Shoe Maintenance
Guide & Tips

Hello there Bullboxer fans, customers
and other shoe fanatics!

We hear you like to keep good care of those awesome shoes on your feet, so let’s take a look at what we can do to make sure your shoes keep looking fresh and new for as long as possible.

Depending on the materials used on your shoe you will need to apply different techniques and/or products to get the most out of your cleaning efforts. Below you will find a series of cleaning techniques separated by material type. Please determine which material you would like to clean and apply the recommended steps. If you are unsure of the exact material on your shoe then you can either contact us directly or ask your local cobbler.
Now let’s get started!

Leathers

1. Smooth Leather
2. Patent Leather (glossy)
3. Printed/Lasered Leather
4. Embossed Leather
5. Grainy Leather
6. Metallic Leather
7. Glitter Leather
8. Suede
9. Nubuck

ATTENTION! DISCLAIMER! – By using our care-guide you agree that we are in no way responsible or liable for the results of your efforts. You are agreeing to use our caretaking tips at your own risk and responsibility. If you are concerned about the potential outcome of our techniques or are unsure about which exact type of material your shoe is made of then we recommend visiting your local cobbler for advice.

Tips & Tricks

It is always best to start the caretaking process directly after purchase and before the first use. This way you can make sure the shoes are adequately protected against the elements and dirt prior to their first exposure. If done correctly it will also improve the shoes longevity.

Make sure to always allow any wet leather to air dry, away from any direct heat sources, and store them in a dry and cool location, away from direct sunlight, to avoid discoloration. If you wish to store them separately then make sure to use a breathable cotton bag and NOT plastic bags.

Before using a new leather-care product for the first time, always make sure to test it on a small discreet location first.

If your leather shoes are stained by something, make sure to begin the cleaning process as soon as possible. The longer a stain is allowed to settle, the harder it will be to remove. The more regular and thorough your cleaning and caretaking efforts, the longer your shoes will last.

Basic cleaning and caretaking preparations for all shoe types

Step 1: Ensure that the shoe is completely dry both inside and out

Step 2: Insert a shoe tree, crumpled paper or other suitable object into the shoe to help it retain its shape

Step 3: Remove any laces, straps or other removable parts and put them aside

Step 4: Identify the main material type of your shoes and proceed to the appropriate section of this guide

Leather (All our leather comes from cattle)

Smooth Leather

Best suited for standard cleaning techniques. Simply take a soft damp cloth (not too wet!) and gently clean the shoes by rubbing them down with the cloth. If necessary you can also use a bit of special leather soap to remove any persistent stains.

Once finished cleaning make sure to allow the shoes to dry thoroughly.

Once dry, apply a shoe polish to create a protective film. Make sure to either use a colorless/neutral polish or one with the same color as the shoes. Apply sparingly.

Give the polish a few minutes to absorb into the pores of the leather and then use a soft polishing brush to apply the final polish and remove any excess product.

Patent Leather (glossy)

Simply use a soft damp cloth to wipe down the shoe and then make sure to dry it immediately and thoroughly but away from direct heat.

Do not apply any products that contain solvents or alcohol as they may damage the glossy finish.

Use a special patent leather cleaning product. (e.g. Saphir Vernis Rife Patent Leather Cleaner)

If cleaned correctly polishing is unnecessary.

Products should be stored in non-plastic dust bags.

Printed/Lasered Leather

Very similar to smooth leather but can be more delicate. Simply take a soft damp cloth (not too wet!) and gently clean the shoes by rubbing them down with the cloth. If necessary you can also use a bit of special leather soap to remove any persistent stains. Be careful not to rub the shoe against the materials natural flow but instead move with it. Printed leathers often have exposed areas of leather so make sure to use as little water as possible.

Wipe the shoe down with a soft dry cloth to dry it.

It is not recommended to apply shine to these types of leather. If you decide to apply it anyways, make sure to apply sparingly and remove all excess product with a soft cloth.

Embossed Leather

To clean these types of leather simply take a soft damp cloth and gently wipe the shoes.

Do not use any cleaning products as they will remain in the embossed areas and become almost impossible to remove.

Do not apply too much pressure during the cleaning process. The unique texture of the leather cannot be repaired once damaged.

Allow shoes to dry immediately after cleaning in an appropriate location.

Caution! Any conditioning or polishing products will be hard to remove from embossed areas. Use sparingly.

