How to Care for Your Nubuck & Suede Shoes

Nubuck and suede are unique types of leather created by sanding or buffing the outside of cow hides to produce a short, velvety nap. This creates a unique, stylish look compared to other types of leather. However, these styles also require more maintenance so that they continue to look great. Here are our top tips for taking care of your Nubuck and Suede shoes.

How To Waterproof Nubuck or Suede Shoes

Ideally, it’s best to waterproof your Suede and Nubuck shoes before you wear them. This way, you won’t have to worry about the weather suddenly changing and not being prepared. There’s nothing worse than a brand-new pair of suede shoes with water drops on them!

We recommend spraying our Nubuck and Suede shoes with a waterproofing spray that is not silicone based. Our recommendation is Nikwax Nubuck & Suede Proof.  

how to waterproof suede and nubuck shoes

Nixwax Nubuck & Suede Spray-On Waterproofing

How To Clean Suede & Nubuck

Dirt can be removed using a small brush, either a natural gum latex or fine wire brush. You could also use simple hand soap on a washcloth or sponge. After washing, you’ll want to allow to shoes to air dry. Do not use heat to dry this shoes as this can cause the leather to stiffen.

After cleaning your shoes, we recommend that you brush them with a Nubuck/Suede stiff brush.

how to clean nubuck shoes

Hubbard Free, Navy Nubuck with Nubuck/Suede Brush

Rotate Them

As with any season, it’s important to rotate your shoes so that you don’t wear down the same pair every day. This will give your shoes a chance to breathe, dry out and make them last longer.  Did you know that the human foot sweats a half pint of moisture per day? (Foot Facts)

Invest in Waterproof Shoes

While waterproofing your Nubuck and Suede shoes will help protect from a light downfall, they aren’t meant to be worn in serious weather conditions.

If you live somewhere where it rains a lot during the winter, we recommend our Rainy Day Re-Boot and Founder shoes. Our Rainy Day Re-Boot and Rainy Day Founder feature a GORE-TEX waterproof breathable membrane that is engineered to repel liquid while allowing for maximum breathability, resulting in dry, comfortable feet, even in extreme conditions.

alternatives to nubuck shoes

Rainy Day Re-Boot. Image by Tex Allen.

And if you live somewhere where it snows, you know the value of keeping your feet dry and warm! Check out our Winter’s Day and Snow Lodge boots. Like the Rainy Day Re-Boot and Founder, the Winter’s Day and Snow Lodge boots feature a GORE-TEX waterproof membrane and are lined with fine shearling lining to keep your feet toasty warm and happy.

Winter's Day boot

Shop Nubuck and Suede Shoes

Shop Samuel Hubbard’s extensive collection of super comfortable and stylish nubuck shoes and suede shoes.

For more tips on how to take care of your shoes, check out our two other blog posts:

Top Tips for Storing Your Shoes

How to Clean White Shoes & Soles

Have more questions on how to take care of your Hubbards? Feel free to call us at (844) 482-4800 or email at

Thanks for reading!

Chris Stoops, Customer Service Manager


Main image featuring Re-Boot in Mahogany Suede. Photo by Jeremy Portje.