Skip to content

Bootblack for a day

Doll shoe care basics…

While I was doing my sorting and cleaning I noticed that some of my older doll shoes start to feel brittle. Some soles came off, and with two pairs the faux leather starts to flake off around the zippers. It’s my own fault, and I should have thought about proper care and storage earlier.

I have to admit that I didn’t spent much attention on doll shoe care. They don’t get dirty, and if they are not on a doll they are in a box. But of course they age, and I should have looked into ways to keep them in the best possible condition. But I am glad I noticed before they start to dissolve completely. Some of them were more expensive than some of my own, and it would be stupid to shorten their lifespan by neglecting to care for them, right?

The nice thing about the doll community is that there are always collectors who are kind enough to share their experience, so learning the best way to care for faux leather was just a matter of asking and getting some very helpful answers. And that’s why I am sharing this post with you. If your dolls are anything like mine, they have a lot of shoes, even if they never wear them ;).

The basic things to keep in mind are actually pretty obvious once you think about it, but while dressing dolls and doing a quick shoe change they are easily forgotten. Apart from pleather care it’s probably a good idea to keep the shoes in a place where they don’t get damp, cold or too hot. They are probably best kept in separate bags or wrapped in tissue, but I know that is not very practical. But storing them at least not too squished will prevent the pleather from sticking to the next shoe. I use CD paper bags I don’t use for CDs anymore to store my fragile fashion doll shoes. Most of the rest is kept in the bags they came in.


Shoe storage in CD paper bags


Since brittle pleather tends to break first where it is folded, sticking something into bootlegs to avoid folds helps. I didn’t, because I forgot to stick the foam rolls back in after I used the boots. Thank god these white boots don’t show any signs of damage yet. I will use packing foam to make more rolls for the rest of my boots.


Bootleg support to avoid folds


And now for pleather care. I use baby milk lotion for my own leather belts, this brand is probably not available outside Europe, but some similar lotion will be. I like this especially, it’s not too oily, it smells nice and it’s the best stuff to care for soft leather belts and bags I found so far. It’s called HIPP milk lotion sensitive. I just rub a bit of it with a soft tissue into the pleather. It feels a lot less brittle now – and the shoes smell good. This lotion is absorbed pretty quickly, but I would try to avoid getting the stuff directly on a doll.


Pleather care with baby lotion


Mailin and Bell got roped into helping me. While they were busy treating the shoes with pleather care I glued some soles back on, cleaned zippers of fluff and cut packing foam into tiny rolls. I still have not counted all the shoes. But it was a couple of hours work. And since I am now mindful of what neglect can do to doll shoes, I will hopefully remember to keep it up. At least once a year I will be bootblack for a day.


So if you have pleather doll shoes that could use a bit of care, the Pentecost holiday would be a good time to do a little bit of this to keep them in good shape.

If you know of a good treatment for fake suede, please let me know in the comments. I have some fake suede shoes, and getting them all lotioned is probably not a good idea. Enjoy the holiday!

8 thoughts on “Bootblack for a day”

  1. Doll shoes are fragile indeed! I had to laugh when you said that some of them have cost more than some of your own, that’s so recognizable lol!! I have to admit that I throw away the little tubes inside boots, obviously that is not a good idea! Your tips are great, I didn’t know that lotion can be used to keep the shoes in good shape, and the CD bags are perfect for storage. Mailin and Bell are so good and quiet while cleaning shoes, lovely photos! Your post has reminded me of some of my Tonner shoes that need soles re-glued, and those tiny pieces on the heels as well.

    1. ;D. I don’t have that many shoes, I own heels, but I use to wear the same chucks every day. The really small boots hold the shape, but one of the large boots broke in the front where it folds if there’s nothing in the boot to keep it rounded. Thank you πŸ™‚

  2. Thank you for all the tips! But I think nothing helps with Tonner doll shoes… They fall apart no matter what you do to protect them. So frustrating.

Comments are closed.