Suede Boot Care 101: A Comprehensive Guide

Suede Boot Care

Are your beloved suede boots looking a little worse for wear? No need to send out an SOS just yet. With the right techniques and a bit of elbow grease, you can keep your boots in their prime or bring them back to their former glory.

Today we’re diving deep into the world of suede boot care, providing you with a comprehensive guide on how to clean suede boots at home.

So, buckle up and let’s stride right into the world of suede.

Understanding Suede and What Makes it Unique

Before mastering suede boot care, you need to understand the canvas you’re working with.

The term “suede” originates from the French “gants de Suède,” meaning “gloves from Sweden.” Its plush texture and flexibility made it popular for women’s gloves and high-fashion footwear.1

Suede is crafted from the animal’s inner hide, making it thinner and softer than full-grain leather shoes, but also less resistant to wear and tear.

The elegant aesthetic is boot-worthy stuff, indeed. But with their gorgeous style comes the challenge of being a little more high-maintenance.

Suede Boot Care in a Nutshell

Caring for suede boots is about preserving their inherent softness and durability. Avoid water exposure, apply suede-specific products, and brush them regularly. Brushing gently in the direction of the fibers maintains the suede’s integrity.

Understanding and respecting suede’s unique qualities can help ensure your boots remain soft and supple, which keeps their charm for the long haul.

Essential Tools and Supplies for Cleaning Suede Boots

How do you clean suede boots without the right tools? Your suede boot care kit should be as well-stocked as a squirrel’s acorn stash. Some essentials you’ll need include:

  • A suede brush – The bristles are typically made of brass, nylon, or crepe rubber. It’s your boot’s best friend, perfect for regular upkeep and deep cleaning.
  • A suede eraser – This tool looks like your typical pencil eraser but it’s designed for getting rid of dry stains on suede shoes.
  • A clean towel – Used for blotting away excess water or cleaning solution, it’s your go-to tool for preventing water stains and keeping your suede footwear dry during the cleaning process.
  • White vinegar or specially-formulated suede cleaner – For tough stains, white vinegar or a specially-formulated suede cleaner can save the day.
  • A waterproofer designed for suede – This one’s your shield against potential water damage. It ensures your boots can take on the weather while keeping their good looks.

With these weapons at your disposal, you’re ready to keep your suede boots in prime condition, whether you opt for styles like our Brighton Ankle Boot or Hazal Ankle Boot.



Quick Tips for Your Toolkit

Remember: when picking your kit, choose quality over price. Your boot care kit is not a place to skimp—after all, your boots are only as good as the care they receive.

In a pinch, a clean toothbrush or a kneaded eraser can be used instead of a suede brush and suede eraser, respectively. As always, make sure to test any alternative tools on an inconspicuous area first.

Preparing Your Suede Boots for Cleaning: Removing Dirt and Debris

The question of how to care for suede boots and booties begins with a bit of prep. First things first: clearing the dirt.

Just as you wouldn’t eat without washing your hands (we hope), cleaning suede boots without prepping them is a no-no. Here’s a step-by-step process to prepare your suede boots for cleaning:

  1. Removing loose dirt – Start by brushing off any loose dirt or dust with your suede brush.
  2. Using the suede brush – Hold the brush at an angle and gently stroke it in the direction of the grain. Just like petting a cat, always go with the fur, not against it.
  3. Avoiding damage – To prevent damaging the suede, always brush gently and avoid vigorous scrubbing.

Prepare your boots and you’ll have a clean canvas to work on. With your properly-prepped boots, you’ve taken the first step toward premium suede care.

Mastering the Art of Spot Cleaning: Tackling Stains on Suede

Stains on suede boots can be tenacious, but don’t worry, it’s time to let your suede eraser shine.

Here’s how you tackle the different kinds of stains:

  • Dry stains – Gently rub your suede eraser over the stain until it disappears. A light touch and a bit of patience go a long way.
  • Wet stains – If you’ve spilled liquid on your boots, blot the area with a clean towel right away, then just let them dry naturally. Treat it as you would a spill in the kitchen—act quickly, then let it dry.
  • Oil-based stains – Sprinkle a bit of cornstarch on the grease stains, let it sit overnight, and brush it off in the morning. Just like your morning facemask, it absorbs the oil and leaves the surface looking fresh.2

Deep Cleaning Suede Boots: Techniques for a Thorough Refresh

When your suede boots need more than just a spot clean, it’s time to go a little deeper.

