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Davey13

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Standard disclaimer, the below is my opinion only, and internet advice is worth exactly what you pay...

I am one of the people who like to keep my boots shined. I work in an office environment, so the leather I choose and the use to which the boots are put permit this. It is a holdover from the lessons I was taught by my grandfather about caring for things you own. Does it really extend the life of boots, likely not, but it does force me to clean and inspect the boots fairly frequently. When I polish, I also brush and LIGHTLY condition. So it may be an anachronism, but it works for me.

That being said... in general, I would say there are five main levels of shine: mirror, shine, glow, sheen, and matte. The type of leather you choose will have a big impact on how much shine you can get. I find that the black and brown dress, French calf, water buffalo, and horsehide (although HH takes a little more effort) can be brought to a mirror shine with patience, technique, and the right products (I like Saphir mirror gloss)... I generally only do mirror gloss on the toes because the mirror finish will crack if applied anywhere the shoe bends. For the rest of the boot, I go for a regular shine accomplished with a standard Saphir softer wax.

For a non-dress boot (is any White's Boot really a "dress boot"?), I just like a good glow... I get this with the application of Saphir Pommadier Cream Shoe Polish ... a quick polish with a cloth, then a vigorous brushing. This will make the boot "glow" which is a nice look for semi-casual leather or applications.

For a "sheen" I use Saphir Renovateur (the Medaille D'Or, not the Beaute de Cuir)... applied with a cloth and the brushed... the boot will look clean, nourished and with a sheen reminiscent of brushed CXL... excellent for casual leathers or applications.

Finally, for pure work leathers where no one is going to care if your boots shine, I just use Obenauf's... it is more about protection than appearance... the surface will absorb the product and take on a matte appearance, but who cares. I have found it very difficult to shine leathers which have been treated with Obenaufs or similar oily products, likely for the same reason I have trouble shining new CXL... oils and high shine waxes don't seem to mix well.

A note about CXL, which has been addressed here before... new CXL (and oil tan) is hard to polish well... older CXL (and oil tan) is easier to polish as some of the surface oil has migrated or been lost, permitting the wax to do its job. I am not a fan of CXL for boots because I like shine... to each their own, but when I do have CXL, I treat it (sparingly) with Creme Cuir Gras and brush the heck out of it... it then takes on a nice warm glow.

So, assuming the leather is appropriate for the level of shine you want, and your technique is up to it, these are the products I use in descending order of shine:

Saphir Mirror Gloss (toes only, otherwise will crack)
Saphir Medaille d'Or Polish Wax (good shine)
Saphir Pommadier Cream Polish (nice glow)
Saphir Renovator Medaille D'or or Collonil 1909 Supreme Creme de Luxe (sheen)
Obenauf's (Oil if you are not a firefighter, LP if you are)... matte finish...
For CXL - Creme Cuir Gras

Typing this, I realize I spend far too much time on my boots... they are boots after all... $600 boots yes, but boots nonetheless... do what you like, and they will be fine... just keep to the cardinal rules:

1) Clean off all mud, dirt, and salt after each use.
2) Keep shoe trees in them
3) Never dry with heat
4) Condition as needed but be judicious... more boots are ruined by overtreating than by undertreating, something of which I am guilty... if one coat is good, two is not always better.

I have found the Hangar Project by Kirby Allison to be a great resource vis a vis shoe care... I learned a great deal... check it out here:
https://www.hangerproject.com/shoe-care-guide

Good Luck!

Wow, let me say thanks first, and also this got me pretty excited reading your post. I am also guilty of over thinking things like this, which is probably obvious at this point, so I do appreciate this info very much.

So, first off, just to clarify, the MP boots I'm referring to specifically, is brown CXL so just want to confirm I will be well off with Creme Cuir Gras? I was very close to ordering the Obenauf's LP from reading it so much on here as the best, but if that won't work for CXL I'll stick with the Creme stuff.

Then, as far as application. Please let me know if this is correct.
1. Brush off loose dirt with any old brush (or should this be horse hair?)
2. Apply the Creme Cuir Gras with a rag
3. After rubbing it in with the rag (cotton?), then vigorously brushing to a "warm glow" with horse hair brush.

I ask because in the beginning of your post it seemed like polishing, brushing, and conditioning were all different things. And, I thought the polishing was done with the rubbing back and forth of the hair on the brush. Should I be buying some sort of paste polish, or do I have that wrong?


