• I'm happy to introduce the Styleforum Happy Hour, our brand new podcast featuring lively discussion about menswear and the fashion industry. In the inaugural edition, a discussion of what's going on in retail today. Please check it out on the Journal. All episodes will be also be available soon on your favorite podcast platform.

  • Hi, we have updated our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy in anticipation of the upcoming new Calfornia laws, the CCPA. If you are a resident of California, these rights pertain to you. Thanks - Styleforum Team.
  • STYLE. COMMUNITY. GREAT CLOTHING.

    Bored of counting likes on social networks? At Styleforum, you’ll find rousing discussions that go beyond strings of emojis.

    Click Here to join Styleforum's thousands of style enthusiasts today!

Can you polish corrected grain shoes?

Arethusa

Distinguished Member
Joined
Mar 9, 2006
Messages
5,127
Reaction score
72
I have a pair of corrected grain dress shoes. They're not particularly attractive (borderline square toes, in fact), and I haven't ever worn them. Can they be polished? Do I have to rub them down with acetone first to take off the hard, plastic finish? Is this even worth trying?
 

sho'nuff

grrrrrrrr!!
Joined
Apr 15, 2006
Messages
22,224
Reaction score
25
contrary to popular belief, acetone is not as harsh as everyone makes it out to be. acetone will not destroy the film, rather constant application and rubbing of acetone on it will destroy it, because of the lack of quality of the leather and just the fact one keeps rubbing it with something.

there is a reason why some leathers are chosen to be corrected grain. the leather underneath if was at least half decent in appearance would be saved for regular grain leather treatment.
 

whoopee

Distinguished Member
Joined
Jun 7, 2005
Messages
2,455
Reaction score
4
I would think so. Even the glossiness gets nicked and smudged.
 

j

(stands for Jerk)
Admin
Spamminator Moderator
Joined
Feb 17, 2002
Messages
14,913
Reaction score
98
I'm assuming you mean grain-corrected and then coated leather, like KCs or something. I will again admit that I had a pair of KCs (actually still have them, I don't know what to do with them...) and I had another pair before these. I polished them regularly and it did make them shinier. However, knowing what I know now, I probably wasn't leaving any polish on the shoe. Polish just won't stick to that plastic stuff. But whatever was happening, it shined them up.

To your second question, I don't think acetone will take off the plastic coating, at least not very efficiently, and as diorshoe said I don't think you want to see what's under there. I wouldn't take acetone to plasticky shoes anyway, since what usually happens when you take acetone to plastic is that the plastic turns mushy and sometimes sticky. This would pretty much ruin the shoes for any purpose.
 

odoreater

Distinguished Member
Joined
Mar 2, 2005
Messages
8,739
Reaction score
43
Man, this thread just confused me even more. I still have no idea what corrected grain leather is or what it looks like and how you can tell the difference.
 

Teacher

Stylish Dinosaur
Joined
Apr 2, 2005
Messages
12,940
Reaction score
467
Corrected grain leather certainly can be polished. If it has been nicked or scuffed, polishing with a cream that closely matches the surface color will cover the problem. However, the overall plasticky covering will not absorb much of the treatment and will not take a patina over time.
 

j

(stands for Jerk)
Admin
Spamminator Moderator
Joined
Feb 17, 2002
Messages
14,913
Reaction score
98
Okay, I didn't mean to be confusing, but I'd like to try and clarify something. (Anyone who knows better about this, please correct me, but I'm pretty sure I am right.)

"Corrected grain" is used to refer to a few types of leather. All of them have had some treatment to the surface of the leather. However, not all will respond the same to different polishes, etc. I am certain that some leather is grain-corrected by sanding to smoothe the surface and remove minor defects, but not coated with anything plasticky. Then there are various grades of coatings that are applied. For example, Church's, Alden's and AE's corrected grain seem to be similar coatings. But they are completely different from the near-polyurethane (maybe it actually is?) of Kenneth Coles. These different coatings have different characteristics, such as how they bend/wrinkle, whether they will absorb or adhere any polish, and what it looks like if you chip the surface off. I've seen some Aldens and AEs with chips, and the leather underneath the surface is light tan, like the color of a scuffed sole. Contrast this to KCs which can't be chipped away because the surface is so soft and thick.

Maybe I will take some pics of corrected grain shoes I have lying around to help this discussion go somewhere.
 

Bikermutt07

New Member
Joined
Oct 5, 2019
Messages
2
Reaction score
0
Ok.... A little clarity on the leathers.

Corrected grain can either be a buffed/sanded finish to even out the gain of the leather. This gives a more even appearance to hide range scars, bug bites, and stretch marks.

This is not to be confused with patent leathers which are finished with a plastic finish. These are your bright and shiny tuxedo shoes. These types are also used a lot in sandals and handbags. Patent leather is usually made of what is referred to as a split, or split leather.

The top grain side of the leather, imperfect or beautiful is the strongest most sense part of the leather. Well, leather when first tanned is usually too thick for something such as shoes. So, a Tanner will split of the top grain for whatever thickness is needed. What is left over is known as the split. It can be embossed under high pressure with all sorts of designs, patterns, or plasticized into patent leathers. Then it is sold to someone else.

This whole process described can be applied to either vegetable tanned or chrome tanned leathers. And, and, combination tanned leathers, which you guessed it, is a mixture of both.

I am a leather working hobbyist who has studied leather quite a bit. And I stumbled into this thread looking for the same answer as the OP.

In staying with the mid to upper grade shoe levels, I believe most are made with top grain or corrected grain. It is pretty hard to tell which shoes are veg tan, chrome tan, or combination tanned.

I'm sure most of them aren't veg tanned as that would be cost prohibitive. And, I know red wing owns SB Boot leather and it is chrome or combination tanned. Also, Acadia makes mostly chrome tanned leather for shoes, as well as most of Horween's lines are either chrome or combination tanned.

So, now that that information is out there, here is the weid thing.

In the rest of the leather world, we don't add anything to chrome or combination (sometimes referred to as veg retanned) tanned leathers. They are pretty much ready to go for outside use.

In the end it just gets very confusing.

Just a little information to help everyone along.
 

Styleforum is proudly sponsored by

Featured Sponsor

How wide do you like your leg opening on your trousers?

  • 7”

    Votes: 55 17.4%
  • 7.5”

    Votes: 108 34.2%
  • 8”

    Votes: 93 29.4%
  • 8.5”

    Votes: 34 10.8%
  • 9”

    Votes: 13 4.1%
  • 9.5”

    Votes: 7 2.2%
  • 10”

    Votes: 1 0.3%
  • 10.5”

    Votes: 5 1.6%

Related Threads

Forum statistics

Threads
432,231
Messages
9,270,813
Members
194,607
Latest member
marthalker
Top