Buying leather shoes is an investment. Leather shoes tend to have better quality and are more durable than shoes made with other materials. They also tend to be more expensive, so you should take better care of them. The best way to care for leather shoes and repair them is to take them to a professional shoe repair. It has the best tools and techniques for repairing any damage to your leather shoes. Shoe repair shops may also charge quite a bit for their services. If the damage to your shoes is not too great, you may want to try fixing them yourself.
A scratch is probably one of the easiest damages to fix on leather shoes. Scratches can easily be smoothed over, using one of the many leather conditioners on the market. You can find a leather conditioner at shoe repair shops, shoe stores, stores where leather goods are sold and the leather goods department of your local department store. To get rid of a scratch on leather shoes, apply the leather conditioner to the shoes according to the product's instructions. If the leather conditioner doesn't get rid of the scratch, try using shoe polish in a color that matches that of the shoe.
Another way in which leather shoes can be damaged is by tearing. With some styles this is unlikely, but there are styles, such as boots, where tears are a possibility. There are many leather repair kits on the market that claim to help you easily make repairs like a pro. These kits provide you with all you need: several products and applicators, and maybe sandpaper and /or patches. There will generally be a product to clean and prepare the leather. Then, depending on the system, it will include an adhesive or repair compound that will allow you join the edges of the tear. It may or may not have a patch to reinforce the mend. Some kits will work for a variety of colors; others are designed to work for a specific color.
At times you may find that some seam on your leather shoes has come undone. Sewing leather can be tricky, so it may be worth leaving this to a professional. If you still prefer to attempt this repair yourself, use a needle made specifically for sewing leather. A leather needle will have a chiseled head with three surfaces and a very sharp point. You should also use a thick padded thimble, or the head of the needle will end up sticking into your thumb instead of through the leather. The kind of thread you should use is a heavy waxed thread that matches the shoe color. Try to run the stitches through the same holes as the original stitches. That way, you won't make additional holes in the leather, which weakens it further. (See Resources for more tips on sewing leather.)
If you lose an eyelet, you may be able to replace it. To make this repair, find an eyelet of the same size and color as the rest of the eyelets on the shoe. You'll also need to use an eyelet setter. This equipment is not very expensive, and once you buy it you can use it for other repairs or projects. If the eyelet tore off, causing a rip, fix the rip before replacing the eyelet.
Stretching Leather Shoes
When you buy a pair of leather shoes that wear tight, the pain they cause may be more than it's worth to break them in. Professional shoe repair shops can stretch them for a price. You can also stretch them yourself, using a shoe stretcher and a stretching solution. There are all kinds of shoe stretchers on the market, for length, width, vamp and toes. For an inexpensive alternative, you can stuff the shoes with athletic socks and make your own stretching solution, using 1 part water and 1 part alcohol. Either way, check the shoes periodically to make sure you don't stretch them too much.