And, last question.
Any recommendations for shoe trees? Special ones for boots or would just plain old cheap ones from Amazon be fine?


Thanks so much for the help, I can't wait until my boots need their first "polishing." For now, I will be brushing after every time they get dirty, just not sure if I should use a horse hair or regular brush for this.
 

andy b.

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A plain OLD horsehair brush. LOL
Even for cleaning mud off I use a soft bristle nylon brush, not one of those stiff brushes.

Thanks a lot. I understand what you mean. I will look for that pic of the BH's, I may have already seen them though I think. Do you use a horsehair brush for this every day quick brushing to get the dirt off? Or were you referring to a plain old nylon scrub brush. Sorry, just want to be clear. Thanks again for all the help.
 

Legal Eagles

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@Davey13 If your muddy boots are made of work boot leather, just run them under water with a nylon brush to remove the mud, finishing up with a wet cloth... the boots won't mind - if you dislike the idea of hosing off your work boots, you are going to love the baking soda and water "swish"... but that is a topic for another day...

If your boots are casual or dress boots, and they get covered in mud, you might want to rethink the application to which they are being put, but again, you clean off as much as you can with your hands, then a soft nylon brush, then wet/damp cloth... the objective is to get the mud off the leather at this stage. A toothbrush can be used to clean the welt stitches.

If the boots are merely spotted or splattered with mud, then the wet cloth should work.

The horsehide brush for me only comes into play in two situations:

1) A clean boot has become dusty, or the polish has become dull, and you vigorously brush the boot to bring it back some of the shine; or
2) You have a CXL boot that has become scratched or scuffed, or dull, and you brush it to bring the oils back to the surface and burnish it.

Horsehide brushes are soft and expensive, and so my rule of thumb is that a horsehide brush never touches a dirty surface... dusty yes, dirt or mud, no.

When I say polish, I mean shoe polish, cotton polishing cloths (from old t-shirts), a spray bottle of distilled water, lots of time, rubbing, and patience. The horsehide brush is not involved in obtaining the original polish, only buffing it up between polishes. I do not polish CXL, only condition and then brush. Polish is reserved for boots which will take a shine.

My polishing procedure is similar to this, except I don't have the fancy water dropper...
https://www.hangerproject.com/video-library/shoe-shine/mirror-gloss-shine.html
You can see why I only do it a couple times per year...

As far as your Brown CXL, I would not let Obenauf's anywhere near CXL... I ruined a brown CXL pair of boots by the over application of Obenauf's... it is great for firefighting boots, but it will leave CXL dark, dull, and "soggy" or "soft" for lack of a better word... mine ended up with all the depth and character of a wet paper bag.

When I say use Creme Cuir Gras on CXL, I am talking like maybe once every six months... in between for the other times, brushing with the horsehide brush is all it needs. When applying the Creme Cuir Gras, I wrap a t-shirt around my index and middle fingers, and sparing work the Creme Cuir Gras into the leather... then I let it sit for 2 hours, and brush vigorously with the horsehide brush. Brings the CXL back like new... (Note: Nick Horween has recommended Venetian Shoe Cream and Saphir Renovateur for care of CXL, and he knows much more than I do... an interesting read on CXL can be found here: https://www.horween.com/blog/2010/03/23/chromexcel®-2)

TL/DR - Polishing, Brushing, and Conditioning are all different things... for non CXL, polishing is every couple weeks, brushing is every other wear, and conditioning is when needed, perhaps every 4-6 months. For CXL, polishing is never, brushing is every couple weeks, conditioning is rare, maybe every 6 months to a year, or if the leather looks like it is getting dry...

As far as shoe trees, I live near an Allen Edmonds, and they sell two pairs for $30... those are what I use the same ones I would use for dress shoes... as long as they are cedar I think you will be fine. Some people like the split toe, some like the solid toe, both work fine. The pricey ones made for boots, with the raised vamps, or the ones that support the shaft are fine as well, but in my opinion unnecessary and too costly for what you get.

But do remember, in the final analysis these are boots, not bespoke dress shoes... they will be fine with minimal care as long as not abused... I am just OCD I guess... with way too much free time on my hands!

Hope this helps.
 
