Patrick_b & Gerry Nelson: I now feel it doesn't work for chelsea boots.
Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
You end up with too much of a strict dividing line between between wrinkled and smooth leather. Also, on those black pics above, the rest of the boot is simply too dry to contrast well. As I mentioned earlier in this thread, it was merely an experiment. However, I very much like the way Crat manages a fading/blending in of the mirror on just the tip of the toecap. Nice
The whiskey RMW boots (same treatment) are now back to having just RMW saddle dressing. Not a drop of hard or soft wax. I like the look of sunlight + heat on bare leather. You see, it isn't all about mirror shining.
Having said that, I like the look of a mirrored cap-toe. That simple row of stitches gives my eager finger permission to shine. The pics of Patrick_b's Alden boots are some of the best in this thread. Shiny or matt, they're Great.
Off-topic: That's it, I've given up on wearing fine leather in salty/slushy conditions. This is where corrected grain shines. I have a pair of ugly Mephisto shoes that seem impervious to this corrosive stuff. Give them a quick swipe of Danner shoe gunk and I'm ready to go. I'll post some nightmare inducing pics.
Lear (heading down the Vass/Carmina cordovan route)
I couldn't agree more. I remember stopping by a shine booth at the airport in DC many years ago and the guy produced an amazing mirror shine on my black calf cap toe shoes. At the time, I thought one needed a lifetime of experience to replicate such a great shine. I think what you showed me in those early attempts with the RMW boots was that a mirror polish was attainable by the average joe. It just takes a little knowledge, a lot of work and even more trial and error.
Upon starting this journey I wanted to mirror polish everything. I put a close-to-mirror toe on both of my yearling RMW Craftsman boots. I would have tried to mirror polish our dog if he'd stay still long enough.
For reference: Brutus the dog
Like a kid playing with a new toy, I went a bit overboard. However, all that experimenting was the trial and error that eventually showed me what works and what doesn't. My RMW boots now get the occasional coat of RMW's leather conditioner. I prefer the matte finish a lot of my shoes, including dress shoes. I have three pair of shell shoes & boots in the rotation and find they look their best with very little product. They get plenty of *care* just minimal products. Brush 99% of the time and Renovateur only if they need it.
The mirror has its place and when done right it can really stand out. IMO, a shoe like these inexpensive AE bluchers are a good candidate for the mirror toe.