No they are for different applications. Bickmore Bick 4 is equal to AE leather lotion. Not cleaner\condition but straight lotion. It is good for maintaining contrast stitching and not darkening the leather at all. I have gone to Bickmore Bick 4 for some applications. I also use Bickmore Gard-more on my AE suede chukkas, it works great and does not contain silicone. I have worn them a lot this summer and only treated them twice but put them through some pretty rough use. I do use Bick 4 on the bridle leather on my Filson bags besides my AE Wilbert shoes with contrast stitching. BTW Crane's can hook you up with a Filson sportsman bag too if you are not aware. You don't have to use it for what it was intended for but I do.
Relying on stretch to get a boot to fit is a huge mistake. They should not be tight. If they are the boot size or width is incorrect. To get it right you wear a medium thickness sock and try on the boots after you've been walking around a bit. Your feet can easily swell an entire size during the day, especially when it's hot outside and you're active. In the winter you'll learn very quickly that you need to wear thicker wool socks if you want warm feet. Insulation only works if it isn't overly compressed. Tight boots means choked blood circulation and if the wool is compressed it kills it's overall effectiveness. It's a balancing act and one you want to get right. My custom Limmer climbing boots were made for my feet and they feel a bit loose in the morning when wearing light socks. They're not so loose after an hour of hiking. When I wear a medium thickness wool sock the fit is as perfect as one can get. They better be because that's the weight sock I went with for the fitting. If I go with a really thick arctic weight wool sock the boots are noticeably tighter but not constrictive. I am a measured 8.5D and it just so happens that's the size 1Ks I wear. I don't believe in luck but I do believe that Wolverine takes feet swelling and sock thickness into account when they determine sizing. I'm sure with over a hundred years of work boot experience behind them they know a thing or two. With all that said I can see going a half size down but a full size down just doesn't sound good at all.
Great post and knowledge. I went with Russell Moccasin for my custom boots. I needed height and durability for 8-12 miles a day busting through brush and wet areas like Northern Mn. and the pot hole regions of South Dakota. But also the strength of a load bearing boot like the Limmer to pack boned elk and mulie quarters out of the mountains of Co. They were able to pull it off for me.
On boot care I have a pair of work boots that are 30 years old, the second from the left. Standard government issue made by the lowest bidder....
They spent the first 10 years of life on ships working in engine and boiler rooms plus firefighting. Pretty rough environment and they have been exposed to salt water, oil, hydraulic fluid, jet fuel, diesel fuel marine, fire fighting foam and powder, heat, etc. Kiwi wax and polished regularly has kept them in good shape all this time. For the last part of their life I have only pulled them out to run the chain saw as they have steel toes. So it was a bit hard for me to get used to the idea of a rough looking work boot when I keep most of my boots and shoes in pretty good looking condition.
I posted a picture back awhile ago of my Bayfield CXL after I wore them in the woods for a couple of hours. I wanted to see exactly how well they handled it and then cleaned up. I've been treating all my boots with the Russell Moccasin method for quite a few years now.
It also works for CXL as I already knew. There is nothing wrong with the Crane's method, nothing at all. I do mine a bit differently and it doesn't mean either method is right or wrong. I use Fiebing’s glycerine saddle soap for cleaning and restoring the leather. It isn't regular saddle soap it is a bar of 100% glycerine. Glycerine is what museums and archaeologist use to restore leather. And that is about it.
So after a couple of hours in the woods my CXL looked like this:
After I got home I cleaned up several pair of boots, I find it easier to do them in batches as long as I'm doing them. Start with stripping out the laces of course. About $1,500 worth of boots here alone....
Then in the deep sink use a stiff nylon brush to work up a lather of saddle soap and straight hot water. I scrub them until the lather is clean. Then use a sponge and work up a good lather and let it sit for a couple of minutes then brush it off with a clean sponge. On my AE rough collection shoes which is the same leather as the Krause (Horween Dublin) I only use a sponge and saddle soap, no brush. After cleaning them they need to dry thoroughly. After a couple of years of doing this as the leather cools and dries yellow glycerin will actually come out of the pores of the leather much like white bloom will on shell when they are new. The CXL dries quickly compared to my other leather boots and here I had already applied Saphir Reno to them.
You can see the luster really comes out. And any scars or blemishes are gone too. Many people could stop here but like many on here I find boots that are not waterproof are pretty much like tits on a boar, not very useful. I apply HDLP same as Crane's does the SnoSeal.
Some of the luster is gone after that but they are still pretty decent looking. And functional.
So after the experiment with CXL I still go back and forth on the merits of CXL. It really isn't that hard to clean and protect, they dry over night. Those rust colored 1K original boots that illicitstylz posted pictures of are fantastic looking. I have the 744 LTD in cigar shell brown. And just ordered the Krause in russet because these 1K boots are so damn comfortable. When the #8 in CXL come out thinking it will be hard to resist.