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Strange church's shoe polishing problem and cracks

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 
Hi, I have a pair of three year old Church's shoe that have acquired a very nice shine, after much polish and cream. However, the repeated polishing seems to have left a layer over the leather such that when I apply cream, it is not absorbed into the leather, ie. the cream remains on the surface of the shoe, creating a very unsightly effect where brush/cloth marks are visible. Also, small cracks have formed along the creases of the shoe. Should these cracks worry me? Any input would be most appreciated. Thanks. Regards, JiaXian
post #2 of 15
Sounds like your shoes are suffering from excessive wax build-up. The cracks are probably from the wax surface cracking, and not the leather.
post #3 of 15
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the info. Any ideas on how to remove the excess wax?
post #4 of 15
There are commercial cleaners and polish strippers available, but I wouldn't know what to use. I've never encountered this problem personally. Another forum member might be of more help than I on this matter.
post #5 of 15
A. Harris will know. Wait for him to comment on this thread.
post #6 of 15
You can get leather cleaner, but neutral polish will work fine. If you apply it sparingly then it will effectively strip the old layers of polish. If your shoes are made of good quality calf, then you'll start seeing the pores as the polish comes off. When you're finished, apply some shoe cream sparingly and rub it in (don't allow it to dry). Leave overnight and then apply some polish (there are several good posts on this topic already). Regarding the cracks - it should be pretty obvious to distinguish cracked polish from cracked leather. To avoid the latter, apply cream every couple of weeks.
post #7 of 15
Have you tried saddle soap? I use saddle soap on my boots annually before I re-waterproof them. -Tom
post #8 of 15
Although to use neutral polish for cleaning works pretty well (as MPS has recommended, presumably on the recommendation of Mme Berluti), it needs quite a bit of elbow (or index finger) grease. For larger scale stripping jobs, Mme Berluti recommends vodka, I'm not sure if you need a special brand or if any old vodka will do. But for polishing shoes (again, according to Madame) only Dom Perignon champagne will do. If you prefer your Stoli chilled and served in small glasses, use white spirit or surgical alcohol. Dampen an old cloth with it and it will take the whole gunk off in next to no time. Once you have stripped the shoes give them a good coating with leather food or neutral cream (the soft stuff from glass jars, not the polish from flat tins.) Then you can inspect them (use a magnifying glass if necessary), if the cracks are in the leather or have been removed with the old polish. It is possible that your Church's shoes were made from corrected grain leather (bookbinder), which looks very shiny when new but does not wear well. If the cracks are in the leather, there is not very much you can do; apart from regular shoe cream, as to make the problem not worse.
post #9 of 15
I agree that sounds like excess polish buildup. Just a note: I heard that you're only supposed to polish the toe, and other select parts, but not the whole shoe. Don't polish where the shoe bends to avoid the cracking at the creases.
post #10 of 15
Whew. I recently noticed similar cracking on my Edward Green Westminsters, and was afraid I was gonna have to sell a kidney to get another pair from George Bass. Thanks for the vodka suggestion, Bengal Stripe; perhaps bourbon would add to the golden glow of the leather
post #11 of 15
[quote]A. Harris will know. Wait for him to comment on this thread.QUOTE] I am touched by your faith in me The suggestions given already have been excellent. All I can add is that using a good leather cleaner/conditioner once or twice a month will keep this from happening - it has a slight stripping effect, as well as softening the leather and leaving a nice shine. I ran out of Allen Edmonds cleaner/conditioner some time back, and tried several other products, which doubled my faith in the Allen Edmonds product. It's wonderful stuff and is at least three times as effective as anything else I've tried. Smells nice too. Oh, and if you run into a really stubborn finish, acetone will do wonders. I've used it to antique shoes before. But you have to be very careful, and it's definitely not for the fainthearted
post #12 of 15
SJX> I have cracks on my almost 3-year old Church's as well. I am sure in my case that it is the leather which cracked, not the built up polish. I condition my shoes regularly and I don't think it's due to neglect. I thus suspect that the leather quality of Church's is not good. Anyone else has the same unfortunate experience?
post #13 of 15
Thread Starter 
Thank you for all your suggestions. I tried using medical alcohol swabs, the kind used to swab the skin before a needle is inserted, and managed to remove the layer of excess polish. Unfortunately, it took the better part of 1 hour to remove a small portion of it. I'll try the saddle soap tomorrow, I have a canister of Dasco cleaning foam. Is there any particular type of cleaner that is superior, ie. foam vs cream vs whatever else is available? Thanks. Regards, JiaXian
post #14 of 15
One thing - are you guys certain that these shoes are not made from corrected grain leather?? Because if they are there is nothing you can do, and trying to strip off the finish is just going to make it worse...
post #15 of 15
Thread Starter 
Hi, How does one distinguish corrected grain leather? I'm quite certain it's due to an excessive polish build up, as I can see a distinct layer over the leather at the edges of the leather near the stitching. I'm managed to get rid of that using alcohol and shoe cream, and the grain of the leather is quite apparent now. Though it looks like more work to get the shine back again. Regards, JiaXian
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