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iamntbatman

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What does that mean, exactly? I've seen two things referred to as a lineman patch. One is an extra layer of leather sewn to the vamp on the inside edge (i.e. on the left side of a right boot, and vice versa), while the other is a looser triangle of leather that looks like it's sewed on down near the welt on the same inside face of the boot with an extra eyelet on the top that pairs up with one of the standard eyelets. I've only seen the latter on LTT models like the Hathorn lineman boot. I wanna see if there's any distinction in terminology because I think the latter looks really cool and I plan to ask for it on a future build, and want to make sure I'm asking for the right thing.

In other words (or pictures) this is what I want: https://tekoab2c1store.azureedge.net/images/f85e2cf8-437a-4250-ae06-fef8032f1672.jpg

But this is not: https://nicksboots.com/pub/media/catalog/product/cache/75eed2686e01eb22cb4050b2f40ddf97/i/m/img_9312_1.jpg
 

Netvine

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What does that mean, exactly? I've seen two things referred to as a lineman patch. One is an extra layer of leather sewn to the vamp on the inside edge (i.e. on the left side of a right boot, and vice versa), while the other is a looser triangle of leather that looks like it's sewed on down near the welt on the same inside face of the boot with an extra eyelet on the top that pairs up with one of the standard eyelets. I've only seen the latter on LTT models like the Hathorn lineman boot. I wanna see if there's any distinction in terminology because I think the latter looks really cool and I plan to ask for it on a future build, and want to make sure I'm asking for the right thing.

In other words (or pictures) this is what I want: https://tekoab2c1store.azureedge.net/images/f85e2cf8-437a-4250-ae06-fef8032f1672.jpg

But this is not: https://nicksboots.com/pub/media/catalog/product/cache/75eed2686e01eb22cb4050b2f40ddf97/i/m/img_9312_1.jpg
Great post! I have the same concerns. We have seen both types called the same thing. Including a post from quack attack on page 199. He posted a pair of roughout oxford build from nicks with the first type of side patch.
 

Davey13

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@Davey13 If your muddy boots are made of work boot leather, just run them under water with a nylon brush to remove the mud, finishing up with a wet cloth... the boots won't mind - if you dislike the idea of hosing off your work boots, you are going to love the baking soda and water "swish"... but that is a topic for another day...

If your boots are casual or dress boots, and they get covered in mud, you might want to rethink the application to which they are being put, but again, you clean off as much as you can with your hands, then a soft nylon brush, then wet/damp cloth... the objective is to get the mud off the leather at this stage. A toothbrush can be used to clean the welt stitches.

If the boots are merely spotted or splattered with mud, then the wet cloth should work.

The horsehide brush for me only comes into play in two situations:

1) A clean boot has become dusty, or the polish has become dull, and you vigorously brush the boot to bring it back some of the shine; or
2) You have a CXL boot that has become scratched or scuffed, or dull, and you brush it to bring the oils back to the surface and burnish it.

Horsehide brushes are soft and expensive, and so my rule of thumb is that a horsehide brush never touches a dirty surface... dusty yes, dirt or mud, no.

When I say polish, I mean shoe polish, cotton polishing cloths (from old t-shirts), a spray bottle of distilled water, lots of time, rubbing, and patience. The horsehide brush is not involved in obtaining the original polish, only buffing it up between polishes. I do not polish CXL, only condition and then brush. Polish is reserved for boots which will take a shine.

My polishing procedure is similar to this, except I don't have the fancy water dropper...
https://www.hangerproject.com/video-library/shoe-shine/mirror-gloss-shine.html
You can see why I only do it a couple times per year...

As far as your Brown CXL, I would not let Obenauf's anywhere near CXL... I ruined a brown CXL pair of boots by the over application of Obenauf's... it is great for firefighting boots, but it will leave CXL dark, dull, and "soggy" or "soft" for lack of a better word... mine ended up with all the depth and character of a wet paper bag.

When I say use Creme Cuir Gras on CXL, I am talking like maybe once every six months... in between for the other times, brushing with the horsehide brush is all it needs. When applying the Creme Cuir Gras, I wrap a t-shirt around my index and middle fingers, and sparing work the Creme Cuir Gras into the leather... then I let it sit for 2 hours, and brush vigorously with the horsehide brush. Brings the CXL back like new... (Note: Nick Horween has recommended Venetian Shoe Cream and Saphir Renovateur for care of CXL, and he knows much more than I do... an interesting read on CXL can be found here: https://www.horween.com/blog/2010/03/23/chromexcel®-2)

TL/DR - Polishing, Brushing, and Conditioning are all different things... for non CXL, polishing is every couple weeks, brushing is every other wear, and conditioning is when needed, perhaps every 4-6 months. For CXL, polishing is never, brushing is every couple weeks, conditioning is rare, maybe every 6 months to a year, or if the leather looks like it is getting dry...

