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**The Official Shoe Care Thread: Tutorials, Photos, etc.** - Page 492
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[Cross-post with the Allen Edmonds Appreciation Thread, as I'd love to hear comments or feedback from resident leather care experts.]
I thought I would share my experience stretching my Allen Edmonds Elgins to alleviate pain on my right pinky toe so I could share the effects on the leather itself.
As background, I had some factory second Elgins (in Tan Saddle Waxy Leather) that fit great on the left foot but were too right in the right toe box. The shoes are visually a little different, and I actually believe crooked lasting may contribute to it, though I have other shoes that are tighter on the right than the left. I didn't realize that the fit wasn't right until I had worn them out multiple times.
I decided to stretch them with this shoe stretcher and this shoe stretch spray. I did this multiple times, sometimes leaving them for weeks. I noticed it was affecting the leather, but decided to not stop until they fit right, as I wouldn't wear them until they were comfortable. Here're the results:
Hopefully this doesn't give anyone nightmares! As you can see, they took some serious stress. Honestly, the right pair looks like an elderly version of the first. Only the vamp took damage. Believe it or not, I gave it multiple coats of Renovateur to try to bring it back to life, but these pictures are after only one day of wear post-Reno.
As sad as it is to damage the leather, I'm very happy with the fit now. If there's any advice on what I could do to help repair the leather I'd love to hear it, but I'm not expecting there is. Possibly something to darken the wrinkles and micro-cracks, but certainly nothing to heal them.
Also, I'd be curious to hear if these results are especially atypical; it's possible I did something wrong in the process. The only think I can think that was abnormal was I used a stretcher that was too small so it had to be very wide to stretch the vamp, and seemed to only stretch the vamp. Perhaps if I had had the correct size stretcher (which I do now), this wouldn't be so extreme.
Kentyman, sorry to say, but the renovateur is probably contributing to the dryness that you see there. There is a lot of turpentine in that stuff, and it should only be used sparingly. I personally only use about a half a q-tip tip amount on the toe and heels of my shoes to raise a shine in them again. You need to condition the vamps and use a good quality cream polish. I would use Lexol, Bick 4, and a good cream, better yet a Glenkaren shoe cream, which is a perfect one stop product for the vamp, imo. Reno, is more of a cleaner/polish than a real conditioner. I have only had bad experiences with it using it solely as a conditioner.
I got my local cobbler to stretch my Loake's Chester brogues. He used a fairly heavy duty, aluminium affair, which looked a bit like a last. He charged me £2 and with the agreement that, if they still didn't fit, he would do them without further charge. Sounded like a bargain to me! He made a very good job of them and the stretching can only be seen if you look very closely at the shoes. The leather shows no marks or creases in the area he worked on. With the addition of an arch support, they are now very comfortable. Previously, I had used Saphir leather Softener on them but this seemed to do nothing.