The tip - Always test products on a hidden area

This may be the most basic shoe care tip I’ve ever written, yet there’s so many out there who don’t follow it and therefore sometimes end up in trouble. When one use a new type of shoe care, cleaning or colouring product one should always test it on a hidden area of the shoes first, to make sure one get the result one is after and don’t harm the leather.


You’ve certainly read it yourself a number of times, it’s often written in the descriptions of how to use products either on websites they are sold or even on the products itself. “Test on a hidden area first” or something like that, is the description given. Now, in at least 9 out of 10 cases the product you’ve bought works well with the shoe or other leather goods you intend to use it on, but it’s that potential 10th case that one want to avoid.

Allen Edmonds sneaker hybrids which has had a too strong cleaner used removing the entire finishing.

Allen Edmonds sneaker hybrids which has had a too strong cleaner which has removed the entire finishing. Picture: Reddit

Especially when it comes to for example stronger cleaners or dyes of various kinds, chance is bigger that it’s too harsh for the leather or that you don’t get the colour you are after. Nothing wrong with the product necessarily, just not suitable for what you wanted it to do. Since there’s so many parameters to take into account – different types of leathers, leather treatments, how the shoes have been used and so on – results with products will differ. Even if it’s a product that you’ve used before and it has worked well, if it’s for new shoes, make it a habit to test it first on a hidden spot to make sure it works also for the new pair.

Inside quarter above the arch is a common place, it’s low visibility, or on some shoes with some products it works well to test on a part of the tongue. A very easy and simple way to avoid any potential issues. And in the case that the product doesn’t work, you usually can use it for other shoes, so no waste of money.