‘How to clean leather shoes’ is a popular question answered by a multitude of opinions that can be hard to navigate. Legion believes that whilst leather is a resilient material that gets better with age, you still need to look after it. When it comes to the question of how to clean leather shoes, we like to keep it simple and cost effective. Luckily, the enduring material isn’t too needy and the cleaning process is simple.


Prior to cleaning your leather shoes remove the laces to avoid staining from any polishing or cleaning products. If your laces need some freshening up, send them through the washing machine in a mesh bag.


The question of ‘how to clean leather shoes’ is most easily answered when handling dirty everyday marks. Begin by using a soft shoe brush to remove any excess debris when dealing with general dirt build up. Brush your shoes following a circular motion, applying enough pressure to bristle out any dry dirt. Be mindful of your brushing pressure, as too much force against the grain can damage the leather.

Using a damp, clean cloth and a mild soap (or specific leather cleaner), gently rub your leather shoes. Again, remember to work in a circular motion, going with the grain, rather than against the grain, of the leather. Using another clean, damp cloth wipe away any remaining soap and moisture. Allow your shoes to dry in a cool, dry space – not direct sunlight.


When it comes to treating slightly more specific stains you’ll need to put in a little more effort. If you’re dealing with salt stains on leather shoes, formulate a mixture of equal parts water and white vinegar. Dab a clean cloth into the mixture (do not oversaturate it) and gently rub the affected areas. Remove any excess water-vinegar mixture using a clean, damp cloth, and allow your shoes to dry.


‘How to clean leather shoes’ is often asked in the context of dealing with oil or grease stains. These slightly more stubborn marks can be removed easier than one might think. Simply sprinkle some Talcum powder over the affected areas, and give it roughly 3 hours to soak up the grease. After which you can use a dry cloth to gently wipe away the powder, and your stain should be gone! Cornstarch can be used as an alternative to the Talcum powder, but needs a longer period to absorb the grease. If you use cornstarch, give it about 8 hours (or overnight) to work its magic!


Leather is sensitive to a few products in particular, despite the materials enduring nature. When it comes to cleaning leather shoes, avoid using any ammonia or bleach based products. Such chemicals can strip the leather’s colouring and cause permanent damage. You should also be careful with the amount of water applied to leather, as too much moisture can cause staining. Lastly, keep in mind that natural leather can be parched by excessive sunlight or heaters.


Perhaps your Legion leathers are you road-tripping, business meeting, general venturing companions and you’re in need of a quick fix. How to clean leather shoes when you’re on the road, you ask? In such instances, we’d suggest using baby wet wipes to give your shoes a bath on the go. Wet wipes contain chemicals that are safe to use on leathers and offer the benefit of moisturising your leather for you!

leather chelsea boot on road