Tips on keeping your pair healthy & strong for many years ahead

Sabahs Wear in, Not out.

With proper care & maintenance, your Sabahs will simply get more beautiful with every step

We encourage minimal intervention, as we believe the natural patina your Sabahs will garner over time is part of what makes them so special.

Otherwise, the most important aspects of Sabah care are:

- Periodic cleaning.

- Conditioning smooth leather (not for Suedes, hair ons, or Nubucks).

- Replacing the protective rubber outsoles, as needed.

  • Note: We only recommend topical cleaning & conditioning for standard & veg-tan leather -- do not use on suede, nubuck, or hair-on textures.

Leather Types & Maintenance

Sabahs are meant to be lived in, & they will garner unique character with time & use; however, different materials & textures call for varied approaches to care & maintenance.

We encourage you to explore each section below to learn more about our materials & the differing care recommendations in greater detail:

Standard, Smooth, & Saddle

These are the easiest materials to care for!

Clean them when they appear dirty or stained, and then apply a neutral conditioner from time to time as the leather appears dry.

We offer a leather cleaner & conditioner (linked above) that work well for these Sabahs.

Note: Cleaners & conditioners often will darken the leather. This is completely normal!


Whether it's smooth, tumbled, or waxed, Nubuck is a wonderful material for Sabahs.

Nubuck is made from the outer part of the hide (just like Suede), and it is brushed & sanded to create a light napped texture.

To clean, we recommend periodically utilizing a nubuck brush to remove built up dirt.

We strongly advise that you NOT use topical products, such as leather conditioner on Suedes or Nubucks, as this can damage the material.

For any unique cleaning & care cases, we encourage you to consult a local cobbler.


Suede is delightfully soft & beautifully textured. It is crafted from the outer side of the hide, and it has a napped texture.

To clean, we recommend periodically utilizing a suede brush to remove built up dirt.

We strongly advise that you NOT use topical products, such as leather conditioner on Suedes or Nubucks, as this can damage the material.

For any unique cleaning & care cases, we encourage you to consult a local cobbler.


Hair-on leathers (called pony hair leathers) are very unique & are absolutely wonderful!

They should be cleaned gently with a damp cloth or soft brush, brushing in the direction of the hair, to remove stains or debris.

We do NOT recommend using any conditioners or topical products on our hair-on leathers, as this can damage the material.

Like many items that are made with natural hair, this texture is delicate and can be susceptible to subtle damage or thinning over time.

For example, light shedding is completely normal. This can be caused by friction during use, and it is not a defect in the leather or production.

Please handle with care!


Vegetable tanned leather, or ‘veg tan’ as it’s often called, is made from one of the oldest tanning methods known to man.

It has been around for centuries but less than 10% of the world’s leather is processed this way today.

Sabah's veg tan leather is thick & tough, and it will develop a buttery, one-of-a-kind, patina with time & use.

This is due to the bounty of natural tannins that we use in the creation process. Because of this, every pair will be truly unique.

To care for your veg tanned leather, lightly brush off any debris or dirt on the surface with a soft & damp cloth.

Apply Sabah leather cleaner and conditioner, in that order, to keep your pair healthy & to encourage that beautiful patina.

As this leather is quite light in tone at the start, you can expect any environmental markings to fade & blend as the pair darkens in color.

Metallic Foil

Metallic leather is quite unique.

Unlike other drum-dyed leathers, Metallic leather is made by heat fusing a metallic foil into the grain of the leather hide.

Metallic leather is beautiful, and has a lovely shine, but it will not patina in the same way that drum-dyed leather will.

With time & abrasion, some of the surface finishing might be lost. This is just the way that Metallic leather ages over time.

The foil is not part of the leather, but rather a coating on top.

We use high-quality Metallic leather that is made to last, but we advise wearing these specific pairs with care.

We hope you enjoy!


Cleaning & caring for your Velvet Babas may be easier than you might think!

First, let us note what you should avoid. We strongly advise against exposing these specific Babas to water or any liquid detergents.

To clean, use a woolen cloth to guide the velvet in the direction of the natural pile.

For long term care, steaming the velvet is a great way to keep it fresh and to manage any compression.

Lastly, if there is a specific stain or concern that you have about your Babas, we always highly recommend consulting your local cobbler. They have done and seen it all, and they will be well equipped to address your specific needs.


For all other exciting & novel textures you might come across here at Sabah (corduroy, canvas, cork, hemp, etc..), we recommend wearing with care.

If you ever have maintenance questions about these more unique materials, a local cobbler will be the best resource.

Of course, you can always drop us a line for support as well!

Protective Rubber Outsoles & Resoling

The final step in crafting a pair of Sabahs is to add on the protective rubber outsoles.

We apply these secondary & replaceable outsoles to every pair of Sabahs for added shielding & durability. These rubber outsoles can be thought of as an ancillary defensive element of the Sabah, rather than a part of the Sabah, itself.

With time & normal wear, these outer soles can start to thin or peel in the heel or toe area. We typically see this happening around 12-24 months of wear.

However, the rubber can also peel back earlier from simple delamination or if it is accidentally hit/kicked on something (raised sidewalk, hard flooring etc..)

That said, even when the rubber peels or breaks, the true soles underneath are still safe & secure.

Thankfully, by design, the protective rubber can easily be re-adhered (if earlier/slight peeling occurs), or resoled when they wear through.

If there is a local cobbler in your area, we encourage you to consult them for service. Resoling a Sabah is a standard job that any cobbler should have no issue accommodating.

However, if a local cobbler feels inaccessible, we can facilitate a repair with our affiliate cobbler based in NYC. For more information on this, please send us a note at portal@sabah.am.

Have More Questions?

Drop us a line!

Email: portal@sabah.am -- Phone: +1 929-810-2034

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