Those are gorgeous
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I know I won't get much sympathy here but needed to vent. I have a modest shell collection, but of the 5 pairs I own I've had issues now with 4. Yesterday I scuffed my cigar plain toes. Not a big deal, I know that's going to happen. Today I woke up and began working on them, but after using a deer bone (lightly) and brushing, a second area which resembled the scuff appeared. See pictures below. The scuff on the left was caused by wearing and the circular one on the right from caring for the shoes.
I know that shell is thought of as a tough leather and I would never deny its aesthetic appeal, but I have found it to be anything but resilient. And I should say that I have been firmly planted on the side that babies shell, despite its reputation for being a tough material. The only pair with which I have not had an issue is a color 8 LWB floor model from 2002 that I picked up last year. I love that shoe. The leather feels thicker than my other shells and has never had any issues. I'm not holding Alden solely responsible for Horween's material, which may or may not have been better several years ago. But I do hold Alden responsible for the quality and longevity of their product.
I'm also about to send back a pair of kudu boots which now have speed hooks that have rotated and trim stitching that has come undone. At best I can accept this as natural wear, even though I've owned them for less than a year and only wear then 2-3 times per month.
Still, my Wolverine Addisons have never had any issues and have had at least 5 times the wear. Definitely not as comfortable as my Aldens but at I'm not dealing with customer service on a boot that's half the price.
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My Wolverine Krause are much the same as your Addisons and both they and my RW black cherry Beckman's over time have indentations in the leather that will never go away. No one leather is perfect in every aspect. Last month I wore my Wolverine shell 744's in Az. hiking in the desert and mountains every day for a week and in the city in the evenings, they worked out perfectly for me and I believe it was the best choice of footwear for me to take.
Good luck with the repair on your cigar shells. It sounds like your not going to give up and that is great.
In response to Wardrobe guy and cordovan scuffs.
This has been my experience too, I do not own a deer bone but thinking maybe it is time to get one. I use my fingers as mentioned above. I totally agree that shell will heal almost like a living material over time with work, it is one of the things I like about it. Also beware that Reno on cuts that are deep will turn shell or leather dark black, and it may not lighten up. With lighter colored shell after doing the water brushing I prefer to start with a thin layer of cream on the cut and work it in. And then follow up with a very light coat of Reno. Otherwise you may end up with a black line where the cut was that will not go away.
Most people provide very little care for their shoes but most of us on here do. And I believe some of us have a tendency to use too much product, sort of like the gardener that loves their plants to death by over watering and over fertilizing. Just water brushing goes a long ways with the occasional thin coat of wax for water and snow protection IMO.
Anyone here in the forum use below process to protect new shell shoes? The below is pulled from the Alden of Carmel site.
"Recently, a good customer of Alden shoes offered these care tips for brand new shell cordovan shoes, in order to help protect the leather from water and other elements.
Using a fine cloth, apply a very thin layer of paste wax (not cream) on the shoes. Rub this paste wax in very carefully for about 5 minutes. Wait 1/2 hour and repeat process. Then wait another 1/2 hour, and repeat process a third time.
After this, dip the same fine cloth in water, and rub thoroughly in a cicrular motion until the shine begins to appear. (The cloth should not be really wet. The cloth should just be dipped in water for a very short time, so that the cloth is damp.) But if you rub thoroughly you should see a very thin film of water on the leather for a short time.
When dry, brush with a soft horse hair brush, then polish with a soft cloth."
I do not apply wax until after I wear my shell at least half a dozen times and creases and rolls start to develop. I normally use 2 thin coats of paste wax instead of 3, although will use 3 if I can't "feel" the wax after the second application. And then finish off with a nylon stocking over my hand and rubbing the shoe for at least 5 min. Then water brush to finish.
As to the earlier question about how often to apply Alden Defender I only use it when I know my shoes are going to be exposed to snow or rain and then use it right before the event. It does not appear to provide protection for very long at all, not more than 1 wearing IME. When my 2 bottles are gone not sure that I will continue to use it, but don't think it hurts anything either.
I do like Saphir creams and that is all I use for cream now. But I only use cream on shell when it has a deep scuff or scratch. I also like the Saphir paste wax but also use Kiwi (which is rumored to be what Alden wax is) and also AE Carnauba paste wax. I do not care for the Saphir cordovan shell polish at all. I only have the clear and do not use it because I feel it does not provide any water protection, it is more a cream than a polish. According to Saphir and Kirby the cordovan shell polish is what your supposed to use on shell because everything else contains turpentine which they claim is harmful to shell. I'm not buying it Nick Horween has recommended Venetian shoe cream for shell for years and it contains a high amount of turpentine. And so does Reno. I do like most all the Saphir shoe care products but feel that Saphir cordovan shell polish misses the mark. YMMV.
Great googly-moogly. I want your life, wj4.
I'd like to get an Alden shortwing and I'm looking for some advice on Tremont sizing which will be a new last for me. I've been happy with a 9D in the Plaza NST Boot, and 8.5D in Barrie LWBs, WTBs and TB Indys. Most of what I've read says go with your Barrie size, but the retailer is leading me toward going tts (9D). Any thoughts? Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!!
It'll really all depend on the shape of your foot. I find the Tremont to line up w/ my Barrie size perfectly - I've got room to spare in the Barrie, but my Tremont is spot on in the toebox and foot opening. If you can try them on, great. If not, order two sizes and return the one you're least satisfied with. It is one of those boarderline lasts that can go either way.
Finally got the Roy boots in. These were my first exposure to Alden's (have bought other pairs between finding out about these and getting the pre-order in), so I'm super excited about getting these in - just in time for my birthday too
Didn't have the most ideal lighting for photos today:
More photos (Click to show)
Also one more that shows the actual color a little better:
My first boot on the TruBalance last and I'm liking it a lot so far. I was worried that going from my Modified natural cxl boot to this would feel too loose, but it's actually tighter in the heel (or so it seems) which works well for me.