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Building a Shoe Care Kit

RL Beasley

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Yesterday I had the good fortune to stumble upon some great deals. I purchased three pairs of nice shoes. Allen Edmonds Strand in walnut, To Boot New York Capote's in black and a pair of Magnanni cap toes in burgandy. My issue is that I don't have the appropriate shoe care kit, complete with all of the colors I need to properly manicure these shoes, plus many more in my collection. Can anyone direct me to advice on how to build shoe care essentials? I need to be able to treat a variety of colors and textures. What advice do you have? Do I really need a different dauber and brush for every single color polish to prevent cross contamination? Do you guys really have 10 horsehair brushes?

The question is, if you were starting a shoe care kit today from scratch, what are the 10 items that you must have? And, how many of each?

The help is much appreciated.
 

TheSizzle

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You should take a few moments to look through this thread...
http://www.styleforum.net/t/228153/the-official-shoe-care-thread-tutorials-photos-etc/0_30

As far as starting out, I would recommend the following...
- Shoe trees for each pair of shoes
- A horsehair brush for brushing off dirty shoes
- Three horsehair brushes (one for the range of browns, one for black, and one for the red/burgundy range)
- Polish/cream in as close of a color as you can find to each of those shoes
- A good polishing shammy/cloth or some very soft old t-shirts cut into pretty large cloths

Hopefully, that information will help you enjoy your shoes for years to come.
 

RL Beasley

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Thank you so much for the reply and the link. This answers one of the big questions that I had, which regarded the need for a different horsehair brush for every polish color.

How would it work if I was in the habit of using only neutral polish? Is this advised or frowned upon? Also, I am assuming that you should have a chamois for every color as well. Is this an accurate assumption, and what is the best way to launder/clean a used chamois? By hand, I'm sure, but what are the recommended products to give it new life?
 

Fred G. Unn

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See this thread too where someone wanted an entry level kit for $50 or so:
http://www.styleforum.net/t/339331/good-entry-level-shine-kit/0_100#post_6192793

Here's what I posted, although you'll probably want to add some burgundy polish too:

Since the cheapest decent valet box is $50, just plan on keeping your keeping your stuff in a shoebox for now.
http://www.woodlore.com/mm5/merchant.mvc?Screen=PROD&Store_Code=woodlore&Product_Code=86010-Cedar-Valet&Category_Code=Shoe-Care-Accessories

You could get an inexpensive travel kit like these:
http://www.target.com/p/kiwi-travel-kit/-/A-13127392#?lnk=sc_qi_detaillink
http://www.allenedmonds.com/aeonline/producti_SF579_1_40000000001_-1

I would get just a few decent supplies from AE and then build up as you need them. Here's sort of a bare minimum I'd personally go with, but you could get less if you won't need 'em:
Horsehair shine brush, 2 @ $7 = $14
Conditioner/Cleaner, $5
Horsehair dauber, 2 @ $3 = $6
Polish, brown & black, 2 @ $9 = $18
Wax polish, brown & black, 2 @ $4.50 = $9
Cotton flannel polishing cloth, 3 @ $2 = $6

That's a pretty complete starter set for $58 and it's one you can easily build on as needed:
http://www.allenedmonds.com/aeonline/cati2_Shoe+Care+Products_1_40000000001_-1_1_image_0_N_216_216__subcategory
 
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TheSizzle

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Thank you so much for the reply and the link. This answers one of the big questions that I had, which regarded the need for a different horsehair brush for every polish color.

How would it work if I was in the habit of using only neutral polish? Is this advised or frowned upon? Also, I am assuming that you should have a chamois for every color as well. Is this an accurate assumption, and what is the best way to launder/clean a used chamois? By hand, I'm sure, but what are the recommended products to give it new life?
You don't need a different brush for ever single color, but you do need different brushes for each range of colors, and I think those three cover it.

As far as using neutral polish, it's ok, but I prefer to use a cream/wax in the right color. Some people have complained about neutral wax leaving a milky residue as well.

You don't necessarily need more than one chamois since you can use sections of it to shine up different colors.

As far as giving the product new life, conditioners and lotions (like Saphir Renovateur) will really bring it back.
 

RL Beasley

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Thanks so much for the generous reply. I have many of these items, but I am going to offset my needs using the list you've provided. This is exactly what I thought I needed, and you confirmed it. Spot on.
 

RL Beasley

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TheSizzle- Your comment on needing a different brush for each 'range of color' was exactly what cleared up the concept for me. Cheers.
 

Jakezero

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I'm going to offer my personal opinion here, and that is to skip the horsehair daubers. I own several of them, but I've started using cotton rounds instead. I find them much easier to work with, see this post by forum member glenjay for instructions on how to use them.
 

JCPhoto

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Sizzle made a good point about the one horsehair brush just for brushing off dirt. In this way the inevitable dust, dirt, grime, and salt doesn't make its way back onto the shoe during the shining process.

One other thing I'll note is that these suggestions are all based on standard calf leathers because it sounds like all three pairs you bought are that type of leather. For shell and grained leather I will usually only use Saphire Renovateur(some use Venetian cream instead), if you haven't done so you should definitely read that post Sizzle linked.
 

ddsg

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Whatever you do, don't get the Allen Edmonds travel shoe shine kit. The brush is much denser and stiffer than their regular shine brush (I use it as my dirt brush now) and the polishing cloths that are included will transfer color to the shoe if you try to use them for spit shining.

Edit: they seem to have changed the kit to include much higher quality products with it. You might still see the old ones being cleared out at various stores like Century21 or Nordstrom. Steer clear of those.
 
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RL Beasley

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ddsg- I'm glad to heed your advice. Could you offer some suggestions by way of other specific products you believe to be superior? I'd like to hear your thoughts on brushes, conditioners and polishes.
 

RL Beasley

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Jakezero- I just got round to glancing at the link you posted. That is the best I have seen on SF so far. This is exactly the help I was looking for. I suppose I should also be thanking Glenjay.
 

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