Caring for your Sabahs is simple + they only get better with age!
We suggest minimal intervention as we believe the natural patina your Sabahs will gather over time is part of what makes them so special. Otherwise, the most important aspect of Sabah care is to:
- Clean & condition the leather
- Replace the rubber
To best care for the leather of your Sabahs or Babas, we suggest you clean them as they get dirty, avoid wearing them in water or in other extreme conditions (for example, on a hike), and condition them regularly, or as they appear dry, with a high-quality natural leather conditioner. Doing so will help maintain the texture and beauty of the leather over time, minimizing cracks and weakness in the fibers.
If your Sabahs do get wet, let them dry naturally and avoid wearing them while wet as this can stretch out and deform your Sabahs. Otherwise, they should be okay. If your Sabahs get water stains, this can often be remedied by using a conditioner to even out the color.
We generally produce three types of leathers that each call for slightly different care:
Nubuck / Suede
You should avoid applying topical products to suede or nubuck as doing so will disrupt the fibers and matte the suede. Use a brush to care for your suede or nubuck Sabahs. Care should be taken to brush in the same direction. We recommend consulting a local cobbler if your suede or nubuck Sabahs require cleaning/conditioning.
Regular, smooth leathers
These are the easiest 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 or you want to revive it. We offer a leather conditioner on our website that works well for all Sabahs. Note: leather conditioners often darken leather and we suggest following the instructions provided with the leather conditioner.
Hair-on leathers (hides without the cow hair removed) 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. Like any item made with natural hair, it is delicate and can be susceptible to subtle damage or thinning over time caused by friction during use. This is not a defect in the leather or production of the Sabahs. Please handle with care.
Veg Tanned Leather
Vegetable tanned leather or ‘veg tan’ as it’s often called is one of the oldest tanning methods known to man. It’s been around for centuries but less than 10% of the world’s leather is tanned this way today. Sabah veg tan leather is thicker and tougher and will develop a buttery one-of-a-kind patina because of the natural tannins we use in the tanning process. Every pair is truly unique.
To care for your veg tanned leather, lightly brush off any debris or dirt on the surface with a soft, damp cloth. Use Sabah leather cleaner and conditioner, in that order, applying the product to a soft cloth and rubbing it onto the shoe with a circular motion. Pressure isn’t necessary — simply apply with a quick motion and the heat of the friction will infuse the product into the top grain of the leather. Be certain to cover the entire upper, including within the creases. Allow to dry and then buff off the excess with a clean, dry soft cloth.
We apply a rubber outsole to every pair of Sabahs to protect the stitching and buffalo leather midsole. We initially use soft and thin rubber as not to impede the leather from molding to your feet. It should be replaced as it wears down or begins to peel back, which may occur within the first 3-12 months depending on the wearer, use patterns and conditions. Exposure to the elements such as water, extreme heat/cold, or using your Sabahs for activities like hiking, running, etc. may impact the longevity and adhesion of the rubber sole.
However, by design, the rubber soles can be easily replaced by any cobbler (or our Sabah Repair Service, see end of page) and, once replaced, will last longer than your first set of rubber soles. Soles should be replaced as needed to maximize the life of your Sabahs. You may replace your original sole with a thicker rubber sole if you wear through them quickly.
Please note that we do not put a rubber outsole on Babas (our backless slippers). They are produced with a thick buffalo sole with a small heel for extra durability. We believe this makes them more comfortable, versatile (indoor/outdoor) and the buffalo sole is plenty resilient. A rubber outsole may be added to your Babas if the buffalo sole wears thin with wear & use.
Sabah Resole & Refresh Service - US
Sabah’s authorized Cobblers at Cobbler Concierge will help you care for and maintain your Sabahs.
These highly trained cobblers based in New York City are quick and easy to use, whether you're local or want to mail your Sabahs from afar.
To initiate your repair:
Our team will facilitate your repair from start to finish. We will coordinate the shipping of your Sabahs to our repair facility and, once received, will keep you updated on the status of your repair.
What will your repair cost?
- Replacing rubber soles: $45 (default service, most common)
- Color restore/touch up: $35
- Stitching repair: $35
Shipping is not include in the above prices
Sabah Resole Service - UK
We also offer a Sabah resole service for those based locally in London.
To initiate your repair, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Our team will facilitate your repair from start to finish. We will coordinate the shipping of your Sabahs to our repair facility and, once received, will keep you updated on the status of your repair. Repairs usually take about one week.
What will your repair cost?
- Replacing rubber soles: £40
For any other questions or concerns about the care of your Sabahs, please
visit our FAQ page and/or send us