Ever since I became a mother, I abandoned many of my belongings in favour of child-friendly ones. Bags that I wouldn’t cry over if they were scratched or stained, shoes that I wouldn’t mourn if they were stepped on. To put it simply, all my leather goods went into storage because I knew they wouldn’t stand up to use and abuse. But being a leather noob, I had no idea that they would start drying up and cracking if I don’t use them, so one day, when I unearthed my fancy leather heels for a date night out with M, I was horrified to see that the leather had cracked after so many years in storage. The shoes were beyond repair.
M, on the other hand, uses leather goods almost everyday. Shoes, wallet and belt for work, mostly, and his shoes take the most beating. We have been very negligent and lazy when it comes to taking care of his shoes, and we do see scuff marks and creases forming, but we just couldn’t be bothered to do anything about them, because…LIFE.
The good people at The ShoeTree Project approached me to give their Saphir Renovateur Leather Cleaner & Conditioner a try. It is touted to prevent cracks and prolong the life of leather shoes (or even bags) by keeping the leather supple and moisturised with its proprietary blend of all-natural mink oil, lanolin, and beeswax. The conditioner is awarded the Medaille d’Or (gold medal) in Paris, 1925, so I thought it must be good stuff that my leather goods would drink up!
I first tried it out on two pairs of M’s leather shoes. All I did was to dab a small amount of the conditioner on a clean and dry cotton cloth and rub it in in a circular motion all over the shoes.
The first thing I noticed was the fine creases looked less obvious or even disappeared after the moisturising conditioner was applied. The deeper, more stubborn creases which have been formed over time at areas where bending/folding mostly occurred are still there, and I can understand that because we had not conditioned any of his shoes from the time of purchase (some have been used for ten years!) to the time when the Saphir conditioner was sent to us. This just tells me that we have to be start conditioning our leather goods before it’s too late! Also, the conditioner has mild cleaning properties and grit and grime were largely removed. You can clearly see the cleaning and conditioning properties of the Saphir Renovateur Leather Cleaner & Conditioner by comparing the before-and-after photos in the animated GIF above.
The second thing I noticed was that the conditioner appears to darken the colour of M’s (second pair of) shoes but the colour has gradually lightened in the days after. They look more supple, if you will, and the conditioner imparts a nice sheen that isn’t too glossy or unnatural on the leather.
My qualm with the conditioning process is that the action of rubbing has deepened some scratches/cracks that were already present on the shoes. I suppose this is inevitable; we all know we can’t just go rubbing into these cracks and not expect something to happen. It’s a painful lesson to learn for us, that we REALLY have to condition leather goods right from the beginning, so as to prevent cracks from forming in the first place. No amount of conditioning would work to reverse the process once cracks or deep scratches are there. Don’t neglect your leather goods like I did!
I do like the Saphir Renovateur Leather & Conditioner. At $25 a pop, it’s pretty affordable given that you only need a tiny dab to work a large surface. I’ve barely made a dent in my jar after using it on our shoes and bags. Be careful when rubbing the conditioner, or anything for that matter, on cracks/deep scratches, the friction will cause more damage so be gentle! If you are fortunate enough to have your leather babies still in pretty good condition, start showing them some TLC today if you haven’t already.
Saphir Rénovateur Leather & Conditioner is available for purchase on The ShoeTree Project. You’d be glad to know there is free shipping for all local orders!
*I was given a jar of Saphir Rénovateur Leather & Conditioner for the review and no monetary compensation was received. All opinions expressed are my own.