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**The Official Shoe Care Thread: Tutorials, Photos, etc.**

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by Mr. Moo, Feb 28, 2011.

  1. DWFII

    DWFII Well-Known Member

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    Why would it rot in France but not in England? It doesn't make sense...

    Most outsole leather is full veg. One of the foremost tanneries of full veg outsoling is Baker Leather...in Colyton, Devon, England. Most of those outsoles live in London where, rumour has it, it's wet a lot. One way or the other veg tan has been around for a lot longer than chrome and survived worse than chrome has had time to be exposed to. The Meta Catarina Russia calf was underwater for two plus centuries.

    The advantage that chrome has over veg is that it's faster to tan.
     
  2. DWFII

    DWFII Well-Known Member

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    Horween recommends Venetian Shoe Cream which has petroleum distillates in it, and is toxic. AFAIK, Bick4...while not edible is neither.

    To answer your question more directly, I wouldn't hesitate to use it on shell. But I don't like shell and don't use it much...never have.
     
  3. traverscao

    traverscao Well-Known Member

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    Sir, the first batch of the trench boots made for our troops during The First Great War (respectively WW1) was made of full vegetable pit tanned leather, including the sole. They later on had the upper chrome and veg retanned, and then on in the 60s full chrome to save money, as you said. But the Pershing boots were chromed veg retanned.

    Come to think about it, though, you're more right than I am, because the troops had to stand in mud, dirt, and poisonous water more than we do.

    Russia Calf, sir, was drenched in aromatic oil, which, I believe, was a great contribution.
     
  4. DWFII

    DWFII Well-Known Member

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    I don't know where I got it and it might be apocryphal but I seem to recall that there was a great scandal regarding the supplier of leather boots during the First World War esp. in Britain. Poor leather, poor workmanship.

    Coats made of wool shoddy fell apart in the first heavy rain during the Am. Civil War. Does that mean wool is a subject to rot or to falling apart?

    It's perhaps worth remembering that living human flesh rotted in the trenches, as well.

    Regardless I'd place the record of vegetable tanned leather...which must go back a thousand years at least...against the record of chrome tanned leather and point out, forbye, that chrome tanning is inherently toxic and damaging to people and places. I know that's not the issue but it's inescapable.

    --
     
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2015
  5. traverscao

    traverscao Well-Known Member

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    Well, for the part of the scandal, did it happened in our boots supply in the US as well? I knew of our troops' bitter complains about British ammo boots, but the prime concern on our US boots were rotting issues.

    Chrome tanned leather certainly is toxic and damaging. Imagine how long chrome or metal takes to be dispose of, and I cannot sleep well.

    Personally, I would stick to vegetable tanned leather any day in the week, and any minutes in the hour. But it seems like they are getting rare (as of shoe leather, especially smooth calf).
     
  6. DWFII

    DWFII Well-Known Member

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    Yet another triumph of expediency, perforce.

    Notwithstanding that there seems to be considerably more available now than when I began so many years ago.
     
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2015
  7. traverscao

    traverscao Well-Known Member

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    So people can still have their shoes made of veg tanned calf, can they?
     
  8. Fred G. Unn

    Fred G. Unn Well-Known Member

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    1 person likes this.
  9. DWFII

    DWFII Well-Known Member

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    Of course. Many many makers use a full veg for linings...for a number of reasons not the least of which is because it doesn't rot as quickly as chrome (whether that's because it isn't finished, we can only speculate).

    One of the finest dress leathers in the world--upper leathers (vamp, quarters, etc) is St. Crispin Baby Calf from A.A. Crack. One of several upper leathers they carry that are pure veg.

    Most, if not all, crust...which seems to be popular among the Italian and French makers...is pure veg.

    There's a tannery in Germany that does nothing but veg tanned upper leathers and another that specializes in veg tanned upholstery leather.

    We don't get much crust stateside but I've got friends (shoemakers) who are exploring dying veg calf/kip for uppers. Personally, I think one needs a dying vat to get the dye to penetrate into the flesh but the grain side can look terrific and take a mirror shine...in a manner not too dissimilar to crust.

    And of course, in high end shoes...esp. bespoke..the insoles and outsoles, toe and heel stiffeners, as well as heel stacks will be veg tanned.
     
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2015
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  10. traverscao

    traverscao Well-Known Member

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    Is it possible to have a pair of bespoke shoes completely made of veg tan leather - from the heel to the sole to the smallest detail? I am dreaming of one. I really have to battle a time proportion to come and pay you a visit some times.

    And if anything, I like leather shoes that are only dyed lightly on the surface, especially Navy color. I don't like vat dyed stuffs. I prefer the leather to show its true nature if it was scuffed.
     
  11. DWFII

    DWFII Well-Known Member

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    Yes.
     
  12. traverscao

    traverscao Well-Known Member

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    Dream just came true for me!!! I'll try organize my time table.

    Veg tanned leather takes oils and greases better, do they?
     
  13. jerrybrowne

    jerrybrowne Well-Known Member

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    What is this obsession with oils and greases?
     
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  14. traverscao

    traverscao Well-Known Member

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    Long term nourishment, Jerry, and higher water resistance capability. And since I walk a lot, normal conditioners won't stand.
     
  15. patrickBOOTH

    patrickBOOTH Well-Known Member

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    Unnecessary, travers.
     
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  16. traverscao

    traverscao Well-Known Member

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    During summer care, I normally exclude those products, and instead just apply Lexol when the leather is damp.

    However, during the colder winter months (when sometimes I even wear my normal shoes out the snow), I'd have 'em oiled and greased.

    Shell is an exception, because it's veg tanned and was hot stuffed.
     
  17. jerrybrowne

    jerrybrowne Well-Known Member

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    + 1


    Why would you apply any kind of product to your shoes when they are damp? Does not seem like a good idea.
     
  18. traverscao

    traverscao Well-Known Member

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    They would absorb the right amount, Jerry, and they won't get soggy. Dry leather would suck up the liquid nourishment in matters of seconds, and create the illusion of them being very dry, when in fact, those excess conditioner will make the leather damn soggy in later wear, and possibly prevent a shine, even.

    Apply the product when damp will give it just the right amount, and will prevent the leather from getting soggy. When the leather is completely dry, it will not prevent a shine - you can even brush the surface and get the healthy, smooth look.
     
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  19. jerrybrowne

    jerrybrowne Well-Known Member

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    You have a unique approach to shoe care.
     
  20. traverscao

    traverscao Well-Known Member

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    I was always the crazy oddball, Jerry.

    @patrickBOOTH remember the time when you thought I was trolling when I said I greased my shell cordovan? LOL!!!
     

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