Grainy Leather

This leather is relatively strong and resistant but can still be marked and scratched.

Any loose or dry dirt can be wiped away with a soft damp cloth. The shoes should be dried immediately afterwards but away from direct heat.

Avoid any solvents and liquids that contain alcohol or other corrosive substances.

If polishing is required, make sure not to apply excessive amounts of any product as it will be difficult to remove from the natural cracks and dimples of the leather.

Metallic Leather

Clean your metallic leather shoes with a soft damp cloth. Use gentle strokes to avoid making any scuffs or marks.

If the stain or dirt remains, then add a bit of warm water and a tiny amount of baby shampoo to the cloth and try again. Make sure to dry the shoes off directly afterwards.

You can add suppleness to the metallic leather by using a bit of wax-based polish or mink oil.

If a stain or mark cannot be removed at home then do not increase pressure while cleaning but rather take the shoes to professional leather cleaners and ask for help.

Glitter Leather

Glitter leathers have been treated with a special finish which can be removed by abrasion and once removed cannot be reapplied.

Do not clean with any corrosive products like liquids containing alcohol. Preferably avoid all cleaning products.

Gently clean the shoes with a soft damp cloth, very soft toothbrush or shoe brush and dry them immediately afterwards. Do NOT apply force, be as gentle as possible.

Do NOT attempt to polish, wax or recolor this type of leather.

Basic cleaning and caretaking preparation for Suede and Nubuck

Step 1: You will require a special suede/nubuck brush.

Step 2: Always make sure the shoes are completely dry when attempting to clean them.

Step 3: Use the wire bristles of your suede brush first to try and remove most of the marks and stains.

Suede (Part 1)

Take a small suede brush or a very soft toothbrush and gently remove any dirt or dust that has accumulated on the shoes. Do not go back and forth but rather always move in the same direction.

Stubborn marks and scuffs can be removed with either a special suede eraser or a clean pencil eraser. Apply a moderate amount of pressure.

For oil, ink or grease stains we recommend visiting a cobbler or dry-cleaner.

To give the shoe a complete all-around clean, you can use special suede shampoos. Dilute the soap as instructed by the product label and gently work the product into the suede with the special brush, producing a nice lather. Concentrate on heavily soiled areas and work quickly to avoid water stains.

Next you will need to refill your suede shampoo bowl with some clean, fresh warm water. Clean out your brush until no soap remains. Use the clean water and brush to pass over the shoes a second time and remove any remaining shampoo. You can also just rinse them carefully in a sink with the sprayer attachment.

Suede (Part 2)

Once you have rinsed the shoes, take a dry towel and pat them down to remove any excess water. Now stuff the shoes tightly with newspaper, and then lay them on their side to avoid the water seeping into the soles. Leave the shoes to dry over night and away from direct sunlight.

After cleaning suede, make sure to pass over the dry shoes with a hard-bristle suede brush to re-fluff the fibers.

Lastly you can apply a suede protector spray to prevent any more dirt and marks building up. It is best to apply these products when you first purchase the shoes or directly after their first clean.

Nubuck (Part 1)

  • Take a nubuck cloth or sponge (often also referred to as an eraser) and wipe down the entire surface of the material. Do this quite regularly to remove small amounts of dirt and any shiny spots.
  • To clean a large soiled area you will need a suitable spray-on nubuck cleaning solution (available in most shoe stores). Apply the solution to the soiled area and then wipe it clean with a nubuck cloth. Once the stain has been removed and the shoe has been given sufficient time to dry simply use the nubuck cloth or napping brush to lift the nap.
  • To soak up oil stains, use a dry cloth and press it against the affected area. Clean any remaining oil in the area by applying a leather degreaser or leather cleaning product.
  • For persistent oil, ink or grease stains we recommend visiting a cobbler or dry-cleaner.

Nubuck (Part 2)

If after the application of the processes mentioned above your nubuck is still stained then you can simply sand down the affected area. Take a pumice type stone (make sure it is clean) and then rub one of its flat surfaces over the affected area. This will shave away the top layers and should make your nubuck look like new again.

In order to lift the nap if it has become too compressed simply take a napping brush (available in most shoe stores and cobblers) and gently brush across the surface in a circular motion. Make sure not to brush any area for more than a few seconds.

Lastly you can apply a suede protector spray to prevent any more dirt and marks building up. It is best to apply these products when you first purchase the shoes or directly after their first clean.

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