As far as shoe trees, I live near an Allen Edmonds, and they sell two pairs for $30... those are what I use the same ones I would use for dress shoes... as long as they are cedar I think you will be fine. Some people like the split toe, some like the solid toe, both work fine. The pricey ones made for boots, with the raised vamps, or the ones that support the shaft are fine as well, but in my opinion unnecessary and too costly for what you get.

But do remember, in the final analysis these are boots, not bespoke dress shoes... they will be fine with minimal care as long as not abused... I am just OCD I guess... with way too much free time on my hands!

Hope this helps.
Wow Legal Eagles, I'm sure this helps out other guys too, but again thank you for such a detailed explanation for guys like me who have never learned the correct way to polish a pair of good boots.

Funny, I was so close to ordering the Obenauf's, and now I will save my money and stay far away from it for my CXL MP boots.

I've since copied and pasted your replies for later, so I can reference them in the future, and have already read it all like 3 times so far. Just to make sure I got it.

Yes, I also keep forgetting these are not bespoke dress shoes. As a fellow guy with OCD, I not only find joy in reading detailed responses like this, but will probably follow your advice closer than I need to. Hey, thats what brings me happiness so why the hell not.

I will be buying a pair of shoe trees too then, and plan on keeping them in the boots whenever I'm not wearing them.

And, in the near future I would like another pair of Whites, something like a pair of Bounty Hunters or brown dress for a different look than the MP style, so the advice and suggestions on getting a nice polish and shine will sure help me there and save me from asking a whole bunch of new questions later lol.

To be honest, I'm rather surprised how low maintenance these boots will be. I was kind of under the impression that I needed to rub the scratches out and buff them after every wear (well, with these being my first pair of 600 dollar footwear, it started to feel like it anyways) but now I will be following the advice of you guys here and just a quick brush off when they get dusty or dirty.

That alone makes me feel better, and saves me a good bit of money and mental stress haha. Hey, at least I don't have to go out and spend money on a horse hair brush for dirt, and a separate one for buffing clean, shoe polish, special polishing cloths, etc. Yes, I tend to go way overboard on things I get excited about.

Thanks guys, I needed to have it all simplified for me to grasp what is ultimately being done here, merely keeping a pair of boots clean. I appreciate all of your patience.
 

b1lf

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Well, after waiting 96 days for my horsehide Bounty Hunters (since Black Friday), I can happily say that this second pair fits great. They are snug, but not overbearingly so. My toes have room to wiggle yet the front isn’t too loose. The arch still hits where it should and I have zero heel slip. The cap toes are much more acceptable.

Very, very glad I waited. I have found my size.

They smell excellent. Finishings are great.




Downsides:

-The second I pulled them out of the box I thought they looked awfully short: they measure much closer to 5” instead of the 6” that I ordered. This is painful to see....... I’m a field engineer and that extra inch of support would be graciously appreciated since I was in between ordering 6” and 7”.

-No false tongues were included. I’m sure this will be remedied eventually, however the way my previous tongues were pretty chewed up after only 3 try-on’s inside my house makes me slightly concerned about running these “bare” in the interim on this horsehide “tea core” leather.




Before someone on here freaks out about not providing picture evidence, I promise I will include it tomorrow.
 

Davey13

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@Davey13

If your boots are casual or dress boots, and they get covered in mud, you might want to rethink the application to which they are being put, but again, you clean off as much as you can with your hands, then a soft nylon brush, then wet/damp cloth... the objective is to get the mud off the leather at this stage. A toothbrush can be used to clean the welt stitches.

If the boots are merely spotted or splattered with mud, then the wet cloth should work.

Okay, 2 last follow up questions, I swear and thats it.

1.So, if I do manage to get my CXL boots covered in mud (I'm sure I will), other than water should I be using any type of saddle soap or some kind of soap on the wet cloth to help clean them? Or is water all that is recommended for CXL.

2. I was watching the Hanger Project (wow that guy knows his stuff) and Kirby Lambert was speaking on how to care for CXL and he said only to use Saphir Greasy Oil Leather Creme. I imagine this is similar to the Creme Cuir Gras? Kinda difficult trying to choose one when they all seem like great choices.

