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February 21, 2023

Barefoot Shoe Care: 5 Tips To Maintaining Your Minimalist Shoe Collection

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Your barefoot shoe collection is a major investment, and it has to be maintained if you want them to last for the long term. We want our barefoot shoes to last as long as possible, it is good for us, our wallets and the planet!

This article will give you practical tips that are easy to follow so that your barefoot shoes stay looking good, clean and smell free. These are all things that can be done at home without specialist knowledge.


Eventually, you're going to get your feet wet and, if it's winter, there is likely salt and mud thrown into the equation.

That is a terrible mix for shoes so it is critical to dry and clean them as soon as possible.

A brush is the best way to clean the bottom and edges of your shoes. Use a wet cloth for thorough cleaning of the top layer and sole. We all know shoe cleaning isn't fun, but avoid the temptation to put them away in a cupboard or the porch. Oh, and avoid putting them in a washing machine because it will damage the shoe bonding.


Before doing anything to leather, minimalist shoes, let them dry out.

It's best to dry them at room temperature as intense heat from a fire or radiator can make the leather shrink.

TIP: Stuff old newspaper or brown paper into the shoes to accelerate drying without using intense heat sources. You can change the paper multiple times to make it even faster.

The best way to clean leather shoes is to spot clean with a brush and damp cloth. Avoid soaking them in warm water or saturating them while cleaning as it may cause shrinkage. You can also use a high-quality leather cleaner. I recommend Chamberlains Leather Milk or Fiebing's Saddle Soap.

Be sure to let the leather dry completely at room temperature before applying any type of polish or wax.

Fabric Shoes

The best way to clean fabric barefoot shoes is to spot clean them with a brush and cloth. If you want to, use warm water (not too hot) on the shoes using your bare hands or an old toothbrush to give it some scrubbing power along with a gentle soap. You can also spray soapy water onto these types of shoes and then wipe off excess moisture before drying at room temperature.

Synthetic Shoes

These types of shoes are much more durable and resilient than the others. All of the above methods work with synthetic shoes.

Deep Clean

Avoid washing your shoes in the washing machine as it damages the glue and bonding.

For more thorough cleaning, remove the insoles and submerge your barefoot shoes in warm, lightly soapy water instead. Don't do this with leather shoes.

Squeeze them to flush water through the fibres after soaking for a maximum of 30 minutes. Rinse your shoes in cold water to remove the soap and leave it to naturally air dry.



Treating your barefoot shoes properly after cleaning and drying will make their lifespan increase dramatically.

A natural shoe wax is suitable for shoes made of smooth leather. The wax helps keep the leather hydrated while also preventing water from seeping into the pores from the outside. I can recommend Collonil Nubuk & Textile.


Shoes sometimes smell. It's a fact of life. But there are a few ways to combat bad smells in your barefoot shoes;

  • Store shoes in a well-ventilated area where they can dry.
  • Regular cleaning.
  • Wear socks.
  • Use a non-toxic deodorizer or a homemade recipe.
  • Recipe 1: Put cornstarch, baking powder, and baking soda in a pair of socks and leave them in your minimalist shoes overnight.
  • Recipe 2: A solution of white vinegar and water in a bottle and spray the insides.

Waterproofing is crucial for footwear because it serves as a protective layer over the surface. Waterproofing works like a shell on the outside of your shoes, preventing dirt and dampness from entering.

Use a high-quality waterproofing spray that's breathable and allows moisture to exit through the interior of the shoe. I can recommend Collonil Carbon Pro or Liquiproof Mesh Protect.

So there you have it, a few barefoot shoe care tips to help protect and maintain your minimalist shoe collection! Follow these simple tips and your shoes will look good as new for many miles to come. Happy barefooting! 👟

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