It should be safe to use certain kinds of hand lotion on your leather shoes. However, it depends on the type of leather your shoes have and the type of hand lotion you’re using.

You will want to avoid certain kinds of lotion and use the right amount to ensure that you get the best results.

Always test the lotion out on a small area before you apply it to your entire shoes. The last thing you want is to ruin your shoes.

What Kind Of Lotion Should I Use:

The most important thing you should do is use the right kind of lotion on your shoes. Using the wrong kind could make your shoes greasy and could possibly even hurt or weaken your shoes.

Here are some tips on the right kind of lotion to use for your shoes:

Scent Free:

It’s best to use a scent-free lotion for a couple of reasons. The main reason is that some of the chemicals used in the lotion could harm your leather on your shoes.

Another reason is that the scent could last on your shoes, and if you use a strange lotion scent, you don’t want your shoes to smell like that.

Tropical scents do smell good, however, I’m sure you don’t want that scent on your shoes if you go to a funeral.

Extended exposure to certain ingredients could weaken the leather and make it wear down faster. This could cause holes and rips in your shoes.

Non Greasy:

Always look for a non-greasy lotion to apply to your shoes. This can help during the buffing process and even make your shoes look better.

You don’t want the oil to stick to the leather and get your hands greasy every time you go to put on or tie your shoes.

The grease could also come off of your shoes and onto something else such as your pants or socks.

To make sure the lotion you’re using isn’t greasy, you could use it yourself. Try it out on your hands or body and see how greasy it is. Some lotion happens to be greasier than others.

Also, make sure that you’re not using a body butter. This will be very greasy and it will take a lot of buffing to get all of the grease off.

No Alcohol:

Check the back of the label and make sure that no alcohol is added to the lotion.

The alcohol itself could start to eat away the leather or even the combination of the sun hitting your shoes with alcohol on them could cause your shoes to weaken.

How Do I Apply Lotion On My Leather Shoes:

I put together some steps for you to follow:

Wash Your Shoes:

You first want to wash your shoes and remove any dirt or dust that you may have on your shoes. This gives the product a clean surface and you don’t have to worry about a small rock or anything scratching your shoes later on.

I like to use a mild leather soap with warm water to wash them off.

Be careful about the kind of rag you use, some rags can be too rough and scratch your shoes. It’s best to use a microfiber cloth to do the cleaning.

Dry Them Off:

Before applying anything to your shoes, they should be completely dried off. Dry them off so you can get a clear view of any spots that you may need to go over.

Look for areas of concern when drying them off, such as areas that may need special attention or gone over more than once with the lotion.

This tends to happen around the toe and heel of the shoe.


Apply some lotion to a microfiber cloth and rub gently onto the shoes. Start in one area and rub in small circular motions.

You have to be careful and not rub too hard. This could scratch your shoes or damage the leather.


Use another clean and dry microfiber cloth to buff the leather and pick up any extra product that you may have missed.

Again, you don’t want to use too much pressure or rub them too dry.

Test Them Out:

Your shoes are ready to be tested out.
Put them on and walk around in them.
Take them into another room with brighter light and see how they look.

What If I Use The Wrong Kind Of Lotion:

Using the wrong kind of lotion could really harm your shoes and possibly even ruin them. You may have to even replace them if you keep using the wrong kind of lotion.

This is because your shoes could start to weaken from the lotion that you applied.

Your Shoes Could Weaken:

Certain ingredients could cause you leather on your shoes to weaken. The reason this happens is that some of the ingredients will start to eat away at the leather.

This happens in a lot of lotion that has extra unneeded ingredients such as scents and alcohols.

Your shoes will start to look bad when the leather starts to weaken on them, here is some stuff that you should look out for:

Soft Spots:

You can tell when your shoes have soft spots by just pressing on them. The leather shouldn’t be soft or spongy, it should be firm.

The main spots where you start to get soft spots are on the front by your toes and where the leather connects with the rubber on the bottom of the shoe.

This is where the most stress is on the shoe and where the leather may start to weaken or go soft first.

Old leather shoes will start to go soft and the leather may weaken over time. A lotion that you apply to the shoes isn’t always the cause of soft spots.


The wrong kind of lotion could also cause some discoloration on your shoes. This could be from a few different things. The main reason is that the leather is getting stressed out and it’s starting to lose its color.

Another reason for the discoloration could be the dye in the lotion your using. Always make sure that the lotion is free of any coloring. Even lotion that is white could have color added to it.

It’s best to check the packaging for something that says no color added. You could also look at the product label for any dyes that may have been added to the lotion.

The alcohol in the lotion may have a role in the discoloration as well. If you are not buffing out the shoe completely or happen to miss a spot, the alcohol in the lotion may start to discolor your shoe over time.

 It’s always best to use a lotion that has no alcohol in it to prevent this from happening.

Rough Leather:

Using the wrong kind of lotion could make your leather on your shoes become rough. After you buffed out your shoes, it’s best to feel them with your hand to see if anything helped.