Here’s how to fully refresh your boots without causing any damage:

  • Prep for cleaning – Ideally, you’ll have your full boot spa kit from earlier. At the very least, you’ll need white vinegar (or a specially-formulated suede cleaner) and a clean cloth.
  • Using vinegar or suede cleaner – Dab a small amount onto the boots, but don’t overdo it. We just want to season them, not overwhelm the flavor.
  • Gentle rubbing – Use your clean cloth to gently rub the cleaner into the suede in a light, massaging motion.
  • Avoid soaking – Remember, suede and water have a bit of a “frenemy” relationship, so don’t soak your boots. They prefer to be damp, not drenched.

This thorough refresh will leave your boots feeling totally rejuvenated. But before you attack them with a hand towel, make sure the following restoration process is handled with equal care.

Drying and Brushing: Proper Methods to Restore the Texture of Suede

After cleaning, let your boots dry naturally—no heat, folks! This is key, as heat can warp and cause damage to suede. Give your boots a day of relaxation to air-dry after their refreshing spa experience.

Restoring the texture of your boots—or the nap—is next on the agenda. This process rejuvenates the soft, fuzzy texture that is characteristic of suede, like brushing your hair to get that perfect, smooth look.

Using your suede brush, gently stroke the boot in the direction of the grain to enhance the suede’s appearance. It’s all about understanding the grain direction and treating it with respect.

Again: never resort to artificial drying methods like heaters or hairdryers. You’ll end up doing more harm than good by damaging the texture of your boots. Always stick to natural drying for the best results.

Protecting and Waterproofing Your Suede Boots: Tips for Longevity

If you are looking for the do’s and don’ts for how to waterproof shoes, you’re in the right place.

To make sure your boots can brave the elements, spray on a waterproofer designed for suede, covering every inch. Waterproofing arms your boots with a robust shield; any water or dirt that might threaten their pristine state will be magically repelled.

Here’s how to do it:

  • Choosing a suede waterproofer – Opt for a spray specifically designed for suede. Go for a good one. It’s not just a purchase, it’s an investment in your boots’ future.
  • Apply the waterproofer – Hold the spray about 15 cm away and cover every inch of your boots evenly, and don’t miss a spot!
  • Even application – Ensure an even application— a patchy shield won’t do much good.
  • Maintain over time – Reapply the waterproofer periodically, especially if your boots see their fair share of adventure.

The treatment can’t prepare suede against rain quite like our dedicated collection of water resistant boots. Still, these precautionary measures will show your boots you truly love them. And in return, you can enjoy their dashing good looks for years to come.

Handling Special Care: Suede Boot Care for Specific Conditions

Suede boots come in all shapes and styles, and some may need a touch more care than others.

Brightly colored suede, for example, might need a color-specific cleaner. Those chic high-heeled suede boots might call for a tailored waterproofing technique. The rule of thumb here? Always read the manufacturer’s shoe care instructions like you would a treasure map: with great attention to detail.

It’s not one-size-fits-all in the suede boot universe. The trick is to understand and cater to their unique needs.

Beyond Cleaning: Maintaining and Preserving the Look of Your Suede Boots

Storing your suede boots correctly is like giving them a secret lair. When it comes down to how to store shoes, specifically suede boots, keep them cool, dry, and away from sunlight. When they seem out of shape, boot shapers or even a makeshift rolled-up newspaper keeps them looking their best.

Treat regular brushing like a quick, pre-outing ritual to keep the suede lively. Be proactive about minor wear and tear. Spotting issues early can prolong your boots’ lifespan.

Master Suede Boot Care with Vionic

In essence, consistent maintenance is the secret to a long, stylish life for your suede boots.

But remember, the road doesn’t end here. The journey of suede boot care continues.

When it comes to boots, we know exactly how to keep them looking and feeling their best. With Vionic strutting by your side, you can rest assured your suede boots will do their duty ‘til the very last step.



  1. Marlowe, Mary. “What is Suede Fabric: Properties, How its Made and Where.” Sew Port. 17 July, 2023. Updated 30 November, 2022.
  2. “How To Remove Common Stains From Suede Shoes, Clothing, and More.” The Spruce.


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