Thanks again for all the help.
 

Legal Eagles

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Okay, 2 last follow up questions, I swear and thats it.

1.So, if I do manage to get my CXL boots covered in mud (I'm sure I will), other than water should I be using any type of saddle soap or some kind of soap on the wet cloth to help clean them? Or is water all that is recommended for CXL.

2. I was watching the Hanger Project (wow that guy knows his stuff) and Kirby Lambert was speaking on how to care for CXL and he said only to use Saphir Greasy Oil Leather Creme. I imagine this is similar to the Creme Cuir Gras? Kinda difficult trying to choose one when they all seem like great choices.

Thanks again for all the help.
1) CXL is stuffed with wax and oil from the factory... any soap, saddle or otherwise, will remove some of that surface wax and oil... changing the character of the leather (it can be replaced or brushed up, but repeated exposure to soap will "dull" the surface). If I knew I was going to get muddy or dirty, I would not wear CXL... it is not really a workboot or "get muddy" leather IMHO. This is part of the reason I am not a fan of CXL for boots which see actual work or dirt. Truthfully, a wet cloth and light scrubbing with a soft bristle brush should be sufficient.

2) Saphir Creme Cuir Gras is exactly the same product as Saphir Greasy Oil Leather Creme, just one label is in French and one is in English. Venetian Shoe Cream and Saphir Renovateur are also great for CXL, but I share his opinion that Creme Cuir Gras is the best...

Asking questions is how we learn, never be afraid to ask... this is a great forum and we all are willing to help.
 

hoppy_IPA

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afternoon gents - thought id share some random pics for fun. really been love'n my Dark Brown Waxed Flesh BH's. They're def. my go-to pair after work & on weekends with jeans. The way they patina is just fun to look at and it's relaxing to never worry about them getting scratched. Olive Green WF is on my list for this reason.
The work boots are kind of dirty but that's the life they live. It's been snowy/muddy/rainy lately and they get caked up daily. I'm really digging the rough-out heel counter and the way it's gotten fuzzier with wear.
 

Davey13

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Asking questions is how we learn, never be afraid to ask... this is a great forum and we all are willing to help.

Thanks again for the help and patience. The reason I asked about the Creme cuir Gras, is because I noticed when I see it listed online in English, it is referred to Greasy Leather Cream, and when I see the label in French, it says WAXY Leather Cream. So, there was my confusion and again thanks for explaining. When I search "Gras" in French it says it means Fat, so that didn't help me either haha.

Its kinda funny, what sold me on the CXL MP's was a couple of pictures I saw from Whites of the boots completely covered in mud, and another trekking through a stream of water in the mountains. I guess I should have done a bit of research on CXL first, but in all honesty I have plenty of work boots and did in fact intend on using these for more casual wear. But, the pics I saw did help to convince me that these boots could take anything. And, I'm sure they can, but I'm a victim of good marketing and what you explain about the properties of the leather make perfect sense in my head now.

I would like to ask though, is there any sort of maintenance that should be done to the edge of the soles? Obviously something with stacked leather heel and leather sole, would need some sort of conditioner to soak in also, right? Or would the Creme cuir gras be okay to rub some on the edges to keep the soles looking nice too?

I didn't see Kirby Allisone touch on that yet but I'm still going through his videos, so I may still come across it.

I enjoy learning about this, and really wish I grew up in a time where all guys polished their boots before they went out, but I was just never around things like that. This is intriguing, yet satisfying to me to educate myself on this subject, and somehow envy you guys that have these what seem like "basic core principles" already ingrained in your minds and values.
 
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Legal Eagles

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I would like to ask though, is there any sort of maintenance that should be done to the edge of the soles? Obviously something with stacked leather heel and leather sole, would need some sort of conditioner to soak in also, right? Or would the Creme cuir gras be okay to rub some on the edges to keep the soles looking nice too?
Leather Sole - see my boiled linseed oil post (and general reflections of pros and cons of leather sole) here:

https://www.styleforum.net/threads/custom-whites-boots-thoughts.219173/page-720#post-9302408

For the edges, see my acrylic resolene post here:

https://www.styleforum.net/threads/custom-whites-boots-thoughts.219173/page-745#post-9373650

Both of the above are use at your own risk, but they work for me... if you want to spend more on the Saphir Sole Guard, be my guest, to be truthful, the leather sole does not really need treatment as long as you don't wear them in the rain.

Good Luck!
 

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