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Brogue shoes - How to take care of them!

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A pair of top quality Hoggs of Fife bench-made brogue shoes will last for many years, if proper care and attention is given to them.

Originated in Scotland and Ireland, the traditional brogue shoe was commonly known as either outdoor or country footwear and was not considered suitable for work or casual wear. Today however, brogues will be seen in the office, at formal functions such as weddings, or even at parties and celebrations.

Brogues have changed in design considerably over the years and are now available in various guises including trainers and high-heeled women’s shoes.

Hoggs Footwear

Hoggs bench-made brogue shoes are handmade and carefully crafted in Northampton, for Hoggs, using traditional methods resulting in fine, high quality footwear.

These brogue boots and shoes have many traditional features, including:

  • full leather and half-leather linings
  • leather insoles and welting
  • leather soles and heel
  • rambler rubber sole
  • grain leather

Shoes with a leather lining have many benefits. For example, a leather lining acts as a ‘second skin’ and is therefore very comfortable and durable. Over time, the lining will stretch and contract in order to shape itself to the contours of your foot. A key benefit of wearing boots and shoes with a leather lining is how soft it is!

A word of caution though, if care is not taken to maintain and treat the outer leather, as time passes,the leather will dry out, crack and will under-perform. Therefore, it is essential to ‘treat’ your Hoggs boots and shoes giving them the attention they deserve, to ensure many years of enjoyment.

How to look after leather brogue shoes

Listed below are the tools needed for the job and a ‘step by step’ guide on how to clean your brogue shoes to achieve the best finish. In order to ensure the longevity of your brogue shoes it is recommended that you rotate the wear of them, so as not to wear the same pair day in and day out.

The process of conditioning and protecting leather brogues is explained below and it is suggested that this process should be undertaken every two weeks or so. (or when extremely dirty!). Do polish your shoes regularly, however!

Tools for the job:

Step by step guide to achieve best results

Step 1:

Make sure the brogue shoes are completely dry before cleaning or treating them. Place newspaper in the shoes to draw moisture out of the leather. Remove the laces to give the shoes a proper all over clean. Once dry, use shoe trees to hold shape and offer support. (or, alternatively, use dry newspaper).

Using a damp cloth or brush, clean the shoes, paying particular attention to removing dirt and salt from within the lace holes and indentations.

Use an old toothbrush to clean around the welts (the strip of leather or rubber that runs along the perimeter of the outer sole).

Step 2:

Apply leather conditioner to the shoes, taking care to spread the conditioner evenly. Don’t worry if some of the product goes into the holes, as this can be removed later on. Massage into the leather using circular motions and don’t forget to apply the conditioner to the leather welts and soles. Allow the conditioner to work on the leather for approximately 30 minutes, before removing any excess product with a cloth.

Leather conditioners are also great for stiff shoes. (Stiff shoes are as a result of leather drying out!). Apply the conditioner, periodically, to nourish and soften the leather.

Applying conditioner to the leather should not change the appearance of the shoes although a test should be carried out first!

Step 3:

Apply wax polish to the shoes. Wax polish will ‘revive’ the leather, acting as a water repellent and protecting the shoes.

Remember: when applying wax polish to any leather shoe, the wax may discolor the shoes as it seeps into the leather. Always test a small unobtrusive area first!

Apply the wax polish using small circular motions. Do try not use too much product at any one time, as it will simply go to waste, so apply thinly but do apply it quite often. It may be an idea to concentrate on the front and back of the shoes, as these areas get the most wear.

Do allow the wax polish to seep into the leather for at least a couple of hours, before ‘buffing up’.

Step 4:

If you find that excess conditioner and wax have filled up the holes or indentations on the leather, you can use a toothpick to remove this gunk. If the product is not removed and is left within the holes, the leather will, over time, crack around the holes.

Once again, use an old toothbrush to clean excess conditioner and wax from around the welts.

Step 5:

Once sufficient time has passed to allow the conditioner and wax to ‘seep’ into the leather (approx 2 hours or over night), buff to a shine using a soft shoe brush (or cotton cloth). Polish briskly to get a glossy shine!

Always allow the shoes to dry fully before wearing!

Some points to remember:

So, to summarise, spending time to really care for your Hoggs boots and shoes will result in many years of use from your footwear.

The key factors to remember are:

  • allow your brogue shoes to dry out fully before cleaning and protecting them
  • don’t wear the same pair of shoes day in, day out
  • test a small section before applying wax, to check for colour change
  • clean the brogue’s leather holes and indentations with a toothpick
  • buff with a clean cloth, briskly, to achieve a glossy shine!

You can look great, feel great and be both stylish and comfortable in your brogues – you look after them and they’ll certainly look after you! Enjoy!