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**The Official Shoe Care Thread: Tutorials, Photos, etc.** - Page 1174

post #17596 of 19061
Quote:
Originally Posted by rbhan12 View Post

Let's not nitpick words here. 

In my opinion, with some application of science and logic, leather will not crack if it has some form of moisture in it. Possible to tear, but not crack. Think of a leaf still on a tree and one on the ground during the fall. One is crunchy and cracks because it doesn't have water in it anymore (moisture). Similarly, think of a small twig. It can crack and snap easily if it is dry, but if it's wet the wood will simply bend (again moisture). 

That's not necessarily true. Several things mitigate against it being true.

First, in almost all situations, shoes crack at the ball of the foot first--where the leather is flexing the most. Why is that, do you suppose?

The reason is that oils (in conditioners) and waxes tend to collect micro fine particles of grit and hold them in place. In the creases of a shoe, these particles rub against each other and the leather itself. The grit is loosely bonded to the leather forming a temporary sandpaper, in effect. Over a period of time...esp. with the addition of more oils and waxes...this drives the particles deeper into the pores and the grain surface is cut. Each tiny defect in the grain, caused by the action of the grit, becomes a recess in which more particles can build up and work their way deeper. As well as water (which can change the ph of the leather) and other deleterious substances.

We tend to discount these events because they take place on such a small scale and over such a relatively long period of time...slowly, slowly. We don't notice until it is too late.

Second, the finish on the leather, as thin as it may be, is still an extra layer that is fundamentally more fragile than the grain itself, in most cases. And in most cases the grain has been "snuffed"...if only slightly...to allow the finish to adhere. Finished leathers tend, IMO, to crack more quickly than crust leathers although the difference may be unnoticeable in the normal course of events.

None of this has anything to do with the moisture in the leather per se except that dry leathers will, of course, absorb conditioners faster, and carry grit deeper into the leather. Added to that is what you alluded to--some leathers, dried out leathers in particular, are comprised of fibers that are more brittle than other leathers. But it is worth remembering that some leathers are drier than others right out of the tannery. And those in cases where the leather has "died" or been affected by red rot, no amount of moisturizing can bring it back or prevent cracking--often catastrophic cracking.

edited for punctuation and clarity
Edited by DWFII - 1/28/16 at 4:41am
post #17597 of 19061
English please, should we condition our shoes or not, and if so 1 or 2 times per year or more?
post #17598 of 19061
Uppers crack between creases on vamp as well.

Condition. Depend on wearing frequency and environment. If you have 10+ pairs, probably less than 2 per year on a as needed basis.
post #17599 of 19061

@DWFII You seem to know what the hell you're talking about. Which conditioner and neutral polish would you recommend?

post #17600 of 19061
Quote:
Originally Posted by gsgleason View Post

Here is what I did last night.

I scraped the green stuff of the eyelets the best I could with a dental scaler. It was all over the outside as well as inside between the quarter lining and the shell. It looks like the hidden eyelets had some sort of paint to make them look brass, but it was shiny metal underneath. The coating appears to have corroded over time, turning a blue/green color. It was hard and chipped off.

I think the best solution would be to remove the eyelets altogether and install new ones, but I've read that's very expensive, sometimes $15 per eyelet. For a pair of shoes with 20 total eyelets, that would be ridiculous. If anyone knows how much that typically runs, please let me know.

I then wiped everything down with a clean cloth with diluted vinegar, followed by Lexol all over the uppers and the dark leather bit that runs around the opening. I clearly don't know my shoe terminology.

I did another coat of Lexol this morning, inside and out. It's almost alarming how quickly it soaks into the shell.

The conditioner made the color a little more rich, and it's quite attractive. My plan is to let them rest for a day at least, then go over with renovateur to get a nice sheen.

Since I'll probably have to talk to a cobbler about removing the metal V cleat, I may as well talk to him about eyelet replacement.

Those being copper or bronze eyelets it would definitely be oxidation. Like the green roofs on old churches and other buildings that have copper roofing. Basically copper or bronze oxidizing with CO2 and other acids from the surrounding air over time.
post #17601 of 19061
Quote:
Originally Posted by Darkside View Post

@DWFII
 You seem to know what the hell you're talking about. Which conditioner and neutral polish would you recommend?

I recommend Bick4. I might have been one of the first to recommend it...quite a ways back in this thread. As far as waxes or polishes are concerned, I use cremes very very sparingly or not at all on my own shoes and Angelus wax when bulling, but only on the toe and heel--where the leather doesn't flex. But I don't really think it matters--they're all somewhat occlusive and equally bad for the reasons I mentioned above..

I think probably the best advice overall is simply to brush your shoes daily--keep them clean
post #17602 of 19061
Quote:
Originally Posted by tharkun View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by gsgleason View Post

Here is what I did last night.

I scraped the green stuff of the eyelets the best I could with a dental scaler. It was all over the outside as well as inside between the quarter lining and the shell. It looks like the hidden eyelets had some sort of paint to make them look brass, but it was shiny metal underneath. The coating appears to have corroded over time, turning a blue/green color. It was hard and chipped off.

I think the best solution would be to remove the eyelets altogether and install new ones, but I've read that's very expensive, sometimes $15 per eyelet. For a pair of shoes with 20 total eyelets, that would be ridiculous. If anyone knows how much that typically runs, please let me know.

I then wiped everything down with a clean cloth with diluted vinegar, followed by Lexol all over the uppers and the dark leather bit that runs around the opening. I clearly don't know my shoe terminology.