If your shoes are rough, stop using the lotion and switch to another. No product that you apply to any kind of leather should give it a rough feeling.

If you’re experiencing any roughness on your shoes, it’s best to stop using the lotion to avoid any further damage to your shoes.

In my experience, it’s quite rare for any of this to happen to your leather shoes. It takes a lot of the wrong kind of lotion to do that kind of damage.

What Can I Expect:

I have put together some quick things on what you can expect when using lotion for your leather shoes. In the end, your shoes probably won’t turn out perfect. However, you should notice a huge difference in the way your shoes look and feel.

Quick Alternative:

If you’re like me, you probably don’t have any leather polish for your shoes laying around anywhere. Even if I did, it’s probably 5-6 years old and expired in the back of my closet somewhere.

You can expect the lotion to be a quick alternative to regular leather polish. Most people have lotion laying around their house somewhere and all you have to do is check the label and make sure it’s the right kind.

Polished Shoes:

The quality of the lotion is going to be the same as a regular shoe polish. I have used both before and it’s very difficult for me to tell the difference in which ones I polished with the lotion and the one I polished with the leather polish.

However, I did notice that the leather polish did hold up longer compared to the lotion. The lotion holds up really well, don’t get me wrong. You won’t have to polish them after each use or anything like that. I just noticed that I would have to apply the lotion more often when compared to a leather polish.

In the end, I only had to use the lotion a few times a year more to keep my shoes polished. It really depends on how often you wear them.

Soft & Smooth Leather:

The main thing that I noticed the most was how soft and smooth the leather was. It’s pretty much what everyone notices at first as well. You should always take your hand over a shoe that been freshly polished to make sure that you got all the lotion off the shoe.

When you do this, you will notice how soft and smooth the leather is.

If you don’t notice anything you may be using the wrong kind of lotion or you’re polishing your shoes at the right time before the leather starts to get bad.

Old Blemishes:

Any kind of a shoe polish won’t remove any old blemishes that your shoe may have. If you have any blemishes on your shoes, you probably will still see them after polishing them.

The job of the lotion is to polish the shoes, this should make your shoes look better and keep them lasting longer. The lotion may help blend in the blemishes, however, it won’t make them go away.

How Much Lotion Should I Use For My Leather Shoes:

How much lotion you use on your shoes is a hard question to answer. Everyone has a different size shoe and there is no standard amount that people use. It also depends on the leather, leather that is dried out will absorb more compared to leather that is already moisturized.

Here is a quick estimate on how much to use based on how your shoes look:

Bad: About the size of a quarter on each shoe.

Average: Around the size of a nickel on each shoe.

Good: About the size of a dime on each shoe.

Please remember that these are only average and each shoe will vary. It’s not as simple as saying 1 or 2 pumps because each lotion pumps out a different amount and some lotions don’t even have pumps.

How Often Should I Put Lotion On My Shoes:

It really depends on how often you should put lotion on your shoes. The main thing is how much you wear them. If you wear your shoes more often, you will need to apply lotion more often.

Everyone is different and here is a guide that you can use to help determine how often to apply the lotion:

A Few Times A Year: Every time you wear them

Every Few Months: Every time you wear them

Monthly: Every 2-3 months

Weekly: 1 time per month

Daily: 1 or 2 times a month

If you only wear your shoes a few times a month, you should apply the lotion every time you wear them. This is because dust or spider webs can collect on them in the closet or where ever you have them stored. Otherwise, a few times a month should be fine to apply the lotion.

This is just a quick guide and you should always use your best judgment. If you think that they need some lotion, put some lotion on them. If your shoes look fine, leave it go. You don’t have to be that exact with putting it on. Some people just put some on every time they think about it and that works fine.

Will My Leather Shoes Have A Greasy Feeling From The Lotion:

Depending on the lotion that you use, some shoes could have a greasy feeling to them. It’s always best to use a lotion that says non-greasy on the bottle.

If you can’t find any non-greasy lotion like that, try the lotion out on your hands. If you think it’s too greasy for your shoes, it probably is.

Sometimes the extra greasy feeling is because not all of the lotion got buffed out of your shoes. You may have accidentally skipped a spot or you might have had too much lotion on the buffing rag to absorb the extra lotion.

No polish or lotion should make your shoes greasy. If this happens, you need to get the grease off your shoes as soon as you can. It’s possible that you could hurt the leather on your shoes and shorten their lifespan.

Here are a few tips for you to follow if your shoes are greasy after lotion:

Buff Again:

Change your rag and rebuff your shoes. Sometimes a large buildup of lotion gets on the rag and it can’t take away all of the lotion.

Use a clean microfiber rag and go over your shoes again.

Use A Mild Leather Soap:

If you still have a greasy feeling to your shoes, use a mild leather soap on them. This will take away any greasy feeling and remove most of the lotion.

Don’t apply any more lotion to the shoe, this could cause it to have a greasy feeling again.

Sometimes the lotion that is used is just greasy and should be used with that kind of leather.