What can I do to restore these AE Cliftons? I've gotten the salt stains out by using water/vinegar and am now looking for opinions on what to do next.
Dear DWF, I have respected your opinions greatly but will offer in my defense my personal experience otherwise.
I have had new shoes topied only to find that the shoe did not fit. Alot of times, a shoe's fit can only be determined when it has been worn a few times. Topying it new can be risky. Reselling topied shoes do not add value and it is hard to recover that cost. This is essentially money wasted.
My own experience has told me that not topying first makes it easier to break into the shoes. The bending and creases from use makes it easier for the rubber to adhere without peeling later when one decides for it. Of course one could argue that peeling especially at the toe is a function of a cobbler's skill. Perhaps we are looking at a different timeline which explains our differing opinions. I have not found my outsole to be thin in certain places after a few weeks of use say less than 10 wears, likely due to my dainty gait. I also quite recently discovered the joys of combination of topy and flushed toe taps so even if the toe area wears away first very slightly has not been a problem for me.
As you already are aware, regardless of whether a shoe has been worn or not, the surface of the outsole needs to be sanded or roughen to increase the surface area for the adhesive to stick to the topy. Assuming that one does not use the shoes for hiking, walking on granite/ stones or stepping on oily/ slick and wet surfaces. Those initial wears before topy likely help then hinder.
I don't think you two are necessarily disagreeing. I think we can all agree that topying a pair of new shoes that haven't been broken in/a verified "good fit" is risky. We can also all agree that soles need to be roughed up to accept the glue. DWFs point is that soles wear unevenly, so if you do this to well used soles, you may end up with thin spots and damage to the stitching -- not good. We can also all agree that anything that makes the glue not stick is bad. So yes, if you wear your shoes on clean areas a few times to break them in before topying, that's probably ideal. Just don't do it too many times, or in chemicals or oil. I suspect DWF is aesthetically against topying in the first place, being a custom maker. If you want rubber soles, buy rubber, don't topy leather. If you want leather, deal with its wear issues, and resole as necessary. Now that I've put words in the mouth of someone more expert than I, I'll shut up.
good thoughts here.
I agree in that if you like leather, get leather and deal with the work involved. almost all of my many shoes are leather soles of varying thickness. I have a few pairs with rubber soles like Dainite or Vibram but they were bought that way new to use in weather that may not be optimal for leather soles. I know that some people prefer the feel of rubber but in other cases, you could just buy leather soles and just walk outside in shoes/boots made for that and then switch into the proper shoes when in the office. Then you can get what you want right off the bat and don't have to worry about them.
I don't like Topy in the first place, so that does bias me a bit. I only wear leather or rubber, but i also baby my dress shoes.
Wow! Thanks for the great feedback. I have a pair of very old Sears "Gold Bond" (pre-Florsheim) shell cordovan PTBs that I want to make my rain shoes. They have the original leather soles with v-cleat heel. They are definitely worn, but without any heel or toe deformation. I want to throw a Topy on them and make them the shoes I throw on when the weather is frightful. My plan is that this will keep my newer, nicer cordovan looking great. Please advise.
Took care of one of my favorite pairs today - my Allen Edmonds Walnut Shell Daltons. These are one of my more heavily worn pairs, so I felt they needed some TLC. They also have a few fairly large and prominent dry patches and areas of roughness, so I felt like they needed some nourishment. They also have a few small dark blue marks that bled from my UNIQLO selvedge raw denim jeans.
First, I wet-brushed them: I got them very damp with a cloth, and while they were still wet, I brushed them until they were dry. This didn't really do much except clear off the dirt and dust and grime, and helped take out some of the denim bleed marks.
Next, I put on a latex glove and applied healthy doses of Bick 4 all over the boots, including the bellowed tongues (and inside the crease that the bellows form). I got the boots fairly heavily moisturized with Bick 4, and then brushed them down until the Bick 4 was absorbed as much as it can be, especially in the dry spots. By this point, the boots had lost most of their natural shine and were fairly dull.
Most of the nicks and scratches and dry spots were neutralized by the Bick 4 and the brushing, but I decided to apply some Alden tan paste wax, since they'd never been given any paste wax. The paste wax worked quite well and actually matched the color of the boots surprisingly well. I think it would work quite nicely on Ravello or Whiskey shell, too. I applied the paste wax sparingly, with a different latex glove, rubbed the wax to a dull surface all over the boots, and then brushed each boot for at least 5 minutes.
Finally, I buffed each boot with a polishing cloth, paying special attention to the toe, heel, and vamp areas. I then applied Allen Edmonds Chili edge dressing, which worked quite nicely.
All said and done, I'm quite impressed with how well it all worked. The dry spots/patches are nice and smooth now, the mottled patina is still present, but the boots have a nice luster and shine that's fairly tough for me to achieve using the usual methods.
It's especially fun when you're dripping in sweat after giving a pair of shoes or boots some care.
I don't have any before pics, but these are definitely the best they've looked yet.
The first "after" image is without flash, and fairly accurately represents how they look in most situations, but since it's already dark outside I couldn't get a nice natural light shot. The second "after" image is with flash, just because I think they look cool with the flash since it really highlights the variation in the shell.
heavy douse of conditioner (lexol or bick4) with shoe trees inside should tone down the creasing.
There is a two pencil method that help to guide the creases in place. Not sure if it works on used shoes. But creases on the left and right shoe can be different and for many reasons. It is hard to say from your photos whether you were deliberately bending them to capture it on camera. One reason they crease differently is that your feet could be slightly of a different size. Also they may tend to crease more if you have low volume feet and the shoes have higher instep or are wider than your measured size and wearing them might dig into your feet. a shoe insert might take care of that by filling up the space.
This is why I asked. Thanks for the advice! I will just wear them for now, and I love the idea for Danite as the replacement sole. What colors does Danite come in?
I don't want to be rude, but aren't these beyond, reasonable, repair? I can't see how they are 'lightly used'. It looks as though the previous owner had bought shoes that were too small for him. I can't really see a major difference between the 'abnormal' and 'normal' shots. I might be completely wrong on this and fully accept other views.