Here are some DIY tips and tricks that we've learned along the way however, it really pays to find your local cobbler/shoe repair shop if you've invested in handcrafted shoes. This is a craft of its own and they can really work some magic on your beloved kicks. Additionally, keeping your soles in good shape will ensure they last for years to come. We have partnered with Minas Shoe Repair in NYC for the last three years and recommend them very highly. Ask for Menia and tell her Heather from Rooted Soles sent you!


Suede shoes should be cleaned with a suede cleaning brush or a soft nylon brush. They should not be cleaned with excessive abrasive pressure, though. Before starting the process of cleaning, make sure the shoes are completely dry, or else you will spread the dirt across the surface instead of sweeping it away.

General Cleaning:

  • Stuff the shoes with some crumpled-up newspapers, particularly in the toe area so that they can hold their shape while you work on them.
  • Gently brush away the trapped dirt and mud from the surface of the shoes using a suede cleaning brush. Keep in mind that you need to brush it in the direction of the fibers rather than going back and forth.
  • For scuff marks and blemishes that cannot be removed with the cleaning brush, rub a rubber cleaning stone, a piece of crepe rubber, or suede eraser on the affected area. Besides, you can gently scrape the area with an emery board.
  • After the harsh treatment, you can brush over the suede with a nylon brush to help lift the nap.

Water Stains:

Please Note: Our suede is not treated chemically to withstand the elements. Please use care and avoid wet weather conditions. Because it is not sealed, some color transfer may occur onto lighter surfaces.

  • Place a towel inside the shoes and spray a thin layer of water evenly on the surface of the shoes. Now, scrub the stained area with a nail brush.
  • To make the stain marks fade, it is best to work around the edges of the stain, in particular. Then, blot the water with a damp cloth. This is done to help the shoes dry evenly, thereby eliminating the chances of developing water stains.
  • Allow the shoes to dry in a cool, well-ventilated area; do not place them in front of fire or direct heat as it may cause uneven drying. In addition, quick drying can leave the surface rough. Placing the shoes in bright sunlight is also not advisable as it shall fade the color.
  • You can stuff them with newspaper to help them keep their shape as they dry.
  • Finally, when the shoes are completely dry, you can brush them using a suede brush.

Other Stains:

  • Suede shoes with stubborn stains can be cleaned using white vinegar. You need to pour a little vinegar on a clean cloth and wipe off the affected areas with this cloth.
  • Coming to grease stains, they are particularly difficult to remove. Nevertheless, you can try cleaning them with warm water. Plus, you could sprinkle cornstarch or talcum powder on the oil stain and leave it overnight. Next day, brush off the powder lightly and moisten the stain slightly with a steam iron. Finally, try to remove the stain using your suede cleaning brush.
  • For ink stains, you may apply a cotton ball soaked in rubbing alcohol. If the stain is fresh, try to scrub it away with fine grit sandpaper. Suede eraser, too, can prove to be useful in this regard.

You may also choose to spray a water and stain protector on suede shoes before wearing them, although we do not recommend spraying chemicals on our baby booties. Protective spray can help avoid stains and make them easier to clean. Make sure you brush the suede before and after using the waterproofing spray.

Remember that leather is a natural product that will change over time. Distinctive markings and nuances in texture and color are a hallmark of nature and a testament to its authenticity. Those variations are part of why we love it!