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Cordovan Care

post #1 of 100
Thread Starter 
What is the best way to care for cordovan shoes? I believe you are not supposed to use any wax or polish. Does this mean just a cleaning and polishing with a damp cloth?
post #2 of 100
Use only wax polish, and use it very sparingly. I polish my cordovans about once every two months. In the interim a brush and buffing with cloth keep the shine going strong.
post #3 of 100
Cpac's exactly right. You can get special cordovan polish from either Alden or Allen Edmonds, and that's (the former) what I use on my Aldens. (Has anyone used regular paste wax, like Kiwi, for example, on cordovan? Do we really need the special cordovan polish?) You don't use any creams with cordovan, just the wax polish as cpac notes. And sparingly too or it builds up and produces a whitish powdery substance in the creases. Cordovan is not at all porous the way calf is, so a little wax goes a long way. Cpac's drill for between polishings is the way to go.
post #4 of 100
I use regular kiwi wax. No reason to go with the Alden stuff unless you're particularly concerned about matching color exactly; or if you find that it actually works better.
post #5 of 100
The Alden website recounts their recommendations for Cordovan care here.

As others have noted: wax polish, don't use much.

They added the following note -- don't polish the shoes when wet and avoid neutral polish.

This would tend to discourage allowing a "brushman" at the airport to do shine your Cordovans.
post #6 of 100
I love cordovan for its resilience, patina, and the minimal maintenance needed to for a good shine. IMHO it beats calf leather by leaps and bounds.

The only downside is my Alden cordovans are a little heavier than other similar calf shoes. I held some Carmina cordovans at Peter Elliot recently but they somehow do not feel as heavy. A pair of Carmina cordovan wholecut is high on my wishlist!!
post #7 of 100
Thread Starter 
I just got my second pair of cordovan shoes, thanks to the MAY18 polo discount, brown wingtip darltons, to go along with my alden cordovans. Any advice on whether to polish before the first wearing?
post #8 of 100
It took a long time before the dull waxy finish on my Polo cordovan shoes disappeared. I would use a brush to hasten this transformation to a shine.
post #9 of 100
Quote:
Originally Posted by CommercialDoc
I just got my second pair of cordovan shoes, thanks to the MAY18 polo discount, brown wingtip darltons, to go along with my alden cordovans. Any advice on whether to polish before the first wearing?
I picked up a pair of plain toe Darlton's myself and am wondering the same thing.

re: cordovan care in general: I have a pair of Alden wingtips which are starting to exhibit grey in the "wrinkles" and the graininess across the same area. If this is simply polish build up, what can I use to safely clean the existing polish off?
post #10 of 100
Quote:
Originally Posted by spinlps
I picked up a pair of plain toe Darlton's myself and am wondering the same thing.

re: cordovan care in general: I have a pair of Alden wingtips which are starting to exhibit grey in the "wrinkles" and the graininess across the same area. If this is simply polish build up, what can I use to safely clean the existing polish off?
That may be the "waxy stuff" that comes out of cordovan over time. I would try just getting in there with some wax polish and cleaning out the wrinkles. If you remove all the wax polish before it dries (within a few minutes or so) you won't have to worry about buildup.

I polished the pair of Alden cordovan shoes that I found and was surprised by how far the polish goes. It seemed like I put a tiny amount on and it would cover a third of the shoe or so. I don't think cordovan absorbs polish much if at all.
post #11 of 100
I own 2 pairs of Alden leisure handsewns (one black and one color 8) and a pair of the brown Polo Darlton wingtips. I made the mistake of using the Brooks Brothers cream polish on my color 8 loafers before wearing them and it took almost a year to recover the shine. Now, I use Kiwi wax polish to spot-shine the scuffs, but I don't think I've ever polished my shell cordovan shoes entirely, since the first fiasco. I mainly use a damp cloth to wipe away the "bloom" (the white waxy substance that used to appear between wearings), water spots, etc. The lighter colored creases are characteristic of shell cordovan and should be displayed proudly, as the creases are how aficianados can recognize shell cordovan. Edit: I love my shell cordovan shoes for their uniqueness (the look, toughness, etc.) and their low maintenance requirements. I seem to wear shell cordovan shoes at least 2-3 times a week--wingtips in winter and loafers in summer.
post #12 of 100
I agree completely. The whitish "bloom" is usually from too much polish when the leather is still fresh and can be buffed (which is what I usually do) or wiped with a damp (not wet)towel. The problem usually goes away as the shoes get older. N.B. Use only wax polish and not much. I generally use the polish only when I can't raise a shine by buffing (which may be months). Also at least Alden shells for me have more of a "glow" rather than the extreme shinyness of calfskin so I don't expect a "mirror shine"
post #13 of 100
More than half my shoes are ALDEN cordovans. NEVER use saddle soap or creme. The best way to apply polish is with your index finger! That way the absolute minimum polish is applied to the shoe. An old wash cloth will pick up too much polish and deposit it on the shoe. This works with the common burgundy Alden color, black and the lighter "cigar," (limited availability color cordovan). With a little effort your index finger comes clean. Genuine fine horsehair brush (not a coarse one) buffs them up to the natural glow. Then I apply black or brown polish with a cloth to the edges of the soles (and sometimes use a toothbrush to clean the stiched edge of the top of the soles where is meet the body of the shoe). I send the shoes to Alden for rebuilding and own a few pairs that are over ten years old. Regular care and avoiding the worst wet conditions (and avoiding salt and other ice-melting chemicals at all costs) is the key.
post #14 of 100
Quote:
Originally Posted by CommercialDoc
I just got my second pair of cordovan shoes, thanks to the MAY18 polo discount, brown wingtip darltons, to go along with my alden cordovans. Any advice on whether to polish before the first wearing?

No need to polish first- Horween shell cordovan is fairly saturated when it comes from the factory. Remember though to let the shoes cool off first before putting in the trees.
post #15 of 100
I've been reading about shell cordovan and have stumbled across several posts that warn against the use of shoe trees with shell cordovan shoes. Any idea how valid this claim is?
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