Leather is the staple material on most sneakers. Sometimes it’s buttery, sometimes, it’s taut. Other times it’s rough, and the other times not. Leather has many forms and styles it tends to take on when it comes to sneakers, and because of that, there usually is no one universal way to clean all sorts of leather. Let’s jump into a few things you can do to preserve the leathers on your sneakers.
Your Usual Leather
This is the run of the mill leather that comes on like 90% of sneakers. Luckily, your run of the mill cleaning methods do work here. Any brush for the job should work, just be sure not to scrub to hard to scratch off any painting or special materials on the leather. A good scrub with some solution and warm water is tried and true. One thing to note though, is that I try to avoid letting water/soap/bubbles sit on the sneaker when I’m cleaning, so I try to wipe and clean as soon as possible. Water settling into the leather can either harden or soften it up, and either outcome is liable to cause problems in the future.
We’ve been over this with suede. Same rules apply.
The same rules will follow for patent leather as they do for normal leather sneakers, with a few differences. I would usually try to avoid using a hard brush on patent leather because I don’t want to unknowingly leave scuff marks from bushing too hard. So medium and soft bristled brushes are going to be your best move when hand scrubbing patent leathers. In my experience, patent leather does a little better with water and soap sitting on it while it is being cleaned, but I still try to wipe excess water and soap off sooner than later.
You Can Use A Washer
You can use a washer machine to clean most sneakers, honestly, and leather sneakers are sure to get a good clean from them. However, depending on the leather, some after washer care might be needed, like removing/shaking excess water, restoring nap, and so forth.
NB: Additional Leather Care
If you want to take your leather care even further, some companies and manufacturers have additional leather products that work for all kinds of leather shoes and accessories. I would use caution when using these products, as there may some unintended side effects with other parts of the shoe or leather.