I did another coat of Lexol this morning, inside and out. It's almost alarming how quickly it soaks into the shell.

The conditioner made the color a little more rich, and it's quite attractive. My plan is to let them rest for a day at least, then go over with renovateur to get a nice sheen.

Since I'll probably have to talk to a cobbler about removing the metal V cleat, I may as well talk to him about eyelet replacement.

Those being copper or bronze eyelets it would definitely be oxidation. Like the green roofs on old churches and other buildings that have copper roofing. Basically copper or bronze oxidizing with CO2 and other acids from the surrounding air over time.

Actually, that stuff scraped off in hard flakes. It appears that the eyelets had a lacquer of some sort to make them look brass. When it was all scraped off it was silvery metal. I think the coating corroded. I'm going to take them to a cobbler to have them replaced.
post #17603 of 19061
Quote:
Originally Posted by gsgleason View Post

Actually, that stuff scraped off in hard flakes. It appears that the eyelets had a lacquer of some sort to make them look brass. When it was all scraped off it was silvery metal. I think the coating corroded. I'm going to take them to a cobbler to have them replaced.

If they weren't brass then its definitely not like a copper roof, yes wink.gif
post #17604 of 19061
Quote:
Originally Posted by rbhan12 View Post

Not sure I agree with this.

I don't really think it comes down to your opinion. It is the truth that the majority of shoes out there have a topcoat. It may not look like very cheap corrected grain shoes, but they have topcoats and the majority of what you're doing is treating that. Look at leather chemist forums on the net, they all pretty much roll their eyes at the idea of conditioning most leathers. Modern topcoats are allegedly less occlusive, but as DW said keeping them clean is probably going to do your shoes better than slathering on conditioners.

The branch analogy is sound to a degree. I have used the same analogy before in this very thread, but also remember a soggy branch will also fall apart. Also, it comes down to why your shoes are cracking. Moisture and oil will only allow the fibers to move across one another easily, however the fibers are still flexing and bending themselves; the only thing that will prevent that is not wearing them. Whether shoes crack because a lack of moisture, or simply because the fibers have bent more than they can handle is up for endless debate. But I have come to my conclusions after many, many years of trying different conditioning products and methods. In the end I don't think it is worth losing sleep over as there are too many variables at play that you really can't produce anything conclusive.

Somebody asked about Lexol, I tend to like products that are emulsified because it is a bit more difficult to over oil leather with it because of the water content. Oils, as DW has said time and time again attract dust and dirt, which acts as sandpaper, and furthermore will turn leather fibers into a wet rag than can come apart if overdone.

I know a highly respected forum member, who simply goes to a shine stand and reads the paper to take care of his shoes and he doesn't have issues with cracking. Also, I see hipsters walking around in my neighborhood with beat up shoes worn in the rain and such with no cracking. I have had shoes that only saw the beloved Saphir product regiment crack in no time. In the end, I don't think it is worth worrying about because the factors that lead to cracking are largely out of your control.
post #17605 of 19061

While I don't disagree with what you're saying, I think to forgo conditioning all together is not sound advice. I agree that brushing and keeping your shoes in dust bags are very important as well. I also agree we can debate this until death do us part. 

 

For reference, I use Bick4, brush before and after wearing, keep shoes in dust bags, and brush again before conditioning. 

post #17606 of 19061
I suspect one of the problems connected to why we don't like to think that shoe care have no effect is personal bias. Taking care of shoes is more of a hobby for me right now; I got a couple of shoe boxes filled with different waxes, creams, soaps, conditioners and so on, and I enjoy making worn shoes look their best. For me, conditioning leather makes it feel and look better, but that is close to no proof of it actually having the wanted effect. However, as I have huge respect for Glenjay, and quite possibly because I have a bias towards his results as well as enjoyable process, I like to follow his steps: http://oldleathershoe.com/wordpress/?cat=3&paged=3.
post #17607 of 19061

+ 1

post #17608 of 19061

gets harder and harder to condition my gore tex hiking boots these days.

post #17609 of 19061

Perhaps it is possible to locate shoe wearers in - at least - three categories.  First, those who do nothing to their shoes and wear them every day. Second, those who take care of their shoes, wear them in rotation and enjoy polishing their shoes. Third, those who take a scientific approach to shoe care and who know about the interactions between products and leathers, alongside enjoying polishing their shoes.. I appreciate that these three might best be plotted on a spectrum, but let's not get too technical, here. 

 

For what my amateur thoughts are worth, I have found that brushing really does take care of most shoes. I have learnt this from experts on the site and it works. 


Edited by Munky - 1/28/16 at 10:23am
post #17610 of 19061

I haven't heard much up in here regarding humidity levels and any impact it may have.  I know in humid areas, take an island like Bermuda for example, you can have your dehumidifiers running all day and your clothes will still be damp, potentially moldy, especially over time.

 

So I wonder what a climate like that would do to leather? Would it act as a natural conditioner and help keep shoes in your closet more moist than if you lived in say Phoenix?  And say you live in Phoenix is there a greater need to condition and/or use cream polish so that shoes aren't drying out. 

 

In Chicago we get best of both.  There are times in the summer it can be overly hot/humid though to me it's never prolonged enough to really have impact in the house or more importantly one's closet.  Certainly nothing like a climate of Bermuda or other areas.  But then in the winter it can get very dry in the house.  

 

There really are so many factors involved.  But given identical shoes, # of days worn, # of steps/day, and polish ingredients/brands, I would think that where a person lives is the defining variable in the equation.

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