How to Restore Nubuck Shoes

Like if this Guide is helpful
How to Restore Nubuck Shoes

Nubuck is a type of leather with a soft velvet-like surface. It is made of top-grain cattle leather that is sanded or buffed on the outer surface. Nubuck is soft to the touch and often coloured to hide surface imperfections. Nubuck shoes are resistant to wear, but like aniline leather, which is dyed so that it still maintains its natural surface, the material scratches and stains easily. The process of maintaining nubuck is similar to that of suede. Owners should check nubuck shoes periodically and remove light marks to ensure a long life for the footwear. Owners can restore nubuck shoes using a few simple supplies found in shoe repair shops and online marketplaces such as eBay.

Nubuck vs. Suede

Nubuck is similar to suede; both types of leather are sanded or buffed to create a soft nap. Nubuck and suede become dirty and stain easily. The restoration process is similar for these types of leather. However, there are key differences between nubuck and suede.

Type of Leather



Made from the grain side of leather

Natural imperfections and marks are visible

Usually dyed or coloured to hide imperfections

More expensive than suede


Made from the skin side of leather

Less durable than nubuck


It is easy to stain the soft nap of nubuck and suede. After buying nubuck shoes it is important to carry out preventive maintenance that helps to prevent stains.

Regular Maintenance of Nubuck Shoes

Regular maintenance is the key to keeping nubuck shoes looking as good as new and means that owners do not have to take drastic action to restore the appearance of the footwear. Remove dirt and smudges with a rubber eraser orcleaning gum. Apply a leather silicone spray for water and stain resistance. Owners of oiled nubuck shoes can apply conditioner to help preserve them. Nubuck shoes should not be polished.

Nubuck Brushes

Brush the shoes lightly in one direction using a soft brush designed for nubuck or suede. Nubuck brushes typically have wire bristles that are surrounded by soft protective nylon bristles. These brushes remove dust and dirt from the nap, which consists of the short fibres on the surface. They also remove light marks and stains when combined with shoe cleaner. Put some cleaner on the brush and apply it to the shoe vigorously.

Water and Nubuck

Owners should keep nubuck shoes away from water. Water can change the colour of the surface as it dries unevenly, leaving watermarks. Water damage also causes nubuck to warp and shrink, resulting in permanent damage.

Cleaning Nubuck Shoes

When cleaning nubuck shoes, owners should try the gentle methods before taking more intensive steps designed for stains that are difficult to remove. First, clean the entire surface of the shoes with a nubuck cloth. If the shoes are still soiled, apply more pressure by wrapping the cloth around a nubuck sponge and then roll the cloth over the shoes in different directions. Lift the nap by brushing the shoes gently with a nubuck brush in a circular motion. Spend only a few seconds on each area of the shoes. Clean large soiled areas by spraying the shoes with a nubuck cleaner and wiping with a nubuck cloth. Wait for the shoes to dry. Then lift the nap again using the nubuck brush.

If there are oil stains of the nubuck shoes, use a leather degreaser and leather cleaner, following the instructions of the package. Ink stains must be removed within six hours to prevent permanent damage to the shoes. First blot the ink with a clean cloth and then use a leather ink lifter. Dry the shoes with a hairdryer and then lift the nap with a nubuck brush.

How to Buy Products to Restore Nubuck Shoes on eBay

Nubuck is a type of leather made by buffing the outer surface of top-grain leather. It has a nap of short protein fibres and a velvety surface. Nubuck is similar to suede, so the process of cleaning, maintaining, and restoring it is similar. Those looking for supplies to restore nubuck shoes can find what they need easily on eBay. Buyers can use the search bar that appears on every page to locate products. Simply enter keywords, such as "nubuck brush", and browse the results. Use the category filters to narrow down the listings. Remember to check the eBay deals pages for special offers on men's and women's footwear.

Have something to share, create your own Guide... Write a Guide
Explore more Guides