoe as it dries.
Then when the shoe is dry go over the whole suede area with the brush once again, to rough it up and even out the suede. Voila!
3. Special stains
In some cases, you may end up with an especially harsh stain. There are too many tangents to go off on here, so if your stain isn't mentioned you may want to go ahead and Googlify your query. And if you don't know how to do a search on the internet, just Google it to find out how.
For most scuffs and marks, you can try a regular old pencil eraser first. It actually works pretty well and may erase your worries right away.
For many marks and water stains, it's best to just try water and a little scrub with a brush to see if it comes out.
For salt stains from sweat, you can try vinegar + brushing.
For oil stains, use cornstarch, rub in with a brush + water.
You'll want to remove dirt by cleaning with a smooth leather cleaner. Many of these products have scrubbing tips included that will be soft enough to clean without scratching the leather. Saddle soap works well for this purpose, you will just want to recondition afterward to ensure that the leather doesn't dry out.
A great way to protect your new leather shoes is to condition them. Our Ridgemont Leather Care Treatment was formulated for just such a purpose. Just rub it into the leather --- It's best to take your laces out during the process. Products like Otter Wax leather salve or Leather Honey will also do the trick. You want a conditioner that the leather will absorb to help make it more flexible and less prone to sucking up muck that lands on it.
Well, that's it. Protect your shoes so you can take them out and thrash them, then repeat the process all over again.
Enjoy your Ridgemonts!