Originally Posted by patrickBOOTH
If you go over some dark polish, or marks on the vamp of a shoe with renomat you will strip away layers of polish as well as finish and such. This removes a lot of the natural oils and such and needs to be conditioned. A layer of polish will just even out the finish and color. Not every situation exists in a vacuum. Shoes that don't have an issue like polish buildup, or marks, or anything, they are just normal shoes repeated polishing of the vamp isn't needed, however in this case it would.
Thanks for the clarification Patrick. I appreciate your answering the question in the manner it was intended. I really am trying to understand your position in regard to polishing the vamp of a shoe.
I don’t want to beat a dead horse, and I don’t want to come across as attacking your position. However, I think it is useful to this forum and specifically to this thread, for two experienced members to discuss the basis of their difference of opinion, for the benefit of the membership; Contrary to flame wars which are just stupid personal attacks, and a waste of everyone’s time.
I would think that what parts of a shoe should be polished is pretty germane to a thread on shoe care.
My disagreement is with your statement that "If you want your shoes to last you shouldn't maintain a ‘shine’ on the vamp of your shoe.", and here is why I disagree:
The wax in shoe polish acts not only as a polishing agent, but also as a protector to the surface of the leather to some degree. Your statement that “A layer of polish will just even out the finish and color” (in the context of helping the look of the boot in question) seems to ignore the aspect of the polish also adding some protection to the shoe after it has been stripped and conditioned. I cannot tell if you believe that wax has any role in protecting a shoe in general or not. I believe it does.
Since I believe that wax serves as some level of protection to the shoe, I therefore believe that the vamp (as well as the rest of the shoe) should have some wax on it; Not very much wax, but some (not to include suede shoes and the like of course).
Since the vamp flexes more than any other part of the shoe, it benefits less from the polishing/smoothing aspect of the wax than other parts of the shoe that are rigid, and therefore less wax is necessary.
This is why I always make a point of distinguishing between cream polish and paste polish, because cream polish has a higher ratio of oil to wax than paste polish which has a higher ratio of wax to oil. Using cream polish on the vamp adds more oil to the leather where it is most needed (the flexible vamp), and less wax than paste polish.
Due to the molecular structure of wax, once on the shoe it doesn’t come off easily (unless it was applied way too thick). Trying to rub all the wax off your shoe with a cloth, and no solvent, is quite a task – even with just a light coat of wax. Brushing a shoe will remove a very, very small amount of wax, but enough that you would want to have different shoe brushes for your tan loafers and your black cap toes.
The main purpose of brushing a shoe with a shoe brush is to spread out and smooth the existing wax on the shoe. This will inherently cause a shine. The degree of shine is determined only by a couple of factors: 1) The remaining wax to oil ration in the polish (you can’t spit shine a shoe with cream polish, at least I can’t) and 2) the smoothness of the wax surface. The smoother the surface the wax is applied to the easier it is to create a smooth wax surface.
Since once you put wax on a shoe it remains there for quite some time, unless it is purposely stripped off, each time you brush a shoe you are again spreading and smoothing the existing wax, and will produce a shine of some degree, without adding any new polish to the shoe. If at some point you are unable to produce a brush shine it is most likely due to the wax getting too dirty, and it should be stripped and replaced (and the shoe conditioned with oils after the wax is stripped).
When you start with a less smooth surface, or want a brighter shine (like a spit shine), it takes more coats of wax to create a smoother and smoother surface. When you get to the point of a spit shine the surface of the wax is like a very thin hard candy coating. If the surface under the thin hard candy coating of wax flexes (as the vamp of a shoe does) that wax will fracture and lay in the creases of the shoe.
Spreading out and smoothing wax to produce a shine does not change its molecular structure, but too much wax in general has been considered a detriment to the ability of leather to “breath”. I don’t use a lot of wax on my shoes, so I don’t have any real experience with excessive wax being a breathability issue. But, I can tell you that for the last 40 years or so I have maintained a shine on the vamp of my shoes with no deleterious effect. Not that I have shoes that are 40 years old, but rather that I didn’t get rid of them because the vamp was too shiny and ruined the shoe.
I suspect what you are trying to say is not "If you want your shoes to last you shouldn't maintain a ‘shine’ on the vamp of your shoe.", but rather “If you want your shoes to last you should only keep a minimal amount of wax on the vamp”. I don’t want to put words in your mouth, so please let me know if I still don’t understand your position, and where I am mistaken. I am always willing to learn.