I like the book. If anything, it makes one appreciate the time and skill the goes into making a quality pair of shoes. My only quibble is the advice on shoe care, which I think is a bit thin. I refer to the "Ten Golden Rules of Shoe Care" in the chapter "˜Cleaning'. For example, he doesn't mention the risk of damaging shoe through force drying (over radiators and near fires, etc) and I'm in two minds about his recommendation to put shoe trees into shoes immediately after wearing if they are "saturated with rain or snow". Surely this would trap moisture in the shoe, between the shoe tree and the leather? Personally, I tend to use newspaper which absorbs the moisture, and shoe trees later. I also question his advice to "polish them up with cream after every wearing, even if they appear to have lost none of their original gleam". I assume he means in a neutral, not coloured cream because that would be overdoing it. I'm really not a fan of cream - it paints the shoe in its colour. The same applies to polish - polishing them after every wear would only lead to polish build up. Personally, I'd use a neutral cream once every few months if I'm wearing my shoes regularly. Vass also recommends the use of an applicator brush to put polish on (except in the case of shoes with thin leather). I tend to use a soft cloth wrapped around one finger and work the polish into the shoe leather in small circles with a medium-firm pressure. You put just the right amount of polish onto the shoes and in the right place. It is too easy to overload the applicator brush with polish. I've also found that the brush can scratch away at the surface of the leather and disrupt the nice layers of polish. I would, of course, buff off excess polish with a horsehair brush and finish with a soft cloth. I was also surprised to see pictures of KIWI polish. I hate the stuff. It gives an artificially bright finish that does nothing to enhance the delicate layers of colour in good quality shoes.
My technique is:
1.\tEnsure the shoes are clean and free from dirt
2.\tWork in polish into the leather with a soft cloth wrapped around a fingertip
3.\tLeave overnight, then buff off and polish with a soft cloth.
4.\tRepeat exercise every two weeks if wearing the shoe regularly
The only time I might use an applicator brush is on stout country boots in a heavy grain.
Here's an example of my Barker "Hamilton" - about a year and half old. Used above Tech.
Any thoughts SF members?