I've been a long time lurker at AAAC and here. I'd like to post that I have recently had success renovating a pair of weejuns that I've had since high school and took really poor care of. So I will. I have read about the plastic-y veneer being a problem with these particular shoes in these fora, so I went out and got some industrial acetone, and some sponges, and brought them home with sinister intent. Here is the procedure I used: Initial conditions: 1 pair of burgundy Bass Weejuns, which had been through a Boston rainstorm a day earlier. I had polished them (with synovia cordovan) for the first time in my 7 years of owning them about a week prior to taking them out in the storm. The previous day, the shoes were wet enough to soak through to my socks. NOTE: As I was making a social call, I had only brought 2 pairs of shoes, and I'll be damned if I'm wearing my TX handmade ostrich boots on a grimy day. The weejuns had to take one for the team. These shoes have a pair of nordstrom trees in them throughout the process. 1) Cleaned any visible dirt off with a mixture of approximately 10 water: 1 90% IPA sprayed onto a flimsy kitchen rag. 2) Soaked half the sponge in acetone, and went over the shoe a couple times, scrubbing lightly until most of the acetone evaporated. Repeated twice (as in, 3 coats of acetone) 3) Let shoes rest 15' 4) poured some acetone directly on the upper so that the upper was entirely covered in a thin film. 5) Using the same sponge, which at this point has a lot of the polish and some of the dye on it, spread the acetone around until it thins. Noticed a small amount of acetone had leaked through the seams into the shoe trees. 6) Sat the shoes out in the den for a day. They looked dull. 7) applied Synovia waxless leather care conditioner (I'm not trying to shill; synovia is just what they sell at Nordstrom in Providence), spreading with a new sponge. 8) let shoes sit for 15' 9) Polished shoes. Used overly moistened sponge to apply the polish. A rookie mistake, that. A little water goes a long way, y'all. Results: The shoes look way better. I mean, WAY better. Some of the areas that got more acetone/light scrubbing became slightly more pink than the original burgundy. This gives them a look similar to a faded denim that puts a big dent in your wallet, except much more subtle. Where there were creases along some of the seams, the acetone worked along the creases to give a sort of whisker fade. It's only noticeable if you're looking for it. One of the sides got a little too light in patches, though, so it's not all peaches and cream. That goofy plastic sheen is completely gone, replaced with the interplay of the subtle color differences, and the depth of the polish. The uppers around the seams above the toe still don't look all that great, but you have to be staring to notice. It's because of neglect. I solemnly swear not to neglect any more shoes. I recommend this treatment for new weejuns, because it makes the shoe look about $100 more expensive. Don't use as much acetone as I did (skip step 4, and 2 coats should do in step 3). I now have some decent casual shoes. I need to find some gold doubloons to put in them though. This leads me to my dress shoe question: I am trying to choose between 2 pairs of nice dress shoes: 1) The A-E park avenue, $275 at this weekend's trunk show on Newbury street -OR- 2) The Alden ... 2160?, $489 at the Tannery on Boylston St. I've held and tried on both shoes. The PA is a solid utility shoe with no real drawbacks, but it's nothing particularly special, either. This is high praise, for these shoes are much nicer than any dress shoes I currently own (the boots are in a class by themselves). The Aldens...they are "nice shoes" like the Whiskey Rebellion was "thwarted." They are very heavy, which I don't mind, because I don't plan on running any fly routes in them. They seem to be built not like buildings, but like the things that build buildings. My question is, do you think that it's worth eating spam for three months to own an authentic American cordovan, or should I go for a perfectly acceptible alternative in calfskin, and celebrate with a filet and a bordeaux?
post #1 of 23
10/4/06 at 2:52am