Remember the Elvis Presley cult hit, "You can do anything but lay off my blue suede shoes"? Well, if you love your suede or leather footwear as much, here's expert advice on how to keep them in good shape.
In a country that consumes 95 percent of its leather footwear production, maintenance is important. Be it dust stains and black scuff marks on leather boots or flattened suede, a little care can go a long way in preserving your favourite winter shoes.
"For packing away leather boots, it is important to wipe off the dust properly, especially from the soles. Make sure you clean it with damp cloth, then stuff the shoes either with shoe trees or tissue paper. Wrapping them in a non-woven bag with naphthalene balls is also the ideal way," footwear designer Swati Mehrotra of SwatiModo told IANS.
Space crunch is another factor to be considered while preserving your stylish and expensive footwear.
"First and foremost don't stack boots with any other footwear. Place loosely crushed paper inside the boots to provide strength in case you don't own boot jacks," said Geetika Handa, who owns a dozen pairs of leather boots.
Suede boots are expensive and difficult to care for and cannot be cleaned with water. In fact, the weather can transform the smooth, velvety surface to make it harsh and uneven.
Designer Swati Mehrotra of Swati Modo says, "If we talk about leather boots, how can we miss suede boots. The old adage - an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure - definitely applies to such boots.
"For heavy stains on suede boots, use a suede cleaning block which is great for removing deeply embedded dirt. The texture of suede can be restored by using a suede brush."
Special kits are available to clean leather and suede shoes. Or you can buy a battery powered leather cleaning kit that has everything - applicator brush, polishing brush and buffing pads.
Before packing away suede shoes, make sure they are clean and dry. To maintain the shape, use boot shapers, wrap the shoes in tissue paper or a soft piece of cloth and put them in a shoe box. Always keep them away from humidity and sunlight.
Leather and suede have become a wardrobe staple for fashionistas in India.
According to Council of Leather Exports report, India is the second largest global producer of footwear after China, accounting for 13 percent of global footwear production of 16 billion pairs.
India produces 2,065 million pairs of different categories of footwear - 909 million pairs of leather footwear, 100 million pairs of leather shoe uppers and and 1,056 million pairs of non-leather footwear. India exports about 115 million pairs. Thus, nearly 95 percent of its production goes to meet its own domestic demand.
Designers are not missing the opportunity to woo their patrons by adding a hint of leather in their footwear. For instance, designer duo Abraham and Thakore, Gaurav Gupta, Manish Arora and many more are following the trend while designing exclusive footwear.
If Abraham and Thakore are known for encompassing a different variety of shoes on ramp which varies from slip-ons in leather, suede and various fabrics that are textured with Trapunto quilting, Gaurav Gupta's footwear can be described as experimental and they usually use high quality leather.
Designer Rohan Arora, who presented an exclusive line of footwear at the last season of Lakme Fashion Week, said: "It's true that leather and suede boots are considered the best trend-setters for winter season and there are so many designs to die for, whether it's ankle length, cow boy, calf high, knee high, thigh length, or moccasins in dark colours," he said.