8 Tips for Clean Shoe Soles and Seams

a shoemaker is sewing seams on a leather sole

They are the vital unsung heroes that give our shoes stability. However, we often ignore the soles and seams of our shoes when we clean them. The result? Leaky or broken shoes.

When you buy a new pair of shoes, you usually look at the overall design and materials used for the upper. Even when you clean and polish your favourites, the shaft tends to get most of the attention. But it’s important that you don’t ignore the soles or stitching, because they are two big contributors to wearing comfort.

Binding Element: Stitching

Today, many shoe uppers and soles are simply glued together. However, in classic leather shoes, the individual parts of the shaft, as well as the upper and soles, are sewn together. Synthetic threads made of polyester and polyamide are predominantly used in this day and age. Shoes that are expected to withstand a bit rougher conditions, such as trekking boots or skater shoes, have reinforced seams at certain vulnerable points.

Caring for Stitched Shoes

Seam Tip #1: Special Cleaning Brushes

Although seams get cleaned and sprayed when you’re cleaning your shoe uppers, they also require a bit of individualised attention. Brushing stitching with the narrow side of the CREPE BRUSH will allow you to clean all the cracks and crevices.

Seam Tip #2: Targeted Waterproofing

It’s important to apply waterproof spray evenly from a distance of at least 30 cm, but that’s not quite enough for seams, which require more direct waterproofing. LEATHER GEL is more suitable for targeted application. It absorbs into the materials and nourishes the surrounding leather.

Seam Tip #3: Pay Attention to Differences in Colour

Do your shoes have light stitching against darker leather? If so, make sure you treat your seams with neutral polishes and waxes in order to preserve these highlighted accents. LEATHER GEL is well suited for light-coloured seams.

Seam Tip #4: Shoehorns Protect Seams

Properly putting on and taking off your shoes also helps to protect stitching. Don’t just slide your foot into your shoe, use a shoehorn.

The Many Layers of the Sole

Seams aren’t the only things that offer your feet stability, the soles also play a major role. Most people only think about the outsole, but soles are actually comprised of several layers that serve different purposes:

  • Cover sole: The lining that you see in the bottom of the shoe
  • Insole: The interior piece that connects the shaft and sole
  • Outsole: The exterior sole that keeps the shoe dry and protects your foot

Stay Neat with Fresh Insoles

Sole Tip #1: Clean Your Shoe Interiors

There isn’t any other part of a shoe that comes into contact with more sweat than the insole, and thus it should be cleaned regularly. The cover sole serves mostly aesthetic purposes and usually rests on top of the actual insole. Not only does this make shoes more comfortable, but it also ensures a balanced climate inside your shoes. If the material isn’t breathable, however, your shoe will get warm fast. The result? Hot, sweaty feet and unpleasant odours.

BREEZE spray makes sure your shoes stay smelling fresh as it binds with odour-causing molecules. If you want to give the inside of your shoes a deeper clean, INSIDE FRESH & CLEAN is a suitable option. For additional levels of hygiene and comfort, you can try using replaceable insoles.

Keep Outsoles Looking Clean

Sole Tip #2: Clean Soles, Clean Shoes

Outsoles aren’t only worn down due to mechanical strain, but also from dirt and moisture. Stones and rocks embedded in outsoles aren’t only annoying to walk on, but they also damage the sole. You can remove these with a CLEANING BRUSH and then rinse the sole with water.

The part of the sole that you see from the side, the midsole, requires a bit of extra attention when cleaning. Use REINIGUNGSCREME to keep white soles and crepe soles looking bright. 

Flexible and Dry Leather Soles

Sole Tip #3: Clean Leather Soles that Don’t Slip

Leather soles are more robust that many people think. They hold their shape better and are easier to repair than rubber soles. In addition, they are more breathable and extremely comfortable. Plus, with the right treatment, they can remain sufficiently water resistant.

Many people use sole oils on leather soles. These help maintain elasticity, but don’t necessarily help with waterproofness. The disadvantage, of course, is that the oils often make soles more slippery and they can also soak into the upper leather. If that happens, it limits options for follow-up repairs as glued soles won’t stick anymore.

SOHLENTONIC nourishes leather soles and prevents rubbing without making the material more slippery or more difficult to repair. It also waterproofs the soles and helps prevent moisture rings from forming on the upper.

Repairs – When are they necessary?

Sole Tip #4: Visit the Cobbler

Even well-cared-for soles get worn down every now and again and warrant replacing. Take your shoes to a trusted shoemaker if you start seeing clear signs of wear or worn down soles; at the very latest, if you can see the insole popping through. Once freshly soled, your shoes will remain comfortable, stylish companions for a good while longer.

Applicable Products

   

Sohlentonic

Protection and care tonic for leather soles

€6.95
Size:
75 ml (€9.27 / 100 ml)
Amount:
Special waterproofing agent for leather soles, prevents moisture edges in the upper material. Conditioning additives can counteract premature sole abrasion.

Leather Gel Classic

Waterproofing gel for smooth leather

€11.50
Size:
200 ml (€5.75 / 100 ml)
Amount:
Waterproofing gel for smooth and suede leather. Dirt and moisture repellent; conditioning and colour-activating.

Reinigungscreme

For gentle cleaning and care of smooth leather and synthetics.

€6.95
Size:
50 ml (€13.90 / 100 ml)
Amount:
Reinigungs- und Pflegecreme für feine Glattleder

Crepe brush

Suede leather brush

€7.50
Amount:
Suede special brush gently cleans and thoroughly roughens up fibres - side bristles for hard-to-reach spots.

Inside Fresh & Clean

Cleaning for the shoe interior

€9.50
Size:
150 ml (€6.33 / 100 ml)
Amount:
Hygienic spray for cleaning and maintenance of the shoe interior. Best suited for sports shoes, sneakers and sandals. For a fresh wearing. Suitable for all materials.
Apply it into the shoe, clean the shoe interior afterwards with a cloth and let it dry. Check previously the material compatibility.

Breeze

Odour neutraliser for clothing and shoes

€7.95
Size:
125 ml (€6.36 / 100 ml)
Amount:
Removes sweaty odours from clothing, coats, caps, sport bags and shoes. Also works to neutralise smoke and unpleasant odours around the kitchen and home. This is more than just a shoe deodorant! ...
Convenient spray canister also works upside down. Apply spray to moist clothing directly after wear for the best results.

The ABCs of Shoe Insoles

insole_overview

Are your feet freezing, sweltering, too narrow or achy? There’s an insole to help with each of those problems. Our insole guide will help you find the perfect inserts for your shoes.