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How to Care for Alligator Skin Shoes

It is no secret that alligator skin shoes are well-known for being rare, luxurious and exotic. However, these shoes require maintenance and special care. This is because reptile leather contains calcium deposits, making it the least flexible leather among the others. It can also be easily damaged by creases and cracks, which is not a gorgeous sight to look at.

Owning a pair of alligator skin shoes is just like any other luxury. To get the most out of your investment, you need to know how to properly care for them. 

We have taken the liberty to list down some tips for you on how to store and clean your alligator skin shoes to make them last longer:

Keep Them in a Cool, Dry Place When Not in Use

Putting your alligator skin shoes in a warm area may result in some cracks. Thus, keep them in a cool and dry place when not in use. This will not only prevent your shoes from getting dirt and grime but also preserve their quality. 

Invest in Some Real Cedar Wood Shoe Trees

A shoe tree is used to hold a shoe in its correct form, preventing it from cracking and getting bent. It also helps the shoe dry out properly to avoid rotting. So, it is advisable to put shoe trees in your alligator shoes for at least 24 hours, especially if you have used them for a while. They should also be movable to adjust precisely to your shoe size.

Don’t just buy cheap, plastic shoe trees, though. It is highly-recommended that you invest in some real cedar wood shoe trees. Trust me. Your luxury shoes deserve them.

Make Sure to Keep Them Covered

Besides keeping them in a cool and dry place, make sure to cover your shoes using either a shoebox or a drawstring bag. This will help keep your shoes away from dust and other particles that can potentially damage them. It will also save you time from wiping your shoes before use.

Avoid Water at all Costs

Water is the worst enemy of alligator leather. This is because it absorbs it, not repel, which can damage your shoes because of the moisture. Hence, if your gator shoes accidentally get wet, wipe them off immediately with a clean, dry cloth and hang them, if necessary. Avoid direct sunlight or any heat, though, as this will cause cracks and discoloration.

Wipe Your Shoes Properly

Simply wiping your alligator shoes won’t make it squeaky clean. Be sure to wipe the dust and other contaminants carefully. You should:

  • Wipe the contaminants using a dry cloth.
  • If there’s sand in your shoes, use a damp rag to wipe these off, then dry them out immediately as well.

If your shoes are starting to get really dirty, and a damp cloth won’t do it’s trick, you could use some saddle soap to clean them instead. However, this won’t be necessary if you wipe your gator shoes down on a regular basis. If you want to try other cleaning products, it’s recommended to try it first inside or in some hidden parts of your shoes. This will help you see if the new products have any adverse reactions to them.

Alligator leather is an exotic leather, so special care should be made to keep its leather finish high quality. Always make that you’re using products that are specifically made for alligator leather as well. 

Apply Leather Conditioner

If you want your gator shoes to look shiny and good as new, apply a leather conditioner made explicitly for alligator leather after drying them. 

You can also use Mink oil as a leather conditioner. Using this every now and then works like a charm as it keeps the alligator skin from drying and becoming brittle. Simply let it sit for at least an hour so after use to let it do its thing, then wipe it off gently using a dry cloth followed by a shoe shine brush. After that, it’s polish time! You might want to use as little mink oil as possible if you have a lighter color alligator skin shoes, though, as it may darken its color.

Hide Scuffs Using Colored Shoe Polish

Use a colored shoe polish if your alligator skin shoes have some noticeable scuffs. This will help camouflage them. Keep in mind, though, that you shouldn’t use them regularly as it might cause damage in the long run. You can only use colored shoe polish when necessary.

Special Care for Alligator Shoes

Accidents that can cause damage to your shoes are sometimes inevitable. Here are some simple fixes you can do if that happens:

  • Neatsfoot Oil or Mineral Oil. Applying a thin layer of neatsfoot oil or mineral oil and rubbing it all over your gator shoes can help fix scratches and slight cracks. Wipe the excess and let it sit overnight. If you’re still not satisfied with the result, repeat the process.
  • White Vinegar. A mixture of water and white vinegar is the answer for removing unwanted spots or stains on your shoes. Simply mix water and vinegar in equal amounts, then dampen a cloth with it and rub it on the stain.

Alligator leather is one of the most attractive and durable luxurious exotic leathers out there that can last up to 50 years, assuming you treat it right. Hence, once you learn how to take care of your alligator skin shoes correctly, you’ll be able to wear them for a lifetime!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Is alligator leather water-resistant?

Alligator leather is not water-resistant by default. However, special tanning is used to make the surface waterproof.

How long does alligator leather last?

Alligator leather can last up to 50 years, assuming you know how to take care of it. Hence, any product made of alligator leather will remain usable for a very long time! This is because alligator skin is very durable (and expensive). However, without proper care, the leather’s durability, flexibility and overall appearance will diminish over time.

How can you tell if alligator skin is real?

Look for a variety of sizes and shapes to distinguish genuine alligator skin. 
Patterns should differ from product to product as no two real alligator items look exactly the same. In addition, genuine alligator leather should feel leathery. They are also thicker and denser than fake ones.

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